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Archive for the ‘queer’ Category

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….

Big Q and Baby W

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tiny clothes, tucked away

Today is “Blogging for LGBT Families Day.” Wonderfully and graciously hosted by Dana, over at mombian. In considering what I’d blog about, on this day to make our families more known, to bring the intricacies, complexities, and beauty of the queer community of families out into the light, I figured, of course, that I’d write about my own family.

And hence the announcement. Long overdue announcement. We’re having a baby. My wife is pregnant. VERY pregnant, in fact. Due in just about a month’s time.

This expecting a baby has been quite interesting (long-awaited, and so very cherished) in the domains related to this blog. You see, we’re expecting a girl. And it’s just been so interesting, from this side of things where I stand, to think about that, to hear folks’ reactions, and to think about bringing a young girl into our family.

And for us, a family where gender identity, and, in particular, clothing, is contested territory, it’s been quite the ride. Contrary to what one might expect, I’ve found myself utterly fine with pink (as you can see in the drawers above — yes, those are our drawers). Had Q been a girl, I would have asked for no pink — no boxing in, no stereotyping, etc. But what I’ve learned from this journey with him is that clothing, in the beginning, is really not much more than utilitarian. Of course, people will assume a baby’s sex based on the clothes she wears, but beyond that, the clothing is not programming her. In spite of what we thought were our best efforts (and they were, at the time — no regrets), Q wore very “boy” clothes for his first few years. Then he let us know that wasn’t “his style.” (Alas, today, SO much is not his style — the particularities of my child!). So this new babe, she’ll wear pink. And blue. And orange. And white. And many other colors. That’s what we’ve been given by amazingly generous friends as we reap the benefit of hand-me-downs. And I’ll admit that some of those “girl clothes” are deliciously cute.

Where I think I’ve come over these 7 years of being a queer family of three so far is to a point of cherishing my son for who he is and wanting our family to be known for who we are — for the love we share, the individuals we are, the things we do for fun, the jokes we find funny. All of that, for me, transcends labels and binaries and boundaries. And I’m thrilled to bring another person into this world who will get to be a part of all of that — in whatever way she chooses to express it. And for today, I’m thrilled to share this celebration of ourselves with so many in this blogging community.

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I’ve hesitated to post, because it’s been all over the interwebs, or at least folks conversing about gender identity, but why not put it here, too?

Johnny Weir.

Thank you, Johnny, for speaking out, knowing that other boys and girls out there, as you said, will want to and need to be themselves. And now they have you to look to as someone who has come before and done just that.

I honor Johnny’s courage, both in staying true to himself and not bowing under the pressure of hateful comments, but instead taking the high road, speaking with dignity, and seizing the opportunity to forge a path for others.

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I came out during college. Since then, I’ve made decisions on an almost daily basis about coming out in various situations. At this point, and in the community I live in, I rarely give it a second thought, but I do give it thought, even if that’s just a split second. What will that parent think when she finds out I’m queer? What will my students think? There’s always a question. I often don’t even care what the answer is, it’s just that I wonder.

With Q, I find myself asking more questions and considering things for longer. I think, in part, it’s because there’s a choice sometimes. Right now, Q’s in an art class. On the first day, when he was certainly wearing either purple or pink, I was sure to introduce him using male pronouns. At pick up this week, his teacher kept referring to him as “her.” I didn’t correct her. And I considered it, numerous times. Q’s still okay without the correcting, which for me is the bottom line. But I still have so many questions:

What will she think when it finally sinks in that Q is a boy?

Will she treat him differently or think differently about him?

What will she think about me? (I know, self-centered. But true.)

Usually I walk away from these situations knowing that I’ve made the right choice regarding coming out about Q’s gender, even if it was just the right choice for that moment in time. Yet I realize that it really is a coming out process each time. And that one really does have to come out over and over and over. And it’s never just simple. Or easy.

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