Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Fathers of the Year

In 2011, Kergan Edwards-Stout was honored to be named one of the Human Rights Campaign’s Fathers of the Year. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.

In order to select HRC’s “Father of the Year,” a contest was launched, accepting nominations nationwide, to recognize both GBT and ally dads (www.hrc.org/fatheroftheyear. )  A panel of judges, including HRC President Joe Solmonese and HRC Foundation Family Project Director Ellen Kahn, selected the winners.

Russ Noe, Kergan’s partner, submitted the winning nomination:

I can think of no better person to nominate as HRC’s “Father of the Year” than my partner, Kergan Edwards-Stout.

While I came to parenting later in life, Kergan always knew that, someday, he’d have a family. And in 2000, he and his then-partner adopted our son Mason, and were in the delivery room when he was born.

Kergan was a stay-at-home dad and had given up his career to care for Mason. He had thought he had the ideal life, but when Mason was 1 ½, his partner chose a different path, leaving Kergan to carry on alone. He immediately focused on Mason’s well-being, and took a job which offered flexibility, although it wasn’t necessarily the job he wanted, because Mason came first.

Being a single dad wasn’t easy, but Kergan started a Single Gay Dad’s group for support, which quickly flourished.

We met in 2002, and I wasn’t entirely sure that parenting was for me. It was never something I had given much thought to, but to Kergan it was everything. And as we began to forge a new life together, I was impressed by Kergan’s ability to balance family, a full-time job, his creativity and passion for social change.

In 2004, we added a two-year-old to our family, Marcus, through California’s Fost-Adopt Program. Marcus didn’t have a great start in life, as he was born with club feet and his birthparents were struggling with issues of their own. When we first met him, Marcus could barely walk or communicate. Today, at age 8, Marcus is a healthy and vibrant child—a terrific runner and all-around performer!

In addition to his full-time job, Kergan’s main focus is our kids, taking them to school, overseeing their lessons, washing clothes, cleaning, and making sure we always have a home-cooked family dinner.  He has continually volunteered at our boys’ school, usually serving as Room Parent.

Two years ago, our world was rocked when Kergan, after 9 years at his job, was suddenly laid off. Instead of letting this get him down, he spent his year and a half of unemployment assisting me in launching a new business, Bright Green Kids, an “all green”, eco-friendly fundraising initiative for schools.

He also used the time to complete his first novel, “Songs for the New Depression,” which was inspired by his years of working at AIDS Project Los Angeles, as well as the loss of a partner to the disease in 1995. To help promote his book, he built and launched his own website where he blogs regularly.

As if this weren’t enough, Kergan also served as an Elder at our church, where he organized marriage equality protests, LGBT benefits, and launched a Peace & Justice Speakers Series, bringing in such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center, PETA, Children of Uganda, and Habitat for Humanity, among others. Kergan also brought the controversial and important plays “Corpus Christi” and “Confessions of a Mormon Boy” to conservative Orange County.

And because no other parent volunteered, Kergan – despite his lack of knowledge of soccer – recently coached Mason’s team, taking them all of the way to the county finals.

Now back at work full-time, Kergan continues to go above and beyond to make sure our family is well cared for, and does it all with grace, humor, love, and humility.

When Kergan and I first met almost 9 years ago, via Match.com, his user name was “ProudToBeDad”. His profile headline back then pretty much says it all today: “An Ordinary/Extraordinary Life.”

Thank you,

Russ Noe

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