When Gay Best Friends Have a Baby Together w/ Brandi Andrews & Lawrence Carroll
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 1 year ago

When Gay Best Friends Have a Baby Together w/ Brandi Andrews & Lawrence Carroll

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brandi and Lawrence were close friends who met at work, where the idea of starting a family together casually came up. Nearly four years later, they are raising their two-year-old son Hartley as a blended family that includes Brandi and Lawrence, as well as their respective partners. But what really sets them apart from other families is that Lawrence is gay and Brandi is a lesbian. Today you’ll hear from Brandi and Lawrence about their pregnancy journey, their approach to dating, and why Courtney Cox sent a camera crew to follow them around for nine months. 

Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana Alcala. Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media well, and I think that that's one of what makes people's heads till a little bit when they see a gay man, lesbian like making the conscious effort to actually create a family. They're like, well, how does that work? Because when I came out, the friends that I had at the time would tell me like Yo, look, lesbians a gay guys, they don't really get alone, they don't hang out, they're not supposed to. I don't think it's myself. How that doesn't make any sense. That doesn't the beginning of the acronym. That part like we're number one. Actually we were all now leaders. I mean so for me that was never that that that was never part of my journey with our community and you know, hey, look to each his own. What works for you works for you. I'm not trying to see you how to live your life. We're just sharing our story. Asn't that's another thing. Just before the Sunday Funday Bruntrush, one morning, Co workers turn close friends, Brandy Andrews and Lawrence Carroll casually came up with a plan to start a family together. Nearly four years later, they're raising their two year old son part like as a blend in family, including brandy, laurence and their respective partners. What might set them apart from other blended families is that Lawrence is gay and brandy is a lesbian. Today you'll hear from Brandy and Lawrence about their pregnancy journey, approach to dating and why Courtney Cox sent a camera crew to follow them around for nine months. I'M LEA by chambers and this is pride. Welcome, welcome to our lives. Seriously, hi, my name is Lawrence. I'm thirty six live in Los Angeles. This is publicists. I'm also on the Board of Elie Pride. I'm also on the board of in tenitias for Equality, which is small nonprofit right outside of San Diego. Lawrence is also a writer and plans to publish his second book this year, titled My Dear King, which encourages young boys and men to prioritize their mental wellness. His first book, My dear Queen, released in two thousand and nineteen, spoke to young girls and women of color, encouraging them to love their hair. Cool right. But there's a more important title that Laurence holds, and I'm a dad. I'm Brandy Andrews I am a mom. So right now I am currently an educator at Pal Mitchell and I also just started a business called Lunavibeco and it is going to be an online as well as physical space for the beauty industry and all black Latin X BYPAC indigenous lgbtq. I A small owned businesses, and that is to make sure that there is equality in the beauty industry, not just for the big name beauty brands. That goes with skin, makeup and hair. Okay, so before any of that, before you were working on your own business, before you were working as a business publicist, where did you two met? In a nutshell, we both lived downtown on Main Street and had no idea that we both worked at the Abbey, but she kept seeing me walk past the salon that she worked at and she would recognize me. Just kind of like walk around the Abbey and put two in two together, like Oh, I know this guy, we must work together at the Abbey. So she pops out on her Salam with day when I was walking past it, gets my car like the crazy bitch that she is and then literally was like Hey, and I'm like who the fuck is this shit, and I just look at her and I'm like okay, she's like yeah, we worked together and yet idea, and I'm just like okay, yeah, sure, can I be transparent? He completely game board me. He...

...was like, Oh, that's so nice, cube, I both see you at work, but that's what you do in Hollywood. Let's not get its Wi it that that's what you do in Hollywood. So I played that game and then I saw her like a couple weeks later I was just like, Holy Shit, him selling the truth like she does work here. For any of our listeners that don't know, the Abbey is a notable and high traffic weeer of ore located in the heart of Los Angeles's Gayborhood West Hollywood. At the time, brandy was working as a bar tender and Lawrence was stationed at the front of the Popular Club as a host, all the MISS VIP host. Yeah, I'm being modest about it. I'm I really the Vipho everywhere as you needed to get through him. After their initial interaction outside Lawrence's car, the relationship began to grow. They became closer friends and eventually roommates. So during a slow Sunday shift at the Abbey, the two got on the topic of relationships and family planning. Doors it just open. People are going to trickling in and I had just broken up with a girl that I had been saying and I was like, I'm so over women. So I'm venting to him, he is venting to me, and then he tells me. I was like you know what I'm I'm just gonna have a very boy myself. He's like, I think about the same thing. I don't know who said at first, but so we agreed on the same thing and he was like, yeah, I was thinking about doing it with this girl that was his friend that I had met when I was as roommate, and so he told me he was going to have a baby with her and I should and I said no, you're not. I don't care who you have a baby with, but it's not going to be her. And she wasn't even saying it for herself. She yeah, look at like no, as a friend, I can't let you go down that road. I'm looking the world like well then, who else am I want to do this with? And then our coworkers, who was here fan us the entire time, was just like, why don't you two just do it together and we look like not do it together. You know, you know and cartoons when two people look at each other and then it's like there's living. That was a that was like so much sense. We literally we had like an hour conversation, which shook on it at the end, because then people started showing up. A few years passed since their initial conversation. Still Brandy and Lawrence hadn't made any moves towards starting a family until a near fetal car accident forced brandy to reevaluate her life and she was hit by two trunk driverers on the four fives coach all the weekend, as she called, and I was like half sleep or something, and I'm realized the next morning that basically the accident that she was in should have took her out. Thankfully, the accident happened the year before brandy became pregnant, giving her a wakeup call and reminder of how fragile life can be. took out the right side of my body and then I had to have like surgery after surgery on my knee, with Lawrence helping her with her recovery. Brandy reflected on a handshake and discussion they shared many months prior and decided it was time to take action. One day was just like look, I'm not going to wait anymore. Like we put this off loan. We had stressful situations happened along the way, but it's time to like really get to work here. So they made the decision to have a baby. But how? First they wanted to see if a natural pregnancy was an option. So Brandy and Lawrence went to a fertility specialist to check their health and examine their chances of pregnancy. So we had blood drawn, we had seem intested, we had over his looked at, which I did on camera, and I was like you guys, stay up by my head, stay all the way up by my head. Of this is going now, this is inappropriate. Episode One Leel. Yeah, and then we found out things like we needed to get legal contract shafted up, each of us should have an attorney and go see a therapist, go see a therapist and a psychologist and all this other stuff. And then finding out that Lawrence, or any gay man for that matter, is not seen as a fit donor first firm. They...

...have to be a high risk, high risk because of our lifestyle. Sadly, queer men still face many discriminatory policies. Even today, several countries have launched that prohibit men who have sex with men from participating in blood, organ or sperm donations. And this is when auntions mark s with the AIDS pandemic, when that broke out. That's what set the tone. That, because gave men were so risky with their lifesund so promiskey was that all of us are, you know, endangering people when we go out and try to make babies. Yet that's a joke. Well's trying to make a joke, but like it's then exactly. And so hearing that it really because what was really different about the two of US coming together is that we both wanted mom and dance be present. Hmmm, you know, for our child. We wanted to make sure that our child, you know, whoever we ended up falling in love with, romantic, we wanted to make sure that our child still had a connection to its biological you know, other half, if you will so to hear that I wouldn't even be able to donate. It's a brandy because I'm a gay man. And then you add on the layer on top of that that actually I wouldn't even be considered the father because legally, if I'm not on the birth certificate or the Declaration of Fraternity, will you leave the hospital? I mean that our child wouldn't be mine. So it was a really, really interesting situation that the parent agreement actually helped this get through a lot of that. In fact, in April of two thousand and twenty, due to challenges with the US blood supply created by covid nineteen, the FDA amended its policy for men who have sex with men. First established in one thousand nine hundred and eighty five, the FDA regulation eliminated the right for men who have sex with men to donate blood all together. Then in two thousand and fifteen, the FDA updated the policy to allow those men to donate blood after a twelve month celibacy period from their last male sexual interaction. With the current update, the obstinence period has been reduced to three months. With this new information and conception obstacle, the pair had to consider what they could afford financially. Medical procedures like in vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, are also sought out by individuals who cannot conceive naturally. IVF is the process of collecting mature eggs from the ovaries and lab fertilizing them. Was Firm. The fertilized egg or eggs will then be transferred into the uterus. The IVF process is long and not guaranteed. It can cost nearly twenty fivezero dollars, which often forces couples to look at alternate options, which drew Lawrence and Brandy to mosy baby. That just one day and I was like at home Isem nation kid, because I kept joking. I'm like, look, we could do like a Turkey base for method. That's what I was picturing. I'm assuming it's not that. Well, in a sense it is, but it's a medical syringe that mosy baby developed for maximum efficacy and like efficiency and all that other stuff. Yeah, the way that they formulated it and made it their own is like, for at homeless emanation. It's ideally what you want. Everything's like sterilized and they gave you what to syringes and each dish. Uh Hmm. Once they figured out their baby making method, everything began to fall into place. They had a safe way of getting pregnant and they didn't have to break the bank to do it. Allow forgot to say the MOSY babies eighty nine bucks, by the way. Oh Yeah, we did. I was going to ask like, is there a coupon? Do you get it on Amazon Prime? How does it all that was left was to decide when to get pregnant. After some conversation, Brandy and Lawrence agreed that they wanted their baby to be a libra, so they marked their calendars and planned accordingly. So we're like, look, we're doing this in January. We know that. We can count back three months when we got a Halloween baby, give or take so because that's her favorite holiday. Fast forward to insemination week. Lawrence upheld his end of the bargain. He walked into Brandy's room carefully carrying a loaded syringe, expecting to see the future mother of his child waiting patiently alone. But to his surprise, brandy brought a friend and I...

...look over and her best friend, Ashley, is laid up in the bed next to her and I'm like, why is Ashley here, and Ashley's like, why are you any we are sleeping in the same bed. Let me just preface that we were sleeping in the same bed. She's like my sister, sister, brother. It didn't even matter. It was just another body up the day and I wasn't ready for and next thing I know, brand he's like, Oh yeah, by the way, Ashley, we're trying to get pregnant this week and so and I'm like, I have dying sperm my hands right now. You need to insert this because it's insimination week. It's Gotime, soldier, and, I kid you not, asshole, was there for the first two days of insimination week and we got pregnant. that their pregnancy process seems almost too easy. Right. Find a partner, by a kit and get pregnant on your first trying. What luck. But the pregnancy itself wasn't so simple. Brandy suffered from something called Hyper Messis gravidarum, which is a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that affects only about two percent of women. Famously, Amy Schumer publicly discussed her experience with the same condition. It's often debilitating. But after months of sickness and a few false labors, both parents were more than ready to meet hearty and I'm like talking to my stomach and I'm like K partly check this out, we're going to be insane forever. So if you are healthy and and safe to come out, I am ready to be your mom. This is the day before national coming out day, and so I ask the publicist on the PR team for the Abbey. We were having, I think it was channel Q radio, and they were doing an activation there that morning. So I had to be at the Abbey like four am and I was not looking forward to it. So as she's over there talking to him, being like Yo, look, it's time for you to show up, I'm saying the same thing in my head, like your kid, if you are going to pop up any day, today is the day, as I don't feel like going to work tomorrow. It's really nothing like one I am I hear her in the bedroom. You like, Oh my God. I was just like yes, it's shows her wing in at seven pounds eight ounces and twenty one inches long. Their song, Hartley, was born on national coming out day to to queer parents talk about kiss men and for anyone wondering, yes, he's a libra. It was. It's a feeling I really can't put into words, other than there was just an element of peace, if you can imagine like the world. Okay, I hate to use a pandemic as a reference, but when everything was just quiet, that's what the hospital room felt like, because it was just the three of us, like I don't care how many people were in there. Like Randy instantly became the mother of my child, like for Real, for Real, and she was like glowing with happiness, but she had just got through crying and like sweating and pushing out a whole human but this human light was so peaceful. He didn't cry, he wasn't screaming. It was he came into this world peacefully and that's all I felt until he made like a little squeak and I was like, I mean, like, Oh, yeah, that was yeah, he was so cool. He was just such a little stud when he came into the world. When we come back, Lawrence and brandy discussed writing their own rules as a new traditional family and how their story ended up in a documentary series with Courtney Cox. Welcome back. Today we're talking with Lawrence carrol and Brandy Andrews, to Queer people who decided they didn't need to wait for the right romantic partner to start their family. Before the break the parents were counted the events leading up to the birth of their son partly. But the question we're all probably thinking about is what now? What happened next? And how does this work? Leave I I want to ask the same damn questions. How does it work? Because it's somebody else wrote this book. We gonna really is your out right now. Wow, we are figuring that out. We are literally, I guess...

...we are. We are writing the book. Figure because it is not easy. It is no, not at all what we plan for. You know, in that conversation at the Abbey five years ago, five six years ago, we had an idea of what parenthood may or would look like for the two of us and what co parenting together what we both wanted out of it. Really, really good about, you know, communicating what we want and then finding a middle ground, if we know can't budge, or something like that. But when it comes to thinking about relationships, romantic relationships, we had nothing to base that on and we weren't even really thinking about that. While families like their's are becoming increasingly common, it departs from the nuclear family structures we often see represented. This meant Brandy and Lawrence would have to navigate this experience on their own. There would be no rule models or examples to look up to for guidance, but, like most parents, they would make it up as they went along. This also meant figuring out how and when to introduce new partners into the mix. And we start to put in work into somebody, things change. We are both with people that have put in some work with us and that we have put in work with them, and it has really shifted that the dynamic between the two of us that we just weren't expecting, because now we had to be even more vulnerable with one another about our romantic relationships, where in the past we kind of kept that separate for one of them. And our partners want things and want to do things, and how does that affect what we created and agree to do together? We're writing a book right now and that is in one of the chapters where just who you bring home and how that affects the family. We have to be on the same page. Yeah, absolutely, and if it's a booty call, is something. Look, we know not to get serious with it. We know look, take it over there, keep it over right, but won't be here for the morning shift. Cool, go ahead. It was that good. But in this particular instance, know we have two people who would we want to be involved. was just so, so, so, so different. It's sun around. So it's like, how do you put up those boundaries? Yeah, you know, because at the end of the day you're the parents exactly. So it's like, how do you apply boundaries with not only your partner but with your co parents partner? And then how do you like transcribe all of that? And do the rules have to be the same across the board? DO THEY NOT? Do they? But like what one obstacle both Brandy and Lawrence face with each of their respective partners is the idea of growing their families in the future. Their partners are looking to settle down and have kids, but Brandy and Lawrence they already did that, I think from what I've seen it, because I'm saying what we see from both of both of our partners, it's hard not to get carried away in the fantasy. Yeah, but then also feel invalidated when you're like, I can't give you that right now because I've already started this, I already have a child, like I'm just going through the beginning processes of this and even though your clocks are all ticking, our our alarm one off are our little old school bells at boot. We already did it. I've done this in my relationship where I've established that boundary. I said, look, I want to give you everything, and it wasn't an easy boundary to set because you can easily make your partner feel invalidated, you know, especially when they're triggered and say, you know, I'm like, do not ask me for another kid for like three years. Mind you, guys, we like it's reversations with our partners already, so this isn't anything that they would hear, right. Yeah, yeah, communication, like I had to establish the boundary that I did not want another child for three years. Obviously, yes, I will, I want to have a family with you, I want to marry, I want to do this, but I also have to see how to shift this dynamic. Brandy and Lawrence live together, Co parenting Hartley, who is now a toddler, so he has equal access to both of his parents at all times. While platonically co parenting, they are also trying to grow within their own romantic relationships and establish boundaries for their family. All well,...

...under the same roof. It seemed like the perfect setup and it was working for them, and then the pandemic happened. I think it just made us realize that having that full House family matters, you know, all those things that we grew up with on all these different types of families in their dynamic. That's just not for us. It's like we want. We ideally would have loved to have a house, like a plot of land with two properties and, you know, a huge garden in between and letty down, you know, kind of main bone. Oh yeah, compound. That's what we need if we in order to do that, we need two or three acres of land. You need to be on your side, I need to be on my side. We need to keep our partner separate. This is what we'll do for families don't like Oh my God, as they learn, grow and create new understandings of how their family will thrive. Brandy and Lawrence plan to live separately, but for now their priority is Hartley and how he might react to waking up one day and seeing moving boxes in his home. We want to make sure that he's able to understand what's going on before we just make any sort of decision for selfish reasons because at the end of the day, moving down all that stuff really got some selfish can our curse. Yeah, Shit, okay, cool. So and we just we don't want to do that to him because we know what it's like to have trauma and we don't we want to minimize the opportunities for that for Hartley as much as we can. So, you know, if we had to prolong a certain decision for the best of him, will do so. And I think with our vacation, we both have a mom cation and a dad cation where we both leave for a week and and I went to clad of Carmen and Sloomin Cankoo. Yeah, every year we could take a week off. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and so like being a gone for those seven days. I think that I think we could. I speak for most of us when I say that's probably the Max we want to go without seeing, you know, partly. And so we had to take that into consideration. And how now it's laying down all the logistics for it's like the second that the addendums to all the things in our parental agreement, because that's constantly changing. Yeah, we're constantly updating that and making sure that, you know, it's relevant. It's relevant. You know, we even have in there that we have to make sure that we're taking care of our mental health, and the other one has the permission to be like I think you need to go, yeah, like back or continue, you know, or switch therapists or something, because this is it's not a safe space for us. A man, you know, parenthood is hard as it is. You know, try to make it as easy for yourself as possible. Do, which I'm here tod yeah, you know, because it'll it makes a world of difference. I mean us as a LGBTQ or rainbow family. I don't really put a label on what we are, except for we're just family. Actually, I do say that we're new traditional families. I feel like we are starting our own traditions and then carrying on like the ones that we really really love and hold dear from our families, because we're both really family oriented people. So to us, like just the nucleus and what we've created, the three of us like that. That means a lot to us. So I never really felt like the world would see us other than just a family. But for me, race actually comes into play, because people will forever look at hearty and ask what do you mixed with and the questions and I know what that feels like me too, and that was really tough growing up. So happening? Yeah, like you know, he's got this like platinum blond hair, almost, at least he did for a minute, but now it's like this yellowish and is super curly. But, like you know, it's little golden but it's still very much blond. Yeah, it's it's really interesting. So I think I get protected over just the race component and his ethnicity. When people encounter Brandy and Lawrence, their initial perception is that they're a heterosexual couple with a...

...baby like six, we saw your husband and like they must look at us and be like they relayed all like each other. They're not affectionate at all. Or they're like how does he not know that she's wasn't not know that he's a gay man? You know? I mean, yeah, it's like that. Typically, Brandy and Lawrence don't correct people who assume they're dating, but in some situations or settings they feel it's important to clarify their relationship, like at Hartley School, and so far these parents have been met with nothing but acceptance for their family at his school awesome, amazing. The money amazing. I'm going to say where he goes. They but they even do our projects to like now acknowledge our partners. But even with the open arms and encouragement they feel around them, they can still be reminded of their differences, like when Laurence visits his family in St Louis. It serves as a reminder that few places are as progressive and accepting as Los Angeles. You forget that you live in one of the biggest gay Mechas, if you will, where you can be free. I mean Ellie Pride. Hello. We have one of the world's largest pride celebrations, you know, and countries from around the world actually send a lot of their like lgbtq leaders to the Gay Lesbian Center here in Los Angeles just that way they can learn how do we do it here. So there's a lot of inputs that comes out of the city and we as gay people have to be mindful of that that it's not like that outside of these you know, outside of these city limits, for a lot of people, even in our own if you go enter into like central California, it gets a little you know, it's a little rid because little conservative. So I do keep that in mind, but I don't want our son not saying that I want to shield him from reality, but I don't want that to ever be something that like hinders his own development and growth as a person. The last six years have been a series of trials and tribulations for Brandy and Lawrence. Their incredible story seems like something you'd only see on TV or, in this case, on facebook. The duo was documented in a series showcasing their pregnancy experience for facebook watch, produced by friend Star Courtney Cox. That took us a completely different level because we actually recorded all of that material. So all the concept that you see on those episodes came from US recording ourselves, like being completely transparent pregnancy and like, if we didn't feel like recording something, then we didn't do it. But we made the conscious, ever, to ask each other, like is this something that you want to share? Should we get the cameras you know? So every time we had a rack and Hicks scare, anything like that, all of that was documented because we wanted it to be like not to scare anybody, but to be like stuff like this happens, but you still get through it. But then, like, when we look back on it, it's also super awesome, I think, for Hartley to be able to understand, like this is how this all came to be. If you ever had a question, do just go turn on the TV real quick. And I hate to say it like that, but at least he has that to kind of always explain this dynamic, because we get a lot of questions, how does this work? And I think, and I think just like for me, it was more like what are, what is? What are these people going to say when Hartley, you know, when they're like that, when they find out that Hartley's parents are gay, like what are you teaching your child? And it's also like we're educational and a perpet in a sense, because you can literally go and see how it works. You have no excuses to not understand. So if Hartley were to listen to this interview, because you know, once you put it on the Internet it is out there forever. If Hartley were to listen to this interview in ten years, and I ask both of you this, what is something that you hope he learns or appreciates most about his progressive family, because there's lots of progressive family, specifically in coastal cities, like you said, Los Angeles and New York, San Francisco, where you...

...have to gay dads or two gay moms, but rarely where you have a gay dad and a gay mom. Right it's a little more unique. So, if there was something that you hope that he takes from his life experience, what would that mean? That his family is normal at the end of the Damn Bay. He's got two parents who love the shit out of him and would go to the end of the Earth for him and will protect him like none other. And that's when any other good parent would do. Were Barlos of wooing the hell they sleep with. So I hope that he feels that this is normal and I hope that he can also experience the world looking at this as if it's normal. Yeah, that he's just loved, that he was loved and that because of that, because we kept that, have that be this like staple of our family, you know, on top like love and communication, those two things love. With love and communication you can accomplish anything. But that we taught him. Not only did we teach him everything that we know, we taught him everything we didn't know that we made that conscious effort to be better people and and teach him everything that we didn't know so that he can be better than us. Yeah, and continue that progression, you know, through whatever family he decides to have. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like to show leave us a rating and review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you listen to podcast. Then follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride and tune in weekly for new episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere. At Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me, the by chambers, Maggie Bowls, Ryan Tillotson, Caitlin mcdaniel and Brandon Marlow, edited by Sylvana, I'll Calla, and Daniel Ferreira. Sound mixing by Silvana. I'll Calla, would you selm? I know so beat. She's talking to the baby. We will be right there, baby, all right, give me five minutes. Okay, interview. I'm don't right. Right, right. He's like there's a bird outside.

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