José Rolón (a.k.a. @nycgaydad) is a single gay dad who has been going viral for his social media posts that poke fun at parenthood and gay culture simultaneously.
“I grew up in a machismo household with a father who yelled at me to ‘walk like a man and not like a f*ggot,’” the 44-year-old single dad tells TODAY. “If you had pulled me aside and said, ‘One day you’ll have a big, happy family,’ I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Today, Rolón is the father of 7-year-old son, Avery, and 6-year-old twin daughters, Lilah and London.
“I want LGBTQ youth to know that there’s hope,” he says. “I get messages from moms all the time that are like, ‘My son is 13 and he’s gay and really struggling. Thank you for showing him what’s possible.”
Rolón, who works as an event planner in New York, has 25,000 followers on his personal Instagram page plus another 10,000 on his business’ page, as well as almost 140,000 TikTok fans.
He regularly shares photos of humorous videos of himself and his three kids.
While his posts are definitely happy, uplifting, and inspiring, Rolón’s story is not without tragedy. In 2013, his husband, Tim Merrell, died suddenly in his sleep. At the time, Avery was still an infant and the couple’s surrogate was just 11 weeks pregnant Lilah and London.
“My husband and I were a great team,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine doing it without him. But on the morning of Tim’s funeral service, I woke up and I thought, ‘Avery just lost his father. What if something were to happen to me?’ I didn’t want to leave him alone in this world. I knew what I was supposed to do.”
At the funeral, Rolón announced he and Merrell had two more babies on the way.
“That was kind of my call for love and prayers,” he recalls. “And I’ve been supported ever since. It really does take a village.”
Scroll down for more pics from Rolón’s Instagram page…
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After 6 months of being out of being in school and having no childcare, today is the first day they went back to school. So many feelings all at once. Of joy and sadness and everything in between. 2 days a week for now and who knows how long it will last. But one thing is, I’m ridiculously proud of three of them. I know down the line, as crazy as this was, I will miss this period we had together the most?? #lgbtqfamily #gaydads #brooklynfamily #latinxfamily #backtoschool @gays_with_kids