'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown Is Awarding a Single Gay Dad-to-Be $25K For Sharing His Fostering Journey
Kevin Gerdes, who has been sharing his journey of fostering to adopt a child, will be awarded $25,000 for taking the time to spread cheer in his community this year.
In a year as bleak as 2020, every little bit of cheer and joy has counted even more than usual. That's why Queer Eye star Karamo Brown partnered with digital payment platform Zelle to celebrate a single gay aspiring dad named Kevin Gerdes. The California-based real estate agent is one of three winners of the digital payment platform's Send Cheer contest, which aimed to reward people who have dedicated time and effort to send cheer in their community this year.
Last night, Gerdes was awarded $25,000 from Zelle on Karamo's Holiday Spectacular, which aired via a livestream on Karamo's Instagram and Facebook pages.
In an Instagram video submission for the contest, Gerdes discussed the meaningful journey he's been sharing on his podcast LGBTQ Stories, YouTube, and other social media platforms. "This year I started the process of fostering to adopt a child," the 34-year-old shared in the caption. "I am a single gay man and parenting has always been something I saw myself doing."
Gerdes noted that as he began talking about his experience online, he received messages from other single men asking about the process. "They’ve expressed that they’ve wanted to foster, but had no idea how to," he shared. "I’ve learned that speaking up about this has brought a lot of people joy and inspiration (so I've been told)."
Gerdes tells Parents.com that while many LGBTQ people wish to be parents, it can be challenging to see how that will manifest in their lives. "I always knew I wanted to be a parent; I simply didn't know how I would ever make it happen—until 2020 I guess. Something about the year 2020 put so much into perspective for me and caused me to spring into action. Before I knew it, a representative from Aviva Family & Children Services was sitting in my living room, and the process began."
The aspiring dad was inspired to share his experience online after searching YouTube to find other single gay men on the same path. "Everyone I came across all was talking about surrogacy or private adoption," says Gerdes. "While those are just as valuable and beautiful options for becoming a parent, so is fostering. There are so many children, newborn to young adults, that need and want parents."
Gerdes says that because he couldn't find what he was looking for online and he felt unseen while growing up gay, he decided to fill that void himself. "I created my channel and started talking into my camera," he recalls. "Before I knew it, people began commenting on my videos and sending me messages on Instagram, thanking me for the content and asking how they can do the same. It was very moving."
In one YouTube video, Gerdes describes the documentation of his journey as "a very vulnerable thing, a very scary thing at times, an extremely exciting thing that I'm doing."
Currently, the Send Cheer winner is gearing up for the next step. He's fully approved to foster and has had his license for a few weeks and awaiting that one special phone call. "The waiting process is intense," says Gerdes. "Every time my phone rings, I find myself thinking, 'Is this the call!?'"
It's clear Gerdes' storytelling and vulnerability is exactly what the world needs more of, which is why he's being honored by Zelle. His heartwarming journey is sure to prove inspiring and helpful for aspiring single parents everywhere.