celebrating the day previously known as blogging for #LGBTQ families


There used to be this big deal on June 1st that was touted as Blogging for LGBT Families day or something like that. GLAAD would talk about it, the Family Equality Council provided a directory for it and it was kind of a big deal. But the last time I can find anything about it being actually “promoted” was 2014. I don’t know what happened, but I’m doing it today. (Quick edit because I’m not good at Googling: there is a Blogging for LGBT Families Day out there this year. Hooray!!)
I read a lot in different Facebook groups about other LGBT families encountering different bouts of discrimination or harassment, or even being questioned as if they’re really even a family. That really sucks. I also hear about non-biological parents not knowing how to respond when someone says their kid(s) look like them. I have other opinions on that. Point is, no matter what laws are passed or how many rainbow flags wind up in the air during the month of June, we can’t BE like other families we’re not acknowledged AS families. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. 

We’re pretty fortunate so far when it comes to being treated like a family. My name is on Ozzy’s birth certificate and it has been from the moment we filled it out. We live in a state that’s supportive of gay rights, so even if the current national administration decides to turn LGBT rights into their next distraction and turns it all over to the individual states, we’ll probably be “safe” with our current state leaders. I’m at least telling myself that so I can sleep at night. 
The political climate for the LGBT community is terrible. It’s uncomfortable and it’s unpredictable. Those things don’t make it quite as easy for an LGBT family because those are things that can lead to taking away the same familial conveniences that non-LGBT families don’t have to worry about on a regular basis. These things are forcing people like me to file legal paperwork to the courts to complete a second parent adoption for my son despite my name being listed on his birth certificate so we can keep our family intact. Does that seem right?

I’m proud of who I am and the path I took to get to all that I am today. I’m proud that my path took me to my wife and took us both to our son. And I’m proud of our family. My pride isn’t something that anyone will ever be able to take away from me. Try not to forget that.  

this year’s edition of national coming out day

On National Coming Out Day in 2007, I got fired from a job at a company for totally sucking at selling overpriced educational software to schools that barely had enough money to pay their teachers. Yes, it sucked to get fired. But you know what else? It opened the most amazing doors for me in being able to be who I am, both professionally and personally. Six months of unemployment was totally worth that.

On National Coming Out Day in 2014, I’m spending the day in a town where I lived for 23 years and was afraid to even think about coming out of anything. Except now, I’m proudly wearing a t-shirt that promotes equality in marriage in Missouri with my legal wife who’s 37 weeks pregnant. That’s a normal day-in-the-life for me.

Some of those seven years in between were pretty sketchy, I’m not going to lie. The ones before that were even worse. For people I’ve met over the past seven or eight years, they know the Wendy that’s confident in who she is and not afraid of much. The Wendy prior to that put on a pretty good front, but it wasn’t until I was truly free to be me that I just felt wholly complete and just genuinely good about myself.

It wasn’t until 2007 until I was finally like, really? Nobody was holding me in the closet. In fact, I never really came out of the closet with some formal party. That wasn’t me. I just lived a life that was authentically mine and didn’t feel like it was necessary to explain it. I was fortunate enough to surround myself with people that loved and supported me for who I am, not what I am (other than awesome). There was nothing special I had to do aside from just being myself. Those are the people you need in your life, you know?

I mean, I don’t know if that was the right thing to do for everyone else in my life, but it was exactly what worked for me. I never told my parents I was gay (someone did that for me – NEATO), although I suspect they knew. I only wrote a coming out letter to my grandparents, because it felt like the right thing to do. I sent my brother an email after he’d met  Amelia a few times saying, “hey, you know Amelia and I aren’t just friends, right?” and he was like, “yeah” and finished the rest of the email like I was a dummy for even assuming he thought otherwise.

My counsel to you, anyone at all reading this, is to just be yourself. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. It took me many years to be able to do it; it was no cakewalk. There are people out there who will love and respect and support you as you are. Give the people in your life some credit. Not everyone’s going to be high-fiving you about who you are all the time, but that’s going to happen anyway. Gay, straight, Yankees fan, Twilight Groupie, Justin Bieber hater, bearded hipster who will know everything about how to trim beard – someone somewhere isn’t going to agree with who you are and that’s okay. There’s going to be plenty other that do and you gotta come out of that closet and find ’em.

If you need somewhere to start, I’m right here. Let’s celebrate YOU together.

 

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all the pride in the world

It’s PRIDE weekend here in Minneapolis. And personally, there’s so much in my life that fills me with pride.

I’m so proud of my family.

myfamilypride

I have a 17 year old that’s proud of his unique family. Two moms and a dad are normal to him. All families are normal to him. I’m so proud of him for not being ashamed of his family and being proud of who he is. He’s been in a situation before where a male friend of his liked him more than just a friendly liking. This kid didn’t run for the hills or make fun of his friend; he just explained that he didn’t like him that way and that was that. I’m proud that he’s a strong young man who sees diversity as normal.

I have a wife that’s so proud of our family and I’m so proud of her. I’m proud of all the work she does to advocate for female and LGBT rights in so many different capacities. I’m so thankful that she’s sacrificed so much to cook this future baby of ours and rarely miss a beat in everything else she does. I’m proud of her for wanting to raise our little man in a way where he can be whoever it is he wants and I’m proud of how incredible of a job she’s done in raising the 17 year old as a single mom for so long.

I’m proud of our families for accepting who we are and how we love. I’m proud of their support not only for us, but for our children.

I’m proud of my friends for never questioning who I am or the decisions I make about who I love. Even when I didn’t know what on Earth I was thinking sometimes. And I’m also proud of my friends that are opening up their minds to accept gay and lesbian families as ones equal to their own.

I’m proud of where I work and the support they want to give the LGBTQ community in the Twin Cities by participating in the Pride festival this weekend.

I’m proud of my city and my state for recognizing that same sex couples are exactly the same as any other kind of couple.

I’m proud to be part of the LGBTQ community.