“I don’t care who you choose to love, just make sure they are not a jerk.”
This is something I have said to my kids for as long as they have walked this earth. They have also always heard me explain what the slogan of “love is love” actually means. On any given day you can ask my 4-year-old, and she will happily tell you that “Boys can love boys, girls can love girls, and boys can love girls and girls can love boys.” She says this without hesitation or questioning that anything else could be acceptable. I am the parent in an elder millennial generation, and it is my job to teach my kids that hate has no place in our home.
I didn’t choose the straight life
I have been an ally for the LGBT+ community for as long as I can remember. It was never an active decision for me. There’s no signup sheet or initiation process (although I wonder what that would be), and you don’t have to list all the gay people you know. Just something that seemed to be natural and the right thing to do. Why would I want to be a person who doesn’t support others because of who they choose to love or be? It has never made sense to me at any age. Something else that wasn’t an active decision for me? Being in a straight relationship. Never once in my life did I make a choice to have a desire towards men in romantic or sexual relationships. Listen, I’ve been in enough breakups with boyfriends and one divorce with a man that I should be proof that sexuality isn’t a choice. It just was my natural-born desire to be so. I didn’t need to ever go to my parents and sit them down in an emotional conversation and say, “Mom, I like boys.” With a fear that family and friends would disown me. I didn’t choose the straight life, the straight life chose me. Growing up, my parents didn’t ever make me feel that if I did happen to be born a lesbian, they would be upset. They have been their own versions of allies for the LGBT+ community, as well. Why do people choose to hate, and choose to teach their children to hate based on gender, sexuality, race or religion? Why do people choose to use the word God to justify their hate? This is a heavy topic, I know. When I look at my children, I know they don’t feel that hate in their hearts. Too naïve to understand what the difference is on who you love or what your skin color matters in this world. When they say their prayers, they know they pray to a God who loves them just the way they are. I hope they never believe in anything else.
Do not fear people based on their personal life
If my children are gay or any other term associated with LGBT+, it doesn’t matter to me. It will annoy me more if they marry someone who thinks U2 is the world’s greatest rock band. If they feel like they need to discuss their sexuality with me, I hope they are able to do so with a sense of calm and knowing that there is NOTHING they can say or do that will make me not love them. When choosing their friendships over the years, I never want them to steer away from someone whose sexuality differs from theirs because of that reason. In the same way, I wouldn’t want them to fear a friendship with someone who is any other color than what they are. Children are born open to this world. It is our job as parents to guide them. My parents guided me to believe in the same, and I am so lucky to have had that. Here I am, the elder millennial generation, one that should be progressive, open and free and still hearing hate from all sides about the LGBT+ community. Where are the other straight people who say that they have no problem with anyone who is LGBT+? Why are you saying it, and not doing anything? What are you are teaching your children at any learning opportunity that love is love? When you vote, do you vote for equality? If you see anything negative or derogatory being said to your friends who identify with LGBT+ are you speaking up? Mr. Fred Rogers spoke it best when he said, “Look for the helpers.”
Goodbye, sanctity of marriage
Marriage isn’t for everyone. But if you want to be married, I support you. Having kids is the hardest thing ever. You want to raise some and realize that? Let’s get you started with an overpriced stroller and 10 million diapers. I don’t care who you are in a partnership for any of those major life decisions. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to worry what anyone thought when I made those major decisions. I didn’t have to check if my marriage was legal, and I didn’t have to figure out who would let me have a child or worry I would be denied one. Not once did anyone say to me that I was ruining the “sanctity of marriage” or that my kids would end up straight because I was straight. Truth bomb, I got divorced with two daughters in tow. Britney Spears was allowed to be married for less than a couple days and no one questioned her ruining that sacred bond either. Why? Because we both were women who married men. Who ruins the “sanctity of marriage” more, Britney and me or a lesbian couple who’s been married for over 25 years? Neither. The answer is neither. Let’s retire that term and say however you choose to get married or divorced only changes your life.
Pride Month for me
With June getting to have a focus of Pride Month, I want you as a parent to think what it is that you can do to support our friends and family (even strangers) as an ally. Talk to your children openly about acceptance. Maybe even your own beliefs could use a shift. Your actions, as well as your words, show your children what is right, what is just and what their future can be if we just live by the standard of Love is Love.