Ryan Brown, of Bravo's "Flipping Out" and dad to Chloe, shares his Father's Day celebration with his partner, Dale.
Fans of "Flipping Out" know Ryan Brown as the former partner of Jeff Lewis, star of the reality hit, and as a talented and passionate interior designer. These days, Ryan makes appearances on the show with another one of his passions: his three-year-old daughter, Chloe, with his partner of eight years, Dale Monchamp.
Chloe was conceived via surrogate, and both Ryan and Dale were sperm donors -- so neither Ryan nor Dale, a furniture dealer, knows which one is the toddler's biological father. And the way Ryan sees it, there's no reason to know, unless, he points out, "there's a medical issue." Remarkably, Chloe was nursed using breast milk. "Our surrogate lived in Northern California so she would pump for us and freeze and ship the breast milk down to us in L.A. -- she did it for a full year."
Fatherhood seems to be a natural fit for Ryan -- who "came out" right after college. "I always knew I'd be a dad, but I never thought about the logistics of it," he says. Back then, he was sure that he'd end up adopting a child. "These days there are so many gay couples who are doing surrogacy -- that wasn't really going on when I was younger."
Although Ryan and Dale are not considered a "traditional" family, their domestic life is more "Leave It to Beaver" than most. Dale is a stay-at-home dad and Ryan runs Brown Design with his brother, Joshua. Appearing on "Flipping Out" is also one of Ryan's jobs. His appearances with Chloe, says Ryan, have had the added benefit of letting people who otherwise wouldn't get a chance to catch a glimpse of the gay family dynamic. "I've had people say 'You're the only gay family on TV.' They're very supportive," he says.
But having a household with two male parents has an unforeseen complication. For one thing, both dads couldn't be called the same name of "Dad." In the end, Ryan choose "Daddy" and Dale goes by "Papa." As for how Chloe copes with not having a mom, Ryan believes, "She totally gets the concept." But one time, he admits he was concerned. "A kid came up to Chloe and asked her, point-blank, 'Why don't you have a mommy?'" Her reaction, says Ryan, was matter-of-fact. "I don't have a mommy," she told the little boy, "I have two daddies," and the little kid was like, "OK."
How will the two proud fathers be celebrating Father's Day? "We will be spending Father's Day with Chloe and my parents at their house at the beach. Probably a nice walk on the beach with the dog and some sand castle building," Ryan says. The guys, however, will not be exchanging gifts. "We are not big on giving each other presents. We will probably end up buying her something this weekend -- now it is all about her."
To learn more about Ryan Brown, visit Brown Design.
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