First off, thanks so much to Mombian for this annual tradition. I believe it’s so important in the name of visibility, dialogue, voice, and community.
I’ve been thinking a lot about visibility lately. Recently, my wife experienced an intriguing event in which she talked about her queer identity with a number of folks who she thought knew quite well that she’s queer. In fact, they didn’t. While none of the details are important, this event has caused me to think a lot about visibility, comfort, coming out (again and again and again) and community. We are lucky enough to live in a community where I don’t worry about our family’s safety. Where I am pretty certain my kids won’t get teased for having two moms. Where I can walk hand-in-hand with my wife, and people know we’re together.
Yet I’ve been thinking of the flip side of this comfort. Of the fact that because there’s much acceptance, we don’t necessarily come out, name ourselves as queer or as a queer family. And that there’s value in that overt action. I’m not saying it should be or must be our (or anyone else’s responsibility), but there’s something to be said for being overtly out, for naming our relationship, our family for what it is. So that people we talk with often, interact with on a daily basis, are not left wondering or are, dare I say, forced to confront our status as a queer family. Forced to think about and embrace our family.
It’s an intriguing balance, and I think I’m seeing, more and more, the importance of being in dialogue about identity. I know I work hard to be in dialogue about Q’s identity, and being more so in dialogue about our whole family’s identity, or my identity, will support him. I think my naive self thought we were, potentially, past that, at least in our cozy little neck of the woods. But I know now that we’re not, and that being out is as important as ever. I know it’s not for everyone, and that we’re lucky enough to be safe, protected, LEGALLY married, even. But for me, for our family, it’s something I’ll be working on in the coming days and months. And my hope is that this dialogue will stretch beyond our streets and help to increase visibility for more families like ours, to open a few more minds and hearts. Because open hearts is really what I hope is out there when my kids head out into the world….