Friday, October 2, 2009

"Its Not What You Call Me...."

"But What I Answer to".

This is a quote From Whoopie Goldberg in her autobiography. the quote itself is attributed to being an African proverb. For me...It sums up my feelings on being out to the world and having the strength to be who I am without apologies. Its sentiment touches on the topic of this weeks episode of "Ask A Gay Family Episode 6 "What If"...

The questions Asked where essentially this:

1) How do we handle situations in which the kids come across Examples of Homophobia like, "That's so gay"? Also, Do we talk frankly with our kids about being gay and what that means in terms of accepting others different from you?

2) What would we do if the kids came out to us? (Oh Elizabeth! Its the big one!)

Both of these questions have a common theme...What does it mean, from our point of view, to be gay and how do we translate our understanding of that to our children. I don't want to retell the content of the video here, so I will attempt to address the larger theme.

Human beings can handle being gay in so many different ways its astounding. Some people know from a VERY young age they are gay. I'm always amazed at that. I was still too interested in toys and cartoons to fathom my sexual identity then. Some of us realize we are gay but chose to fight it. That's a terrible battle that takes it toll on the person and on any family they create. Coming out AFTER you are married and have kids is a hard road not only for the gay person...but for their spouse and children as well. Some people chose to "pray the gay away" in various reparative therapy camps...don't even get me started on these. Some people marry and then have same sex encounters on the "down low". Some people avoid it by refusing to label themselves at all. And Still others chose to face up to it and attempt to build lives as "out" gay men and women.

My point here is not to place a judgment on anyone opting for a particular strategy but to point out the all the ways we accept and deal with a single realization..."I'm Gay"

For me the issue is one of who's opinion I really care about. When I was just coming out I had to deal with myself first...when I could look myself in the mirror and know that I was no different for being gay, then I could start considering others. The next hardest conversations I had were with my family and friends. When that was done I felt such a relief. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. After telling those in whom I was the most emotionally invested...I could care less what everyone else thought of me. I had come to accept myself. I had taken what I felt was a crucial step of honesty in coming out to my loved ones. No ones else's opinions weighed in on my internal dialogue after that.

Jays experiences are a little different from mine. Jay has not had alot of positive associations with his family. That doesn't mean that it was any easier for him though. Family is still family no matter how close they may be. After his father disowning him, His suicide attempt, and his experiences in the army...I think Jay has come by his acceptance the hard way. But once earned, it can never be let go again.

Bringing it back to the point of the video..These experiences of coming out, dealing with yourself, and building a life form the foundation for what you can someday give to your children in terms of guidance and acceptance. They will never be a perfect pool of experiences to draw from...but its what you make of them that counts.

Daniel and Selena are very different people and as they get older they show that more and more. Daniel being the Leo that he is...will usually be content to follow the pride. I have no doubt that he has run into odd comments already from some of the more giggly girls in his class. But he may chose to not let it bother him so he can have positive experiences with his friends. He also understands that people can be teased or looked down on for a host of reasons and that most of them have to do more with the teaser than the teasee. I have no doubt though, that one day that Lion will roar. I will do my best to help him do it in a positive way. For now though..I'm content with his tiny "mews".

Selena being Aquarius loves a good argument. One fine first grade day some kid will make a crack about having two dads and instantly wish he hadn't as Selena gets out her briefcase case and tries him in first grade court. Selena already shows an ability to use peoples words against them and an aptitude for the "cyclical argument". Oh, the joys of things to come...*sigh*

The astrology angle is told mainly in jest but there is a good point in there. We as parents need to give our kids love, guidance, honest information, and support to use it. But after that they have there own tools to bring to the table.

Now..As for coming out...That's a little different. Its one thing when your parents are gay, its quite another when you are. If Daniel and/or Selena come to that realization they will have one thing that most of us did not. A family that will accept them without judgment. I'm not saying that Jay and I may not grieve a bit. We have our own dreams and hopes for their lives too, as any parent does. But they will never have to worry about the possibility of losing our love because of it. They will never have to fear violence from us or being kicked out into the streets or disowned. They will not have to hide their lives or loves from us in fear of our reactions.

I do believe though, that they will still have to go through all the same steps of self acceptance and coming out that we all have to take. It just comes with the territory. Its part of earning the right to look others in the eye and speak with honesty about your life. I cant spare them that. But I can give them the benefits of my journey no matter what orientation they are. Maybe in accepting themselves gay or straight, they will become more comfortable in having two dads. But no matter what, I will be there to guide them on the path and show them where the rocks are.


  1. "I'm not saying that Jay and I may not grieve a bit. We have our own dreams and hopes for their lives too, as any parent does." I enjoy Gay Family Values (the videos and the blog), but why is the word grieve being used here? You, a gay couple writing to inspire others, would consider your child coming out as a sad occasion? I'm not sure I follow that conclusion.

  2. Jay and Bryan kida explained in the vide.
    They say, and I compleatly undersatd, they want that his kids life is just.. easier, life for a homosexual person is hard even for someone whose parents are awesome and also gay. Is not the family is everybody else that is/could be the problem.
    And that is what scares Jay and Bryan, the knowin that if they are gay/lesbian they could have a difficult road ahead.

    That´s what I got from it. I compleatly understand. My family is more concern for me and my feelings that the fact that i´m gay they love me and they don´t want me to get hurt, insulted or worse. Is every parent nightmare. That´s why they are scare, but every parent is.

    What if they choose a not profitable career( I´ve heard this from family friends and i gave them a speech detaling that they are so many studying profitable careers that now they are too fucking many to get an actual job) Hippies, Punks, Anarquist, Whatever. There is always something that could go wrong.

    As regards the first question. And what you said about Daniel. This is what i think of the kid. I think he has all the chances to loose in the jungle that is high school. But My heart knows, that with you guys, what you are doing right know. Defending what is right. He will know better than follow the pride. He will make his own pride, and he WILL show them who is the boss. I mean c´mon i see the kid on camera and he is SO confortable, so talkative, so cool about everything. I hope.. I´m sure he will know when to roar. And I expect to be a cool scary roar.

  3. @ScottieC: he said in the blog: the parents have their own dreams for the child, even though the parents might not expressed it explicitly. This happens to every family, gay or straight. A parent who loves music might dream their child becoming a singer, or dancer. A parent who loves sport might dream the child becoming a great athlete, winning many Olympic medals like Michael Phelps. A parent who engages in politics will dream theri child to be a lawyer, congressman, senator or even the next president! Being said that, it doesn't mean that if the child doesn't become like the dreams, the parents will disown them or kick them out of the house. Those are just dreams.

    Here, Bryan (do you spell it with a 'y' or an 'i'? I forgot :D ) is sad just because he loves his children. He doesn't want them to be bullied at school, be discriminated against at work in the future, just because of their sexual orientation. He doesn't want them to go through what might be an identity crisis for majority of gay in his generation... I think it's a hard process for some individual even with the support of the family.

    @Bryan: I love your videos. I just found out about your channel recently, and I went back and watched all the other videos too. :D It gives me some hope for what the future might be and gets me through the dreading days in school. I still have many personal issues needed to solve before that can happen. It's like... a dream, that one day I can express myself as who I am, be with a person I love who also love me, have a safe place to call home, and have some lovely children. I still have a long way to go. But a person can dream, right? :)

  4. Dreams do have a funny way of coming true sometimes... ;)

    Scottie C....The previous posters pretty much hit the nail on the head about my use of the term "grieve". If My kids did grow up to be gay than a part of me will celebrate that I will have that in common with them. But another part will be concerned and apprehensive for them, knowing what kind of life challenges await them. Hopefully the world they inherit wont have as many of those challenges. And having gay parents SHOULD mean that they wouldn't have to live a secret life like I did for a while. But, kids at a certain age stop sharing things with there parents anyway, so that might be a pipedream on my part.

  5. I totally agree with you. As parents you want to make it easier for you children to go down the path of life. Being gay in our society is definitely a "road bump" in that path. It is a bump that is getting less severe but it still is there.
    I still remember when I first came out to my mother she said..."DON'T TELL ANYONE AT WORK!!" She didn't want people making fun of me or talking negatively about her son...
    Hopefully by the time Daniel and Selena are teenagers this issue will be a "non-issue."

  6. I've watched the videos and I've heard everyone's comments, but I'm still not sure I quite grasp what everyone is saying. Sure, every parent wants a good or easy life for his or her child. I get that. What I don't get is why being gay would make the child's life easier/more difficult or better/worse. Being gay has never negatively effected my life! My hope would be that the same would apply to future generations. What's wrong with just wanting a child to be happy?

  7. Then scottie C you must be an extraordinarilly blessed person. This is not sarcasm. I am very glad for you and take that as a positive sign for the world becoming a better place one human being at a time. You prove Mr.Stones point about that speedbump being less severe.

    Not all of us have had that experience. Some of us have had quite bad ones..take Jays for example...go watch his coming out video or his suicide video. His story is not an uncommon one. Its an experience I wouldn't wish on my children.

  8. Bryan.

    I am, indeed, very blessed, as are many gay children nowadays. For that I am thankful, as I know there are far too many kids that are not as blessed as I. That being said, I've known many straight people that have fought their own battles based on judgement from all walks of life. "Gay or Straight?" is a major question, but it isn't the only one.

    I know you didn't mean offense when voicing your concerns over your children's eventual sexuality. Please take no disrespect from my comments. It's merely me reacting, in an age of so much acceptance, to those who still believe everything is as tough as it used to be. In a roundabout way, I think I was simply trying to say "it's not that bad anymore" or "relax" or something to that effect. Looking back, I think my intended message may have been lost in translation.

    I hope your children are healthy and happy no matter what decisions they make in life. With you and Jay as parents, I'm sure that will be the case. Once again, thanks for GayFamilyValues. You guys are doing great.

  9. Hey Scottie,
    pardon the typos...its late and its been a long day. My brain feels like mush and I can barely put a sentence together. I needed to say though that no offense is taken. sometimes test comments come off harsher then they were meant.

    You really are lucky though...even in your generation. I cant tell you how many emails I get from people 16-20 that cant talk to anyone about being gay. I just got one from a teenager who's family wont even say the word gay and if they do its always spoken in anger and with a implied threath of rejection. We may have taken a few steps forward by we still have farther still to go.