Kergan, in his own words: “After almost 12 years together and with two children, my partner Russ and I were finally married on June 7, 2014, surrounded by family and friends. Stepping out into our garden ceremony, I was overwhelmed by the waves of love generated towards us, fully cognizant of the long road traveled — individually, collectively, and communally — to reach that sacred moment. Many of us who are LGBT have been negatively impacted by derogatory, mean-spirited, and misinformed statements made by others, particularly in the name of religion, and the toll such negativity takes can be devastating to the psyche. Being able to stand together, publicly, with our pastor officiating, and have our relationship embraced and celebrated helped fortify us emotionally, as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.
To reach that milestone, Russ and I took very different life paths, which eventually intersected. I grew up in Orange County, CA, in a conservative household, but came out at age 17, driven by my passion for the arts and activism. I volunteered and worked at AIDS Project Los Angeles during the height of the epidemic, and held the hand of my then-partner Shane as he died of the disease. I later met another partner and adopted our eldest boy, Mason, at birth. Once that partner’s betrayals were discovered, I unexpectedly found myself a single dad with a two year-old son.
Russ, having grown up in Tennessee in a religious household, long struggled with his attraction to men. Pushing his feelings deep inside, he instead focused extensively on his career until he eventually came out at 38. The idea of having children had never seemed much like a possibility for Russ, given his career and his limited experience with the LGBT community, but after meeting me, Russ began to seriously consider fatherhood, allowing us to move forward as a couple. We went on to adopt Marcus at age 2 1/2, through foster care, and finally our family was complete.
Today, we work to ensure that our children grow up to be honest, respectful, and accepting of others. We focus on building communities and bettering the lives of others through volunteer work, activism, and our progressive church. And, as it is with any family with school age children, our lives very much revolve about them and their activities.
In our attempt to shape their lives for the better, Russ and I talk with our boys regularly about any number of topics — life, spirituality, ethics, politics, culture — and how to best grow and flourish as human beings. And the advice we give to them is the same advice I’d give anyone else, as it has long served me well: Live authentically. Tell your story. Change the world.”