Will & Grace Daddy’s Elevator Pitch on Gay Parenting


Max Mutchnick is the co-creator of that little show called Will & Grace. He’s also a gay dad: He and his husband Erik Hyman (newlyweds!) have twin girls. Adorable! So what’s it like to travel with your same-sex partner and have to explain the makings of your not-exactly-typical family to a Transportation Security Administration official at airport security with a whole line of passengers waiting for you to step through that damn X-ray machine?

Can you imagine if you had to deal with indignity of having to explain your family? Even worse, proving that your biological daughter was yours?

So this is what really happened.

I stood shoeless in front of the metal detector. Rose was in my arms. Her mouth open just a tiny bit and her eyes as wide as they’ve ever been in her hundred and thirty five days of life. Behind me was my husband. He held Evan. (Evan is also girl. See first paragraph).

“Step through.”

The TSA guard said it like he was talking to a prisoner. I did as I was told. My husband followed. He held a baby in one arm and four business class tickets in the other. The guard looked at the tickets, then looked at us, then looked at the tickets.

“Who’s Rose?”

She is. I’m Max, this is Erik and that’s Evan. Rose’s sister.

“Evan’s a girl?”

Yeah. All the kids with kids are doing it.



A moment of silence. Rage started to well up inside of me in anticipation of the next question this giant with a badge was going to ask me. How was this man going to insult my family? In what way would he make me explain my difference?

This is what he said:

“Where did you get them?”


“Where did you get your kids?”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a hideously offensive question, but implicit in what he was saying was the fact that we were the dads and they were our daughters. Progress! Progress from a moron. But progress nonetheless. I was feeling some love for the TSA Giant.

I made them.

This threw him, but I had his attention. And there in the middle of LAX with a line snaking to the front door of the airport I began to explain Gestational Surrogacy.

There’s a donor. She gives us the eggs. We never meet her. She is not the “mom”.

There is no mom. There’s a surrogate. She’s the oven. (Giants prefer short sentences with small words). My husband and I (the Giant winced) fertilized four eggs. They went inside the surrogate. Two of the eggs took. Fraternal twins were born 8 months and two weeks later. One of them was biologically his. One of them was biologically mine. But they’re both ours, you know?

“You can do that?”

You can, Giant.

“Very cool.”

He wanted to ask more and I wanted to tell him more. But alas a plane trip was waiting with loving grandparents at the other end.

[HuffPo; Photo: NYT]

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  • John (yet another John)

    I remember the first time my hubby and I took our daughter and her young friend to Canada. The explanations were endless. We had a second child that was not ours and we were crossing a border. It was a little degrading, but that was 10 years ago. Times change. Now we can breeze right through without a hassle.

  • Sebbe

    “Giants prefer short sentences with small words” – LOL

    I was anticipating this story getting worse. Although giant didn’t know anything, he learned something new that day. Point!!

  • RS

    The fact that the security agent’s questions ended with “Very cool” was totally surprising to me and, well, very cool.

  • Alan

    I was so expecting to read some drama, but thank god it was actually a good ending. This made me smile!

  • EdWoody

    The guy was probably just trying to make conversation. Right or not, a male-male marriage with children is still a fairly rare thing, and the guy was just interested in how that works. He was asking for knowledge. He should be applauded for that, not harangued.

    Granted, it wasn’t the time or place and he could have been a bit more sensitive, but he was not wrong.

  • getreal

    @RS: It does not surprise me straight people are not all as homophobic as Fred Phelps would like you to believe. I wish they had reported the officer though, it was totally inappropriate to detain (even for a moment) a family with two infants to indulge in unprofessional curiosity about their reproductive choices.

    That said what a beautiful family God bless them.

  • The Gay Numbers

    Aesthetics: Why do gay men insist on looking the same by dressing the same. Here you have two guys who look similar to each other, and they are wearing tuxedos that are alsy similar. I mean their wedding is very nice and it’s sweet (very), but couldn’t one wear a different suit than the other? Looking at the pictures, I thought- these guys look like a mirror of each other. It’s a little disconcerting. Okay, I have had my visual rant.

  • Jaroslaw

    Getreal – I’m glad they didn’t report the officer. They were calm and took the opportunity to teach him something. But if one side blows up immediately, then both sides dig in their heels and no one learns or hears anything.

    Now I think equality in marriage is a great thing. But I at least understand WHY some people think it is wrong that have nothing to do with religious reasons. Just like people used to think women were not equal to men, Black people were slaves, and even right now in India men who have men with MUSTI (men who aren’t considered “real men” by others or even to themselves) aren’t “Gay” as defined by western thought.

    Maybe this guard really was a clod, but if he said “very cool” at the end, it doesn’ seem like he could have been.

    My point is that giant shifts in cultural thinking generally don’t happen overnight. HOW they happen is another complete discussion. But every age, every culture collectively has different thoughts, different standards. 150 years ago, for example, women would have NEVER left their child at a daycare center to go to work. Hell, when I was growing up, people who were unmarried were “living in sin.” No one says that anymore.

    so I say cut the guy a little slack.

  • Sebbe

    I think they look good and a good visual representation of a gay professional successful couple. I’d guess they dress similar on a daily basis, not to look alike, but because that is their style.

  • getreal

    @Jaroslaw: Perhaps you are right. Maybe I’m over sensitive after having to explain what my vibrator and zit-popper device are at different customs around the world.You are right it is better to handle situations like this with grace.

  • RichardR

    @Jaroslaw: Yes, J, terrific that this didn’t escalate, because on so many levels, this is a heartening story. Two gay men had the cool to educate the officer, who was cool enough to receive the info. I’d be shrieking — getting onto a plane,just me and my carry-ons, leaves me wishing I still was a drinker.

    So happy for these guys and their babies. And for progress, slow as it seems sometimes. But this is how it happens.

    And numbers, technically they’re not dressed alike (different shirts, different yarmulkes). And I think they’re in dark suits, not tuxes, which look alike anyway? But as rants go, yours was fine, you give good post. We do tend to dress similarly. Men do, gay and straight. If there were no black and no jeans, I’d have to start from scratch.

  • Daniel

    @The Gay Numbers:

    ??? One suit has flaps on the pockets – the other doesn’t. One has a white pocket square – the other doesn’t. One guy has a blue shirt on – the other has a white shirt. Besides both being dark suits, they aren’t identical. Bad gay!

  • cruiser

    Hooray for these guys, and BTW congratulations on your twin daughters, they are so precious & beautiful. Like everyone else I was anticipating some real drama with this story, but what a wonderful endign, the Giant actually acknowledged their relationship, and did not attempt to make any kind of value judgement, what an enlightened person(if only the rest of the straight world was so accomodating)and it sounds as though the guy was genuinely happy for the guys. Gives you kind of a warm fuzzy feeling to think there people out there who do NOT want us rlegated to the backrooms and the “backstreets” people who actually like us(thank you Sally Field[Norma Rae])

  • ptrfortune

    Daniel –

    ??? One suit has flaps on the pockets – the other doesn’t. One has a white pocket square – the other doesn’t. One guy has a blue shirt on – the other has a white shirt. Besides both being dark suits, they aren’t identical. Bad gay!

    THE REAL BAD GAY is you Daniel for spending so much time dissecting this picture…

  • New in NJ

    and one has a blue kippah and the other a white kippah.

  • Leland Frances

    I’m a sentimental fool over gay couples and babies, but have mixed feelings about what surrounds this story, which couldn’t seem to make up its [Mutchnick’s] mind about whether it wanted to be progress-affirming [“Jack McFarland’s” son] or snarky [Jack].

    On the one hand, unlike MANY mega rich out gays, Mutchnick and Hyman did donate to the fight against Prop H8TE—around $30,000. But then one reads the description of this wedding/baby naming ceremony

    “…beneath a vine-cloaked pergola at their Tudor-style Beverly Hills home….a 22-foot table was dressed in Egyptian cotton and hundreds of antique lavender roses and hydrangea…relatives gathered for pictures on the putting green of the lushly landscaped grounds”

    which probably cost at least that much, and of their selling their NYC apt. last Oct. for $4.1 million, and can barely imagine how many millions Daddy 1 is still pulling in from W&G, and must wonder why the didn’t donate more….particularly given that STRAIGHTS like Spielberg, Pitt, and Bing did…in the latter’s case, $470,000 more.

    Just wondering…

  • The Gay Numbers

    @David Hauslaib: Yes, either they had to wear nearly the same thing or one of them had to wear a dress? That’s exactly what I meant. You got me. Or not. Like I said, I am happy they found each other. I am really happy for them because they have built a family. I always like to see this.

    But aesthetically, I don’t get why one guy looks exactly like the other guy. Your pretending that they had to wear very similar suits does not help the case when you got to pretend the alternative is a dress. I made a minor point about aesthetics. You should take it as such rather than going for hyperbole.

  • lame

    Leland it is lame to criticize them for not giving enough in your opinion. Should they have gone to mcdonalds instead for their wedding? Should they have not had those babies and donated the money instead? I doubt their money is comparable to Spielberg/Pitt. What percentage of their net worth would have been the appropriate amount to give? We should be applauding all who donated not chastising them for the amount they felt appropriate.

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