Like Father, (Un)Like Son


I got to thinking about things which I had in common with my son Leo when I was his age. For a start, we both enjoy doing that!

He has just started Middle School in the US along with his best friend Chris: I had just started grammar school in Oxford, UK, along with my best friend Colin. Both of us quickly got involved in the sports scene: in my case it was always gymnastics…

sam oldham

…the acrobatics came later…


For Leo, his current school really isn’t into gymnastics, but he does all of his acrobatic training and performance with us. He’s in the wrestle team, having shared my lack of interest in the usual US team games of baseball, American football or even basketball, although he’ll play if he has to. But it’s the wrestling he likes best, although he prefers our submission style to the collegiate, and perhaps even more he just prefers to do it for fun…


Actually, we both enjoyed doing silly things with our friends for fun (and still do!)…


We both enjoyed swimming from an early age…


…especially in ‘open water’…


We both enjoy the freedom that going shirtless brings, both in sports and just generally when chilling out…


We both enjoy being in the sun, working on our Vitamin D levels…


…’looking good’…

When I was 11 I hadn’t really found weight training, but we developed ‘bodyweight’ exercises in school…

clapping press-up 2

…whereas Leo, thanks to our subsequent ‘addiction’ to pumping iron, has been using exercises suitable for his present stage of physical development more or less ever since he was old enough not to drop them!


At age 11, I was as proud of my body and what it could do as he is now.

zac ainsley

But there are some important differences! In our family now, there is a habit to hang around the house naked without giving it much of a second thought, and extending that to our swimming in suitable places…


…when I was 11, in conservative Oxford and considering my parents’ attitude to things, that would not have been ‘seemly’ (although Colin and I would sunbathe and swim together naked in the summer when we got the chance).

But there is a very significant difference between the 11yo me and the 11yo Leo. I’m gay; he’s chasing after the girls and has recently introduced his fourth girlfriend!

When I was 11, I didn’t know I was gay. But I had no interest in the ladies, preferring to hang out with the lads…


I didn’t know I was gay until about age 16 when I first met Dave. But my friends suspected it, and Colin was certain! He said that I always had a eye for the boys in the locker rooms! The big difference between me at 11 and my son is that he knows what gay is, he knows his dad is gay (and his mum is lesbian), he doesn’t find it odd, he accepts it as ‘normal’ in our family… and I can cheerfully give my partner a kiss in front of Leo and he doesn’t give it a thought.


But, we live in the ‘bible belt’, and being gay openly isn’t always wise. And Leo is shrewd enough to understand that discussing his family situation, sometimes even just mentioning that his dad is gay, isn’t always wise!

I guess that summarising that, I could say that the 11yo Leo is wise beyond his years, whereas the 11yo Tone wasn’t! Gosh, I’m so proud of him…

Cover1 ThumbCover2 ThumbCover 3 ThumbMy voyage of self-discovery, from age 16 3/4 onwards, is chronicled in the first two books! Discovering gay love, developing the acrobatic career, having a few adventures, and stuff. Clicks on the book covers will tell you more, and Amazon and Kindle can provide! The events that ‘led to’ Leo being conceived by a gay man and his lesbian mum are there too. If Leo ever writes his story, his discovery of true love will definitely take a different course – the straight pathway! Good luck to him – he’s a great kid and he deserves the best.

One more thing we share – irritation with most of the lessons in school and a desire to get outdoors and to do something physical! According to my dad’s wishes, I was going to be a physicist: my ‘resolution’ is to let Leo make his own choices.

We spend a huge amount of time together, and that’s great. I don’t post pictures of the kids on here, but what follows are things we typically do together. Physical challenges…


…in the gym…


…showing off…


…acrobatic group work…


…even ‘fakir’ stuff. I love my son!

But there’s that important difference… whilst he enjoys kissing the girls and having them run admiring hands over his muscles, I’ll be snugging down with Dave and our gay friends!




About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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