The Family Next Door

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Montgomery-Duban Family

The hit TV show “Modern Family” may depict gay parenting as a norm, but of course that hasn’t always been the case. In his new book “The Family Next Door,” Kevin Montgomery-Duban of Malibu lovingly details how he and his husband were pioneers in not only becoming gay parents, but in having a baby genetically linked to both of them.

Montgomery-Duban and his now-husband, Dennis Duban, had been in a committed relationship for ten years before becoming fathers.  The couple was approached a few times by friends who told them they would be great parents. As Montgomery-Duban related to The Malibu Times, back then “we had kind of denied the fact that we ever thought we could be parents, because when you’re gay, it wasn’t a possibility. As you’re growing up… you don’t see any gay people having kids, so we had pushed aside the fact that we wanted to be parents.” Montgomery-Duban said he realized a parental desire had always been there, but had been suppressed and buried due to hostility toward gays.

Montgomery-Duban grew up in Pasadena in the 1960s and ‘70s, where homosexuality was not embraced. He experienced bullying and prejudice and didn’t come out as gay until he was 21. He met the love of his life, Duban, on a blind date 34 years ago and they’ve been a couple ever since.

In his book, Montgomery-Duban candidly details the struggles in becoming parents and overcoming the medical and legal hurdles it took to create their child. In what could be a precedent, the couple took sperm from one spouse, the egg from the other’s sister and used a cousin as a surrogate. 

“I haven’t found any other families that have done it just how we have done it, especially back when we did it.  I think we were the first,” Montgomery-Duban told The Malibu Times.

Their daughter Chelsea attended Webster Elementary where Montgomery-Duban served as Parent Teacher Association (PTA) president and went on to be president of every parent organization through college.  He wanted the family with two dads to be very visible.

“We wanted to be an example to her peers, so I was so very involved in preschool and the PTA. I wanted her friends and kids her age to look at this as normal,” Montgomery-Duban said. “Because they saw us all the time and this was how life was — that there are sometimes two dads. With her peers it’s a [non-issue].  It’s still a thing with older generations, but it’s working … in her generation, they don’t blink an eye.”

The twin goals of changing people’s attitudes and being a positive example, he said, were the inspirations in writing the book.  

“I wanted something that Dennis and I didn’t have as kids. We didn’t have gay mentors. We had never even heard of the word ‘gay’ when we were little and there was no positive reflection of homosexuals in society,” Montgomery-Duban said. “They were always demeaned.  So that was a struggle because you always were shamed and felt horrible growing up.”

Montgomery-Duban also called his story one of perseverance.  

“That we had such a positive outcome — that we were even able to create a family — young people growing up could read this and say, ‘My gosh, we could have a life that anyone would dream of — we could have the fairy tale life.’” he said. “I hoped it would normalize being gay. I would have loved to have a book to tell me about the possibility of the family I could create.  It might make the process of coming out, of being gay, much more positive. 

“Whatever you dream, whether you’re straight or gay — if you come up against something in your life that you really, really want, you can have that,” Montgomery-Duban continued. “You’ve just got to dream, persevere, have the passion behind it and create the life you want.  Even for straight people, it could be inspirational because it was the story of something that looked impossible and became possible and became a fairy tale. It was a fairy tale story for us because our daughter turned out to be so wonderful and such a dream for us.”   

Chelsea Montgomery-Duban is now 22 and an employed college graduate. She’s a well-known advocate and speaker for gay rights.

“The joy we’ve felt in raising her was beyond our wildest expectations. It was the best thing we ever did,” Montgomery-Duban said.

“The Family Next Door” is available on Amazon and BN.com