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By Liz Highleyman
Having a baby is hardly revolutionary, but District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty is destined to put his own unique stamp on it.
A gay man, Dufty announced in April that he is partnering with a lesbian friend, Rebecca Goldfader, to create a family. The couple plan to move under the same roof and raise the child together, while remaining open to other relationships.
"I'm having a baby!" enthused Dufty in a phone call to the Voice. "And we're looking for a place in Noe Valley."
He and Goldfader met at an exercise class about eight years ago. It wasn't long before they discovered they shared the same dream. "We each wanted to have a family," says Goldfader. "We're dear friends, and as we got to know each other, we decided to do it." As an ob-gyn nurse practitioner, Goldfader had "lots of connections to help us start the process."
Dufty, 51, and Goldfader, who will turn 40 this fall, first tried donor insemination. When that didn't work, they embarked on the arduous process of fertility treatment. After a year and a half of trying to conceive, in vitro fertilization finally did the trick. Though they support adoption, both found it important to try for a genetically related child. The couple expect a baby girl in October.
"We bought her first outfit at Small Frys this weekend," Dufty gushes. "We're discussing what type of baby carrier to buy, what type of stroller... I hear there are some pretty luxurious strollers on 24th Street."
The coming fall will bring not only the birth of Goldfader and Dufty's daughter, but it's also the height of the campaign season. Dufty plans to "campaign hard" for election to a second four-year term as supervisor, but being a good father is his top priority.
"I intend to be a very active, engaged co-parent," he says, adding that he has no plans to run for State Assembly when Mark Leno is termed out.
"Ideally, this would have happened a year ago, before the re-election campaign, but pregnancy is one of those life experiences you take when it comes," says Goldfader.
In this day and age, gay men and lesbians raising children is pretty common. However, you don't often find a politician willing to experiment so freely with his social and living arrangements.
"This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time," Dufty says. "Neither of us had partners, so we looked at each other and said, 'Let's do this together.'"
Currently, Dufty and Goldfader are searching for a duplex to share--ideally in Noe Valley, but they will consider anywhere in District 8--and they know the hunt won't be easy.
"It's slim pickings in this district," admits Goldfader, who now lives in Bernal Heights.
"Noe Valley is a great neighborhood, with so many kids and lots of gay and lesbian parents," says Dufty, a Castro District resident. But finding a suitable building that will not entail eviction of tenants is "like looking for a needle in a haystack," he laments, adding, "Maybe someone will read this and help us out."
As Goldfader and Dufty embark on their co-parenting partnership, what about new romantic partners for either of them?
"Our priority is to have a healthy, happy baby and create a home around that, then try to take the next steps to have relationships," Dufty says. Goldfader adds that there's "room for a loving partner" for each of them, but they acknowledge that respective potential lovers may be wary of Dufty and Goldfader's commitment to each other, as well as the newcomer's undefined role in the family.
Without the benefits of traditional marriage, Goldfader and Dufty must do some extra legwork to clarify their legal responsibilities to each other and their child. Says Dufty, "Family laws have dragged behind the reality of family structures today."
Goldfader, who is a partner in her medical practice and a Pilates instructor, notes that they have received a great deal of support from coworkers, friends, and family. "Bevan and I are fortunate to walk in a lot of different worlds," she says. "We're looking at this pregnancy as a real opportunity to create a family across the spectrum of the rainbow."
Dufty envisions creating a unique and diverse home environment, much like the one his single mother--a writer ensconced in the New York City jazz community--provided for him. "I hope our home is like a fun salon, mixing food, politics, and good causes," he says. "I think that will be a great environment to raise our daughter."
He adds that being open about the challenges of dealing with fertility problems and having a baby after age 50 has offered rewards of a different kind. "So many people have come forward because we've been open about our fertility issues, about being two single people trying to make a family," he says. "Fertility issues can make you feel really isolated. But people shouldn't feel alone."
"Each year at Halloween I sit in front of Small Frys, greeting the neighborhood kids," Dufty concludes. "I get kind of choked up thinking that next year our little girl is going to be out there dressed up, too."