What is Fatherhood?

Political controversy set aside, let’s talk about fatherhood. Half of our population have the genetic materials to assist in the creation of life, but DNA alone does not make a father. Fatherhood is a state of mind, a set of actions, a choice. For many of us, relationships with fathers are rather tumultuous while others have stalwarts of support. What is Fatherhood? We asked members of our community to tell us about their experiences with their own fathers and how they understand their role as paternal nurturers today. Meet these families in our new Father’s Day series, “Fathers &…”

Sandy Harjo-Livingston, Vice-Chairperson, Hawaiʻi LGBT Legacy Foundation


“I’m participating in this project because I think the relationship between gay men and their fathers often gets overlooked—relationships with our mothers tend to be easier to navigate.

As I get older I’m realizing how much my dad had to sacrifice in order for me to have the opportunity to live freely and openly.

Moving to New York for school, pursuing writing, meeting my husband—those were all made possible through his dedication to providing for me as I was growing up. Even with two jobs, he rarely missed a basketball game or piano recital.” — Mitchell Kuga

Top: Merton & Mitchell Kuga. Above left, clockwise from top: Adam J. Kurtz & Mitchell, Amy, & Merton Kuga.



“We (Colleen and Irene) have been happily married since 2017. We always knew we wanted to have children and we wanted a known donor, if possible. 
Our criteria became: 
1) Handsome 
2) Gay
3) Someone willing to be in our child(ren)’s life
Our friend Patrick was the total package and thankfully he said “Yes!” to our proposal. Our son Elio was born in 2020. He has two moms, one dada and one fabulous global pride family. We are so full of love and could not be happier with our family.” — Colleen & Irene Kendig-Sullivan

Patrick, what does fatherhood mean to you? It means being there for your family. Doing everything you can to make sure that the little ones have it better than you.” 

What makes someone a father? Someone that does anything for their kids. Someone that gives everything to make sure that their littlest ones have it better than what they had. Someone that teaches their little ones that it’s ok to be themselves and not to worry what others thinks and to always live their best lives.”  

How has fathering changed, in your personal life and in the larger society? I never thought that I would have the chance to be a father with my situation. Once the girls asked, that changed everything. I would do anything for that little one. He has made me complete.” — John Patrick Rampulla

Top: Colleen Kendig-Sullivan & John Patrick Rampulla & Elio & Irene Kendig-Sullivan.  Above left: Elio Kendig-Sullivan & John Patrick Rampulla



“Fatherhood to me is a great responsibility. It is love in the purest kind. It is helping to raise a little human being and allowing them to be who they want to be and untapping the potential of who they can be; allowing them to make mistakes, learn from them, and then to understand how to make good decisions.

Help impart the wisdom you have and raise a child to let them know that anything is possible if you want it, you just have to work for it.

I am participating in this project to let people know that love is love. Whether your child is non-binary, trans, or gay, you still love them and allow them to be who they are.” — Dieter Giblin

Top: Mac & Dieter Giblin.  Above left: Dieter & Mac Giblin & Lisa Bartholomew.



“We sat in this same spot eight years ago and just after our adoption was finalized. There are so many challenges to becoming a father as an LGBTQI person. 

We’ve faced many but our bond as a family has only strengthened.  We’re so happy to be a part of this project and understand that we have a responsibility to our community to stand out and proud as a family united by love.” — Noa & Jason Dettweiler-Pavia

Top and above left: Noa, Jason & Nicholas Dettweiler-Pavia



“Being a father, to me, has always been about trying to raise good interesting people, happy in the world. When M came out, I think they got a lot closer to becoming every part of that. I cannot express how excited I am to see what they become. I am so proud.” — Steve Pearman

Top and left: Steve and M Pearman



“Being a father is a choice. There’s no such scenario where one can claim the role by default of natural processes. To me, it’s rather defined by a set of principles unique to each father-child relationship, but which can be best surmised by a single act: a father’s absolute devotion to their child.

The truest form of fathering is helping their child discover one’s self, and realize their potential. Doing so through guidance, love, encouragement, and remaining a constant, unwavering presence that will always be there for their child.

And I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world to be able to watch my daughter become the great person I know she’ll become. And that’s a choice I’ll make everyday for the rest of my life.” — Jake Sbragia

Top and above left: Zoe and Jake Sbragia



“For me, parenthood has been an opportunity to experience pure joy and love of my daughter. The teaching and learning moments go both ways. To grow alongside with my daughter has been an experience beyond words.” — Wayne ChiTop and above left: Athena & Wayne Chi 



What does Fatherhood mean to you?
Don: Being supportive and a role model for my family.
Krystle: Having a figure in your life that will love and support you unconditionally.

What makes someone a Father?
Don: Understanding and supporting your kids.
Krystle: A person who is willing to take on the responsibility of putting their child’s livelihood, care, and happiness above their own.

How has Fathering changed, in your personal life and in the larger society?
Don: More support in education for children.

Why are you participating in this project?
Don: Support for my daughter.
Krystle: My father continues to be a constant support in my life and grow with me and within himself ever since I came out, and it means the world being blessed with the opportunity to thank him for the love he has given me.

Other thoughts?
Don: I am so proud of Krystle and Iʻm very honored to be her Daddy / Father.

Top and above left: Krystle Manguba-Glover & Donald L. Glover



“The role of a father in a child’s life is evolutionary. For the better, gone are the days when men were a household’s source of masculinity and income.  Instead, I view parenthood as an adventurous and rewarding opportunity to mold a tiny human into a respectful and responsible member of society.

Becoming a dad has forced me to draw on memories of how my own dad approached challenges of fatherhood. But I’ve also accepted that there will be times when I just have to ʻfigure it outʻ while also maintaining a sense of humor.

Overall, being a new dad is exhausting, yet blissful, and will no doubt be the best job I’ll ever have. Love and care for keiki are the essential ingredients, everything else is supplemental and secondary.” — Andrew Atwill

Top and above left: Andrew & Mateo Atwill


About the photographer:
Before moving to Honolulu in 2021, Kimo Lauer was based in Hollywood for 25 years, while also traveling the world on assignment photographing models, actors, artists, and athletes.  Peerspace says, “Portraits that bridge individual expressions of beauty with classic presentations of subjects is what Kimo Lauer does best.” Contact Kimo at kimolauer@gmail.com or @photosbykimo