Craig Melvin is a constant presence across “Today” and his NBC network home. Most mornings are racing for Craig Melvin. The newsman may cover two hours of “Today” from 8 AM-10 AM EST, and that's not even half of his day. When he's not sitting alongside Al Roker, Sheinelle Jones, and Dylan Dreyer on the third hour of the “Today” block, Craig Melvin is generally deep in the political subject matter on MSNBC.

Between those full-time posts, Craig Melvin is a full-time, working father to a five-year-old son, Delano, and two-year-old daughter, Sybil, who goes by “Sibby,” with his wife, Lindsay Czarniak.

Melvin’s reflections on his own life are frequently featured on “Today” broadcasts, and being under the mentorship of veteran hosts and fathers like Al Roker led the 40-year-old father to create his “Dad’s Got This” feature segment recently.

Every father multitasks, though usually not even approaching the numbers of jobs performed by mothers. Craig Melvin's profiles spotlight fathers who cheer on their kids in big and small ways, but always through unconventional and unwavering support.

Earlier this month, Craig got into the act by securing microphone stands in place when he showcased Dance Dads. Fathers from city workers to police officers proved their love by doing everything from putting on makeup to sewing costumes and creating props for their daughters’ dance productions.

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In observance of PRIDE month, Craig Melvin opened his story of the Dragon Dads just blocks away from the Stonewall Inn, where a strong if small contingent left an indelible statement.

The perseverance and positive focus of the LGBTQ community have contributed immense progress in civil rights since 1969, but many in the faith community have failed to embrace that loving an LGBTQ child doesn't need to mean resigning personal faith.

Dragon Dads are not monsters all-- they are fierce and loving defenders of their children, and Craig Melvin’s June 27 “Today” profile let the parents proclaim unity and paternity, loud and proud.

Growing out of devotion

Jake Abhau and Drew Armstrong grew Dragon Dads from a Facebook group around six years ago, and there were only about six members at its start. Dave Jensen, the father to Cooper and Natalie, has been active in Dragon Dads for about three years.

“There was a loss, from my community and my life,” Jensen explained around the time that Natalie was ready to come out as gay.

Like Abhau and Armstrong, Jensen sought help on two fronts-- how to best parent his child on her personal journey and how to gain support through faith when the faith community of his upbringing declared those part of the LGBTQ community blatantly “wrong.”

Already, Dave and his wife had made the decision to become an open, “level-headed” and accepting as they could “humanly be” to their daughter’s personal path.

A front yard swing became a place of safety and freely sharing thoughts and questions. It was dubbed “the gay swing,” no pun intended

Before long, Cooper confided that he, too, was gay. The shelter and protection of two loving parents made all the difference.

“I don't know what I'm doing, at all,” Natalie remembers her dad saying to her, “but I love you, a whole, whole lot.” Tears come to Cooper's eyes just thinking about his father's unconditional decision, and how he proudly stands with his children at events like the PRIDE parade. “I just love him a lot,” affirms the son.

Emblems of protection

Dragon Dads has grown to over 2000 active members on social media, and their efforts have become amplified in preventing suicide and offering education. Jake Abhau declined the name “Papa Dragons” for the parental group, never wanting it to sound like “Papa Smurf.” Like the emblem design of the Dragon Dads logo on the shirts worn by dads walking the parade, the Dragon here is not a dreaded monster, but a sheltering protector, ready to support and stand guard within its swirled wings. A significant number of straight dads support the group, too.

The first meeting of Dragon Dads brought five or six committed fathers together. Today, these fathers have formed a fortress of support, faith, education, and strength for the future with their children. Reflecting on the changes in the 50 years since Stonewall, the years to come can only be brighter and braver.

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