These dads started a social media presence to give a glimpse into the life of gay parents—in this interview, they explain how they’re taking it to the next level.
by Melissa Howsam
“We are an all-American family who happens to be gay parents through surrogacy,” says Burton Buffaloe. Along with husband Dustin Smith, he’s become an Instagram darling in recent years, particularly as the two raise their twins Stone and Holland Buffaloe.
On June 1, in honor of Pride Month, the two launched a new YouTube channel: Dustin & Burton – Raising Buffaloes. The “family vlog” is intended as a resource for all, a platform to better engage with their audience and share their journey raising kids in the South as a gay couple.
“Our dad vlog captures our parenting and fatherhood journey,” says Buffaloe, “but you’ll find much more. We open up about our coming-out journey, relationship and marriage tips, and how to live life with a little more laughter. We use our voice to shed light and awareness to the LGBTQ+ community, gay rights equality, and opening eyes to others. Family has many definitions, and this is ours. We hope you subscribe and follow along on our journey of raising our little Buffaloes.”
We spoke to Buffaloe about how his brood went social—and, most importantly, the message of unity and community they hope to impart.
How did you get together?
Our backstory is one of the topics in our first video; subscribe and watch! Net: Dustin and I met 15 years ago at a house party I was hosting here in Raleigh. We became good friends and remained in the same friend circles for several years. About seven years ago things turned romantic, and now we are married with kids.
When did you start getting press? (or: and then came the press?)
We started posting family photos on our Instagram like any proud parent would. An outpouring of people began to follow us and message us in support and with questions. We started this narrative to be a positive example to our community. We wanted to be visible for anyone curious about what a same-sex family looks like, which, in turn, people see just how regular we are. Companies started reaching out to us excited to collaborate with us as influencers. We have been in a national holiday campaign for Old Navy, and written articles for Vogue, The New York Times, and many more.
Tell me why you decided to start a YouTube channel, and why now?
Instagram is fun, but it’s mostly photos. We felt there could be so much more storytelling on YouTube. With the number of emails we get about our fatherhood journey, relationship questions, parent tips and everything under the sun, we felt this could be an excellent resource for all.
How do you hope your channel will influence the community?
We hope to inspire all families to cherish the time they have with their young ones and encourage couples to have fun with each other. We would love for people to see that all families look different, and the essential foundation for any family dynamic is love. We also feel like bringing awareness that families like ours exist, helps others see just how regular we are. That awareness makes for a more inclusive community for our children to grow up in.
What’s next? Can you give us a sneak peek at what may be in store?
Dustin and I have lots of dreams. The one we are trying hard to make a reality is to buy my family farm and turn it into a wedding venue/event space here in Wake County. We dream of a place where people can come and create lasting memories. We would love nothing more than to open it up to the community daily to shop locally fresh farm goods we are growing, create an interactive space where youth can see animals and maybe even a small restaurant on the property. We are super-early in this process of dreaming, but as we start to carve into this dream, of course, we would be documenting this on our channel.