Someone asked me recently, “What makes you so different from someone who was raised by gay parents?” This made me think. Is my role in the gay rights movement in some way different that I had not previously considered? Is it possible that I may not be heard in the way that I have always thought I have been heard?
Am I that different?
In my situation, it seems like my opinions about gay families are to be taken with a grain of salt, because in my case my parents weren’t all gay. So when I speak about and in support of gay families, there seems to be a small voice as my advocate saying, “Well you weren’t really raised by gay parents, so you don’t really count.”
Most children who consider themselves to have been raised in gay families have two parents of the same sex. As I have described in previous blog posts, I have four parents, three of which are women and one of which is a man.
My dad is the apparent grain of salt that makes my experiences so much different from someone who was raised solely by two women or two men.
I have a problem with this, if you couldn’t already tell.
Yes, I was raised in part by a heterosexual couple. However this does not mean that I can not speak for those raised by homosexual couples just because of my partly heterosexual parentage.
The presence of my father did not change the sexual orientation of my mother and her partner.
The presence of my father did not change the fact that my family was different and hard to explain to my peers, my teachers, and the rest of my world.
The presence of my father did not keep my mother from taking me to countless gay pride festivals, parades, and other such events.
The presence of my father did not contradict the presence of my lesbian mother.
To say that I can’t speak for gay families because I wasn’t raised by one is executing the very same prejudice that gay rights activists are fighting against every day. It is the very same as telling a child that she is only influenced by her heterosexual parents, while that child has a father who works 60 hours a week and is never home and whom she doesn’t even consider a parent.
Telling her that she can’t advocate for single parents because she wasn’t raised by one or that my support of gay families is weakened by the presence of my father is the same prejudice as telling the citizens of our country that they cannot marry the person they love because of their sex.
I am no different than someone raised by two women or two men. I was raised by a heterosexual couple but I was also raised by two women. I am the person I am today because of them and I will speak for them and I will be heard.