First gay dad to win custody of kids in Indiana shares story with FOX59
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 15, 2014) — Being a single dad is no easy task. Now a local man opens up about his journey, and this dad had another challenge to overcome – raising his children as a gay man in the 70’s. He’s now put pen to paper to tell the world how he made it happen.
For Van Kirby, Father’s Day has always held a special meaning – a symbol of victory. “I’m the first gay man to get custody of his children in Indiana in 1976. So 38 years ago I was awarded custody by a judge who really knew what she was doing.”
After coming out and going through a divorce, Van became a single dad and decided to take fatherhood head on. After winning the custody battle, Van and his partner Dan raised his four children, three girls and a boy, together. “Some of the struggles I’ve had to go through basically is raising four kids. And that’s just what everybody goes through. And someone said to me how did your kids turn out and I said they’re just about as crazy as everybody else’s kids” says Van.
Van decided to write a book about his journey. It’s called “On the Table by the Window, the Journey of a Gay Dad in Indiana.” “To be respectful when I wrote the book I wanted to let them read it first. So before I published it I gave them a copy and they both said ok, you got my blessing that’s your book dad we have our own book inside.”
Van’s children have been nothing but supportive of his book. His daughter Debbie says she knows society has opinions about their family, but growing up with two dads worked out just fine for them. “I don’t know anything different. It’s hard to compare how it would be with a heterosexual couple…there’s no comparison because I’ve never had that. That’s not
part of my story…that’s not my truth” says Debbie Scott.
Debbie says she admires her father for standing up for what he believes in and even teaching her how to be a great parent. “Proud of his passion for equal right. Equal human rights. he doesn’t walked around striving with his rainbow flag equal gay rights…it’s about equal human rights.”
Van Kirby’s book is now available at local book stores and online.