Mommy Shorts is proud to partner with JOHNSON’S® for a series of posts surrounding Guncle’s Day on August 14th, which celebrates the important role that many gay uncles play in the lives of their siblings’ and friends’ children. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I talked about the many people who have made a big impact in Mazzy and Harlow’s lives, introduced you to some of the proud guncles who work at Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., and asked you all to share some of the people who have been positive influences in your children’s lives as well.

Your stories of extended family, friends, and of course, “guncles” were beautiful, heartfelt and gave me a new appreciation for how different the contributions can be. There were a few comments asking what sexuality has to do with having an impact on our children. “Why can’t we just call them uncles and aunts?” I totally get where these people are coming from but I also think it’s great to celebrate our differences. And in addition to being awesome aunts and uncles, hopefully our LGBTQ family members are also giving our children positive associations with a community that in past generations was not often addressed at home. We all want our children to be happy, loved and accepted, and I love hearing how the LGBTQ aunts and uncles help show our children what matters most.

With that in mind, I’d like to highlight a few of the amazing guncles mentioned in the comments:

“My number one goal in raising my three daughters is that they grow to always love and accept others. When they watched their guncles marry this past January, I felt such immense gratitude that I was sharing such a beautiful event with them. I want them to always know they can love and be loved by whomever, ultimately knowing they were made perfectly perfect. My 8-year-old is autistic and both of her guncles truly listen to her, somehow turning her one-sided conversations into discussions with them. Being professional actors, they appreciate authentic creativity and Sofia has an imagination like no other! Our guncles are the perfect role models for teaching my girls to follow their heart and their dreams. To be their true selves.” – Sarah

Both my brothers happen to be gay, so my kids are lucky enough to get four guncles instead of two! And because my kids were born with four uncles in their lives, love is love to them. They see two boyfriends, two fiancés, two husbands as part of everyday life and it’s as normal as my husband and me to them. Jay, Matt, Robert and Magu make my kids’ lives more full, fun and exciting!” – Nicole

“Our daughters Uncle John has been there for us as parents since the beginning and holds a special place in the hearts of our girls, Eleanor and Margaret. He is quick to send a supportive surprise and loves to watch all the FaceTime ‘formances’ their little legs can deliver. His love of art, culture, and theater are sure to be bonding points as they get older; they can already deliver pretty much any number from Waitress by heart. We love John for being a crucial part of our family, for always being there with a helpful laugh and a glass of wine, and for participating in all of life’s most celebrated moments. We couldn’t do this crazy breeding thing without him!” – Michelle

“I was so lucky to have a guncle growing up— well, two actually, since my Dad’s brother has been with his partner since before I was born— over 40 years! I grew up calling them both Uncle. They actually got officially married in a beautiful ceremony just 2 years ago, and my own children attended.” – Jennifer

“My little guy has the best guncle, who also happens to be his godfather, and next to his dad is the biggest male influence in his life, his third caretaker. He is kind, patient and stern with our little one and we wouldn’t be the same family without him.” – Allie

“My brother Garrow was a huge influence on me as a child. He would always take the time to sit and play with me (he is quite a few years older than me)  and I see that he is fostering the same amazing relationship with my children as he did with me. I think the best thing about his relationships with my kids is that he really sits down on the ground and plays with them and focuses on them when he comes to visit. He even picked up a scooter and scooters with my four-year old! Kids connect strongly with adults who play with them because play is the channel through which they learn and relate to the world. When they get older I know they will learn a strong work ethic and a sense of style from him, in the same way I did. We would bike together all summer as children and he would teach me all about architecture which influences me to follow his footsteps and study architecture. We are so blessed to have him as a part of our lives.” – Marie

“I had a few guncles over my lifetime, but my first gay uncle changed my life. I was very young when he died and we only had a few photos taken together–which are currently lost. But those few years that we had, I treasure every single moment we spent together–right up until his memorial on the beaches of Cape May. He helped ensure my compassion and empathy for people regardless of our similarities or differences. He showed me that love was bigger than religious differences. He put a beloved face on an epidemic that was too often considered shameful. He showed me how to live your truth and find humor and dignity in death. His impact was lasting.” – Lena

For the last submission, I’m not sure he would refer to himself as a guncle, but I wanted to include him regardless because I think the lesson he teaches is an extremely valuable one.

“My brother-in-law, Austin, is a transgender male who, at only 17, is still learning how to navigate through the turmoil of life and being a teenager. Yet, he has taught my 3 year-old son that a name is just a name. A pronoun is just a pronoun. Neither of these things changes who someone is as a person. In turn, my son has taught us all how easy it should be to accept Austin for who he is; something I hope other people in Austin’s life will take note of.” – Emily

Thank you to JOHNSON’S® for partnering with me on this series, for celebrating ALL people in our children’s lives who help them thrive and for their commitment to The Family Equality Council which connects, supports, and represents the three million parents in the U.S. who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and their six million children.