Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Does Having A Gayby Make You An Instant Poster Child?

I was reading this blog entry by N over at Lesbian Family and it got me thinking.

I've done my fair share of glbt activism -- mainly for marriage equality here in the Ocean State.  I've attended rallies and brainstorming session and the like.  However, in my day-to-day life, I don't really talk much about being gay.  I mean, I don't go out of my way to mention or not mention it either way.  If people make assumptions, I just go with it.  When the women in the office talk about their boyfriends and such (and sometimes to a level where I **really** wish they would stop sharing so openly with each other!), I just say nothing.  I don't talk about women I've dated.  I certainly would never talk about my sex life the way that these women do.  (Even in my "previously straight" life, I never would have!) Occasionally, I'll mention that I was married previously.  Generally, I just steer clear of these kinds of conversations.

I always find it a little bit startling when people ask, "Do you have a boyfriend?".  I find it to be forward.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am relatively private about my personal life and rarely do I mix my personal and professional lives.  We'll ignore for the moment that H & I are both employed by the same company.  I'd like to think of us as quietly out.  We've never come right out and said it, but we request time off together and are honest with management if we need to accompany the other to a doctor's appointment or what have you.  Everyone knows that we live together.

I often wonder what would happen if H &  I shared stories, openly, the way that these other women do about their dating lives.  I suspect it would wind us up in HR and I find that double standard to be appalling.  I wonder how they would handle being subjected to some of the things that my poor ears have heard and how they would opt to handle it. ( I can never un-hear that.)  I'm getting side-tracked.

It all makes me think back to a post that a friend of mine wrote several years ago.  I'll try to get the text to share with you all, but her blog is currently un-published for privacy concerns.  In this post, she spoke about her family's experience with strangers while visiting their local y's swimming pool.  There was an older couple who seemed confused by her little family and asked a lot of questions while trying to figure out what exactly was going on.  She talked about how she should have/wished she had handled it differently, etc.

How do you live your life honestly and teach your children to stand up for themselves and their families, and not take things like this head on?  Do you have to? Can you just live quietly and not constantly re-assert your family's place in society?  I don't think I would be inclined to correct people based on how I've handled my queer status up til now.  However, I've also wondered if I wasn't the gestational parent whether I would feel differently being the "other mother" and feel more strongly about asserting my role as mommy, and how our family fits together.

What do you think?  Do gay parents have an obligation to be gay ambassadors?  Do you think that sends the wrong message to our kids if we don't constantly correct others?

What sorts of situations have come up for your family and what did you say?  Or what do you wish you would have done differently?


  1. Love this post! I'm not sure what the right answer is. I think it depends on your comfort level and/or who you're dealing with.

  2. Thanks! I guess only time will tell, but it's something I've spent a great deal of time thinking about.