It's June, and everyone is celebrating Pride month and, of course, Father's Day. We wanted you to get to know one of our favorite humans, Vishad Deeplaul. He and his beautiful family have been an inspiration to us for years since we met him in 2019 and worked with him to develop masks for the United Way. We are thrilled for the opportunity to showcase him this week as an inspiring dad, husband, community leader, and all-around incredible human being!
Vishad and Irshad were blessed to be born to very supportive parents in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. They grew up in a country that punished homosexuality to extremes and threw individuals in prison. In 2003, Nelson Mandela ushered change, and those archaic laws banning homosexuality were no more.
After dating for years in South Africa, Vishad and Irshad married in 2010, just a few years after marriage was made legal and surrogate parents gained full legal protection.
Soon after Vishad and Irshad were married, they were ready to start a family through surrogacy. The couple and their surrogate tried for a year and a half and dealt with many heartaches and challenges. They were finally blessed with their now 10-year-son Zrav, born November 11, 2011, in South Africa.
Exhilarated as they waited for their sweet son to be born, Irshad began a lengthy battle to earn the rights for parental leave equal to those given to mothers. Because he was not a woman, he was denied the right to stay home with his newborn baby. The first legal battle continued for months, and the government finally relented and gave him two months of adoption leave.
Any parent knows that two months is not nearly enough time to spend with your newborn baby. It just wasn't good enough, and they weren't having any of it. They were about to embark on a parenting journey with a newborn, and he was being forced back to work with only two months to bond.
They went back to court to fight the good fight for all same-sex fathers everywhere. The lengthy legal battle finally ended when the courts decided in 2015 that the government violated Irshad's rights and paid him the two months he missed with his newborn. Their case sparked transformations in South Africa's labor laws that brought about change in 2019 for a guaranteed 10 weeks of leave for same-sex fathers who have a baby through a surrogate.
Wanting the best for their son, on June 25, 2017, Vishad, Irshad, and Zrav immigrated to British Columbia, Canada, to provide a safer, more stable life for themselves and their son. Both of these incredible fathers worked hard to find success in their careers and embed themselves within the community where they live, play, work, and love. They celebrate their fifth anniversary of living in Coquitlam, BC.
These two determined and loving fathers embody the ideals of what great role models a father can be. Their son is lucky to have them support him as he thrives and grows in a supportive and loving community.