Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coming Out of the Closet...About the Moms...Slowly

I've stated in previous posts that even though I'm out of the closet, I've left it up to the children to decide how they will address the issue of having two moms. Of course, I'm there every step of the way, but I allow them to come out with it as they feel comfortable. Maybe if they had been conceived or adopted under these circumstances, I would have approached it differently. However, my own coming out experience was later than most, and there was even a point I had to come out to them (which they were very young, but it still isn't the same as being born into the situation). My agreement to them was that I would not "make a scene" with it...I won't walk into the school displaying my affection for Kristin (which I wouldn't do even if she were a guy and I were straight). I told them I wouldn't announce it. However, I did point out that some external markers might give others clues...Kristin and I both "look gay." On top of that, we have new issues to deal with...when Kristin returns soon from overseas, any houseguests will catch on that we are a couple without announcing it. I mean, how long would it work for the kids to say their mom has sleepovers with the same friend? This doesn't even include all the lovey-dovey cards and pictures on display, that I'm not sure if any youthful guests have noticed. So, essentially, the deal was that they have no pressure to advertise it, but I wasn't going out of my way to conceal it, because that goes against my principles of being genuine.

This year, my daughter, Morghan began 6th grade...middle school...that age where peers start to become more of a factor. The worst thing a kid wants is to be embarrassed or in the spotlight for something controversial. My son began 4th grade, but his friends don't seem to ask questions. I think they are more interested in their skateboards, trick bikes, and "wrasslers."

As far as the kids' feelings on having a lesbian mom, they've accepted it from the start (from the time I used the analogy with the Barbie dolls and the superheroes). As for their feelings toward Kristin, they love her and refer to her as their other mom, without my prompting. She, in turn, has forced me to rescind on the notion that nobody can love the kids like I do. This feeling of family I have with them is more than what is apparent in our words and's an indescribable feeling of harmonious balance. This has NEVER come close anywhere else-not with ex-girlfriends, not even with their biological father. It's a sense that everything is perfect, even when it's not.

So, entering the school year (which started 3 weeks ago), I felt it was a major breakthrough when Morghan and Chandler both allowed me to list Kristin as the other parent on their school forms. No, it isn't the first time she's been listed, but last year, I listed her simply as a "family friend." Though it may seem trivial, I feel that given circumstances, this is a huge step. The kids did explain to me, however, that it was okay for the adults to know about it, but not the other kids. I reassured them it was fine.

The school year then began, and the kids are at a different school than before, and so far, it's been pleasant. We had moved to a part of the county that has seen an immense growth in population. Even though I'd prefer to live closer to the big city, I'm impressed with the diversity of this area. Many people, of different ethnicities, are like us...still relatively new to the area. Thus, we get much reprieve from the intolerant, right-wing thinking that we have dealt with as Southerners. And as far as the middle school goes, there was a strong presence of gays. Ranging from teachers, other parents, and even the bus driver...there are more gays than we've ever had in a school. Add to this, Morghan told me one day after school about her friend's sister in high school...she's a lesbian, Morghan told me, adding that"everyone thinks she's so cool!" I feel like this helps, too...for her to know of other gays she does NOT know through me.

So, life will continue to unfold one day at a time. The kids are doing incredibly well, and I feel fortunate.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Working together

As a married man with 2 children I was given the advice of an older gentleman in my church that as parents we should give a united front even if we didn't always agree. He said it showed that as adults we were capable of working together to "get the job done". Making decisions is never easy. As an out "somewhat single" gay man who is still parenting 2 kids with my x wife I remember those words whenever there is a disagreement with my X and I on how to do something or what to "approve or disapprove" for one of the kids.

As a member of the GLBT community I'd like to say that "community" rings loud and clear but sometimes I wonder. Community should mean that we are working together. I constantly am hearing and seeing that there is constant disagreement in the GLBT arena. Some of that is expected but sometimes its just about sucking it up and making a concession. Sometimes its about supporting something even if your ideas didn't get the full attention. It constantly amazes me that in all my years of working in the mainstream "world" with many different groups that there seemed to be a lot more give than "take".

Whether its parenting, working on a committee, or office politics I think its time we all should take a long hard look with out mouths closed and our ears open, decide if we are part of the solution or part of the problem and then be proactive and do something about it. I want to be a decent example for my children and I want to make some positive changes for the young GLBT community that will follow in my footsteps. Is anyone else interested in doing the same thing? I hope so.