A Gay Single Father Of 3 Is Using TikTok To Share His Family’s Love With The World
Living as a single parent is a tough situation in the best of times. During the time of Covid, it can create a completely different set of issues. José Rólon is showcasing life as a single gay father to three kids on Instagram and TikTok.
José Rólon is a single father in New York City and he’s celebrating his family on social media.
Rólon’s husband, Tim Merrell, died tragically in December 2013 of a heart attack while on a business trip. At the time, the couple had a young son and a surrogate who was 11 weeks pregnant. Rólon recalls that they had just taken a trip to Georgia for a medical follow-up with the surrogate.
“On top of the heavy grieving I then only had a week to follow through the pregnancy or not because at 12 weeks you can’t make the decision to abort. I think at the beginning, those first several days I was pretty clear that I was going to abort because I think there was just no way that I could raise three kid son my own,” Rólon recalls. “But, on the sixth day, which not only happened to be the last day to make the decision, but it happened to be my husband’s funeral service and burial, I woke up that day and realized that my son just lost his father and what if something were to happen to me. I didn’t want to leave him alone in this world and so I decided that day that I was going to follow through the pregnancy.”
Rólon adds: “I announced that we were pregnant while giving Tim’s eulogy in the church. Nobody knew that we were pregnant yet so you can just imagine the audible gasp that came from that.”
He has been documenting his life with the children in quarantine and it has been wonderful to watch.
Like other parents, Rólon is wearing so many hats with his children in quarantine. Not only is he still a single father, he has had to become an educator as well. He also became a social media sensation thanks to his children and his own need for release.
Rólon thinks that his social media presence is breaking down barriers and creating a chance for people to relate to him. Despite his sexuality and being someone of color, Rólon sees his dad content as something most parents will relate to.
One of the first videos to go viral was with one of his daughters massaging his hair as he works.
“I think that it’s those types of relatable videos that resonated, but I think also that there hasn’t been much of a voice in this medium from a gay parent, a gay father,” Rólon says. “Even though we have been raising kids for a long time I do think that we’re still very much in the forefront of this movement of the LGBTQ+ community raising children. It has gone from something that is rare to something that has become more common.”
How many parents out there can relate? We have seen videos and photos all over social media that show parents doing the best they can to work from home with the kids. A lot of the videos remind us of the greatest benefit of working from home: family. Parents around the U.S. have relearned the joys of spending more time with family and less time in the office.
Social media was a way for Rólon to have an outlet when dating stopped due to Covid.
The dad knew how to juggle raising his family as well as enjoying some nights out. It was his way to recharge and come back as Super Dad. However, Covid changed all of that. Suddenly, staying home was the best thing he could do to take care of his children and keep them healthy.
“The scripted response around the attention we’ve been getting around TikTok is because I’m a gay dad who does play sports orally instruments or is good at arts and crafts. But the reality is that I just wasn’t getting laid,” Rólon admits while laughing. “That was my outlet. For me, whenever the kids were driving me crazy, the way that I was able to rejuvenate was by going out on a date or possibly having an intimate evening with somebody and then I could come back and be Super Dad. That wasn’t happening so, for me, I just need to put those creative juices elsewhere. That’s what I started creating those TikTok videos and from there, once they started going viral, people started paying attention and that’s kind of where we’ve been.”
Rólon’s TikTok videos are a wonderful look into a modern family.
There is so much love and happiness on Rólon’s social media pages. He is devoted to his children and their unity is heartwarming. You can follow Rólon on TikTok and Instagram under @nycgaydad to see his family grow and change on a daily basis.
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