Father’s Day: How an Instagram Photo Didn’t Get the Whole Picture

Kordale Lewis and Kaleb Anthony, the gay dads behind a photo that went viral, share their views of fatherhood and what it means to them.

Kordale Lewis (left), Kaleb Anthony and their three children.
Kordale Lewis (left), Kaleb Anthony and their three children. Instagram/KordalenKaleb

Father’s Day in the Lewis-Anthony household will probably not be a grand event this year. There’s nothing special planned—their three kids are young enough to be let off the hook for not presenting any special surprise for their dads. But for now this doesn’t bother Kordale Lewis and Kaleb Anthony, who are raising their two daughters and one son together in Atlanta.

“I don’t need a day to feel like I’m a father. I’m a father every day of the year, but when they’re older I will be expecting maybe a gift or two,” Lewis, laughing, told The Root.

You see, things in the Lewis-Anthony household aren’t that much different from scenes in other middle- to upper-class households across the United States. Monday through Friday the pair get their kids ready for school: They get up early to make them breakfast, comb their hair and get them dressed, and they make sure the children have completed everything they need to do for their classes. When they come home, they feed the kids, who are 5, 6 and 7; go through homework; and put the kids to bed.

Rinse and repeat.

If the children have been good, they get a weekend treat in the form of a family trip, like going to the movies or a theme park. If they misbehave, then Lewis and Anthony, not fans of corporal punishment, prefer to speak to their children about what they’ve done wrong.

Typical, modern-day parents—except their lives became the focus of attention across social media and in articles around the country back in January when a photo of Lewis and Anthony, an obviously gay couple, combing their two daughters’ hair in the morning hit Instagram.

The resulting frenzy of both criticism and praise ultimately inspired Lewis to write a book called Picture Perfect? Lewis’ goal was to make sure that everyone who assumed so much from one photo—a perfect gay couple raising beautiful children—got his story straight.

“It took a lot for me to actually want to sit down and do this project,” Lewis told The Root. “I never in a million years would want to tell my personal business to the world, but being I did go viral, so many people wanted to know about us, and they thought the picture was so perfect … and everything beyond this picture is not as it seems.”

In the memoir-type tale, Lewis details his rather “hectic” (as he described it) situation growing up: being sexually abused as a child and coping with a drug-addicted mother and an absentee father, who was incarcerated. The book progresses into his teen years and how he himself ended up becoming a young father, the struggles with his sexual identity and meeting his current partner, Anthony—everything that led up to the taking of that seemingly “perfect” picture.