The Chiang-Cruise family

Rodney, Jeff and Ethan live in Melbourne. They are outspoken advocates for gay parenting. Rodney keeps a blog at

Who’s in your family?

Our primary family is: Rodney Chiang-Cruise (Dad, 43), Jeff Chiang-Cruise (Dad, 41) and Ethan Chiang-Cruise (son, 3)

Our extended family is: Debbie Lin (Mum, 40),  Ling Lin (Mum, 43),  Justin Lin (son, 2), newborn (son, 5 days old – no name yet!)

Where do you live?

Richmond, Victoria, Australia

How did you create your family?

We created our primary family using commercial surrogacy in the US.  Our son was born 3 years ago in Ohio, USA.

Do you have a relationship with your donor/surrogate?

We have a strong relationship with our surrogate, Kelly, and her family.  We are in contact regularly and we have been to visit them in Ohio.  We don’t have a relationship with the egg donor as she was essentially anonymous.

Rodney is the bio-donor for Debbie and Ling’s 2 boys.  They are close friends and we have a very close relationship, particularly with all of our children

Give us three words to describe each member of the family

Jeff – Determined, calm, patient
Rodney – Detailed, geek, happy
Ethan – Talkative, laughing, singing

What’s Ethan’s current favourite activity?

Playing his guitar (with Murray from the Wiggles)

What’s your favourite thing to do together as a family?

Travel and visit family and friends

What are some great kids’ activities where you live?

Visiting the park, the zoo and the aquarium.  Drawing on the lounge room wall although the adults aren’t so keen on that!

How would you describe your parenting style?

Fairly traditional, similar to how we were parented as children (which is a good thing)

How do you feel being a ‘rainbow family’ influences your parenting?

Our family is and will continue to be an open, honest and accepting family.  Being a rainbow family also means traditional stereotypical roles are gone.

How has your relationship with your partner changed after children?

Yes, we have grown stronger as a family unit for sure.

Anything about rainbow parenting you didn’t expect?

No.  It is just parenting.  It’s not always easy but being gay doesn’t alter it.

If you started all over again, is there anything you would do differently?

Start our family earlier.

How have your extended families responded to the creation of your family?

They have always been and continue to be perfectly fine with it.  Even Jeff’s family which is a traditional Chinese (Taiwanese) family.  There has never been any issues except the usual things like grandparents offering advice.

How do you explain your family if outsiders ask? How do you respond when people assume heterosexuality?

We just say Ethan has two dads.  If they enquire more we tell them he was born via surrogacy.  So far no one has really assumed heterosexuality!  But if they did, I would probably assume homosexuality in return….that usually makes people think about their assumptions.

Have you experienced any difficulties as a rainbow family?

To be honest, we haven’t. Maybe because we live in Melbourne.  But we have never experienced any difficulties.

The exception is legal however.  Unlike lesbian co-parents in Victoria and other states who can now have their parenting role legal recognised,  surro-Dads are still in legal limbo.  Despite that we travel quite easily in the world.

Are there issues particular to gay men as parents?

The only issue is legal recognition, which is sadly missing in Australia.

What supports (rainbow or straight) do you recommend?

Surround yourself with friends and family who support you.  Get rid of those who don’t.  Don’t let you children grow up with those who don’t support your family 110% .  That is toxic.  If they don’t support you, no matter who they are, they should no longer be part of your life.

Make sure you find friends in similar family situations so your children will grow up surrounded by or knowing other rainbow families.

How do you model pride in rainbow families to your child?

You be proud.  It really is simple as that.  Be proud of who you are.  Be proud of your sexuality.  Be proud of the rainbow family you created.  Children will learn, respect and adopt that pride.

What advice would you give someone embarking on a rainbow parenting journey?

LOL………that is a hard one.  OK….creating a rainbow family is much harder than 6 Bacardi Breezers in the back of a Barina at 3am in the morning.  It takes time, patience, more time, more patience, more time, lots of money, a rollercoaster ride of emotions, more time…..lots of love and trust.  But the journey is worth it.  It may be a difficult journey or a long journey but the joy of being a dad or mum at the end of it is worth it.  Being a parent is not for every one (gay or straight) but if it is for you…follow that dream.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise