Anthony Brown: My Journey with Men Having Babies
"The Journey Starts Here" was shot primarily at our 2018 Chicago conference. You may view clips from more events at our YouTube channel.
My Journey with Men Having Babies
It began 12 years ago. My husband and I had been caring for an elderly neighbor, Janet, who lived in our apartment building. We had been together for more than 15 years at the time and we knew that we wanted to have a family but seemed destined to care for single elderly women in the West Village of Manhattan. That was fine for us at the time because what we were getting in touch with was our need to nurture.
What we didn’t know was that our friend Janet had different plans for us. When she died in June of 2007, Janet changed our lives. In her Will, she provided for my husband and me in a way that we had never imagined. Suddenly, we were able to move from dreaming about our own family to actually making it happen. And Men Having Babies taught us how.
We attended our first Men Having Babies seminars at the LGBT Center in New York City shortly after her death. I met Ron Poole-Dayan, the founder and inspiration for MHB and that friendship also changed my life. We met the people who would help us have our family through MHB. We learned what to ask of them and of our egg donor and gestational carrier, who remain good friends to this day. Finally, we were able to be the family that we had hoped to be.
After the birth of our son Nicholas, Ron asked me to tell my story on a personal stories panel at what would become our NYC conference. He asked me to assist him in presenting some of the seminar materials at later meetings as I am an attorney and the legal issues around LGBT parenting seemed to be changing daily. That first request led to my becoming the founding Chairman of the first Board of Directors for the newly formed nonprofit organization Men Having Babies.
I watched as Ron led MHB from being a small group of inquisitive gay men at the LGBT Center to being an international leader in ethical surrogacy education and awareness. I was honored to be a part of the inception of GPAP, our Gay Parenting Assistance Program, which helps individuals, couples like my husband and me, who would not have been able to afford surrogacy, make their dreams of family come true. I have been privileged to travel the world helping to explain surrogacy to gay men and trans women who never thought they could have a biological family. Seeing the spark of possibility in their eyes has been some of the most fulfilling moments I have experienced.
I have also been privileged to help bring onto our board the amazing people that currently serve MHB with their dedication and talent. And I knew in November of 2017, when I first announced my plan to depart the Board of Directors that MHB would be in good hands. I am proud to announce that Sherman Taylor will be assuming the role of Chairman of the Board. Sherman’s experience and commitment to the organization has become evident to me over the last years and I look forward to seeing where he leads MHB.
But you have not seen the last of me. I will continue to present materials and lead seminars where needed and I will be developing the Emeritus Board, continuing to introduce MHB to more and more prospective parents.
I personally want to thank all the gay men, trans women and supportive non-gay allies for taking a chance with MHB and changing the world for the better. I also want to thank our staff, our Board and, in particular, our Executive Director, Ron Poole-Dayan, for helping me to become a better person through my work with MHB. I look forward to meeting the new families you are helping to create and also to where you will take the organization in the future.
With Deepest Appreciation,
Anthony M. Brown