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.  

yes, I am supposed to be in the ladies restroom

I’m in Orlando right now at a Talent Management conference put on by the Society for Human Resource Management. There are about 1500 people, give or take, people that work in or near the human resources areas of their companies.

A thing in HR is diversity. I mean, it’s important. There are studies and articles and full on natural conferences devoted to the issue. Diversity is an amazing thing and the only thing that it can do is good. REALLY GOOD. 
The bummer is that HR professionals, as a whole from my experience, aren’t all that excited about it. There are always diversity specialists and folks that want to focus on inclusion. Those people are my favorites. It’s just not as prevalent as it should be right now. 

That’s why I’m annoyed right now. 

Here’s a picture of me and my grandma from a few years ago. Let’s first look at my grandma. She’s the most adorable thing in the world and the best ever. Not really the point of this post, but I just like everyone to know my grandma. 

  

Now let’s look at me. Short hair. Usually spikey. No makeup. Maybe some chapstick. Argyle. Sweater in neutral colors from Kohl’s or maybe Target. Jeans. Probably sneakers or other sensible shoes.

Side story: when I was younger, one of my grandmas once told me the boys were going to like my chest. (Don’t bother saying anything about how wrong that was because I will kick you.) Fast forward many years and while the boy thing didn’t pan out, OTHER THINGS CONTINUED GROWING. Point being: when you see me from the front or the side, I have things that females have. I have enough to share, if anyone wants to negotiate this. 

Back to this HR conference where HR people should have some elevated knowledge and awareness of those around them that may be diverse. Now picture me again right now: button up shirt, argyle vest, gray pants from the ladies department at Kohl’s and, as always, sensible shoes.

In the 1.5 days I’ve been at this conference, I’ve been called sir three times and had two people ask me if I’m the right restroom. I’m not counting the lady that I held the door for and watched her look at the sign on the door and looked back at me twice. 

Where are these people from? Have they never seen queer women? (Side note: if I’m stereotyping by physical appearance, I’m the only one that’s visably a lesbian.) Do they not have cable where they’ve watched one episode of the Ellen DeGeneres show? 

Two points to this post. 

  1. Do better, HR folks particularly at this conference, in recognizing diversity of all kind. I know it’s scary but we’re out there and you need to accept that and be nice about it. You’re different than me, but I open the door, pick up things you drop and say “please” and “thank you” to you.
  2. Tell me again why we don’t need gender neutral restrooms. I was born a female and still identify as one and yet I’m questioned about going into the right room to pee. 

happy 2nd anniversary to my wife

I feel like there’s gotta be mandatory things you need to look for in the person you eventually marry. Those things probably aren’t the things that you think about when you’re in seventh grade and writing your first name and the last names of your only two boyfriends ever and possibly Kirk Cameron and Jonathan Knight. (My choices in the latter of those two were questionable at best. I see this now.)

But then you’re at a bar one night with a pal, talking about how firm your butt is (like pals do, of course) and someone you’ve kind of been eyeing from across the way walks up to you. The first thing out of her mouth is “Aren’t you Wendy from the Internet?” and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Yep. Feel my butt. It’s really firm.”

The next thing you know, your pal has left the bar and you’re out on the smoking patio with a handful of drag queens talking to this person while her date for the evening is just standing there not really realizing what’s happening. This run-in at the bar turns into a handful of visits to dog parks, some dinner dates, and a few evenings of watching American Gladiators in my Uptown Minneapolis apartment. 

Then there’s a 10 year old that’s thrown in the mix, which involves a need for a bigger place to live and a signed lease together. That new place begins to get too small and too accommodating to bats in the basement and squirrels in the wall, so you move to a house in North Minneapolis where you decide to adopt a kitten. And then you move into another house in the same neighborhood and adopt a puppy. 

Five months after that, you get married. Six months after your wedding, you and this person from the bar are expecting a baby. And then a month before your 2nd wedding anniversary, you have an offer accepted on a house and you move your college kid to school a couple of weeks after that. 

If you don’t have the right person through all of that, it’s seriously going to suck. When you have the right person, it’s a pretty sweet deal. When you have the right person, the terrible things don’t seem so terrible and the good things seem even better. The right person loves you when you’re too exhausted to function, when you’re jacked up to level 11, when you don’t finish things that you start and when you just won’t stop talking about work the time. The right person says “I’ll support you 100%” and you don’t doubt they mean it. 

The right person teaches you and learns from you. They laugh with you and remind you where the line is between funny and absolutely not appropriate. They understand your loves and your passions and your whole slew of things that make your blood pressure shoot through the roof. When you average a major life change a year, you want to look at the person on the couch with you and be able to exhale because you know that whatever it is will work itself out as long you tackle it together. 

You want to wrap up with work and be able to sink into home when you get there. That right person feels like home every second of every day. It’s this unequivocal, unparalleled feeling that you come home to because you feel safe and you feel so much love that it makes your head explode if you really try to think too much about it. 

So I got all that. It’s pretty nice. I won’t be trading it for anything anytime soon. I love ya, wife of mine. We got a good thing, you and me. We’re a heckuva US. Happy anniversary. 

  
(The traditional 2nd year gift is cotton. I’m assuming there will be cotton in the curtains being left in our new house that we close on in three days, right?)