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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Thanks to mombian for once again hosting this lovely celebration of our families.

This seemed like the perfect time to write about the amazingly expansive notion of family that often exists within queer communities. We see it in relation to Q, when he talks about our “love family” — those folks we include as family, even if they don’t have a formal/formalized relationship to us. He so easily falls in love with adults, particularly those who are similar to him, gender non-conforming in some way. And we’re happy to add these folks to our love family.

Perhaps luckiest of all is that for the past year or so, a little part of our love family has been under the same roof as us. Dear friends moved into the other apartment in the little two-family house that we rent in, and the result has been a raucous, joy-filled time. We call it, at various times, the unintentional lesbian commune, the queer commune…whatever we call it, there are four moms and three kids around, which is a great ratio. 

Living so close to other queer folks, to folks who know and understand Q and all of his intricacies….well, it’s amazing. There’s a sense of holding my breath that I get, sometimes, in public. Will someone understand Q? Will they judge? Are they judging and I don’t even know it? Home is meant to be a safe place. A place where we are understood, in the deepest way possible. This little community that we have here, part of our love family, provides just that. And the ability to breathe, to breathe deeply, when we are at home — to be known? That is priceless.

ImageQ, after MC’ing the Pride event at his school

 

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To celebrate Blogging for LGBT Families this year, I’m blogging with/about gratitude.

This occasion crept up on me, as I’m not quite ready for June. And, it reminded me about how neglected this blog is. It’s been complicated, thinking about what to share here, what to write, what to keep private. As Q gets older, he continues to navigate the world in complicated ways. And, at the same time, he is so purely himself — a true stereotype breaker. The identity he grabbed onto with such zeal at 4, and the one that still sticks with him today, at 9.

For a kiddo like him, it can be hard to be in the world. Heck, it’s not always easy to be in the world as a queer family (connecting back here, to the purpose of this post). So finding places where it is easy to be? Well…it fills me with gratitude. We are so lucky to live in a community among many other queer families. To have allies around us.

As I thought about this post, though, I thought about how lucky Q is for the school he attends. I’ve been in a bit of a muddle about Q and school lately for a number of reasons. But at the end of the day, my kiddo is known there. He is loved for who he is. And he can shine.

Beyond that, our family is known, loved, and not alone. And that is rare. All too rare. For queer families, queer kids, gender non-conforming kids. Every year, Q takes the stage as co-MC at his school in order to lead the annual LGBT pride celebration assembly. I see his chest swell with pride. He plans his outfit with care (this year it included a rainbow ribbon braided into his hair), and he proclaims it, every year “one of the best days of my life.”

How can I not be grateful for that? As an educator, I think that schools need to take the best in every child and bring that out. Celebrate it. And for Q, that’s what happens at that assembly. He beams with pride. And in those moments, I can feel nothing but gratitude.

The MC in action

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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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A new political page

I added a new page (up top there — a tab at the top of the page) about why I occasional sprinkle political thoughts on a blog that is often more local and personal. Have a look. Let me know what you think.

And thanks for reading!

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In no particular order:

  1. Boys, if left to their own devices, will inevitably make weapons and “play” with them.
  2. Hannah Montana is ONLY for girls.
  3. Performing shows is a girl-only pursuit.
  4. Boys can only play with old dolls, not new dolls.
  5. Boys are VERY likely to break toys, even if they are age-appropriate.
  6. Black is for boys.
  7. “Kids mostly get meaner as they get older.” A direct Q quote, and it bore out, unfortunately.
  8. Boys in velvet pants get NO compliments.
  9. Boys are not beautiful, only handsome.
  10. Leaving our dear little bubble is hard. Very hard.

(As you hopefully guessed, these are not such beloved or welcome lessons. But most rolled off the back, or perhaps even evaded immediate response. I’m sure the ramifications will surface soon.)

What did you and your loved ones learn this holiday season?

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