LGBT parenting

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I am the step mother to three beautiful children. They are my partner’s biological children, but over the last year, I have come to see them as my children as well. In the beginning of our journey, the children and I tip toed around one another. We had to learn our boundaries and where we fit in the lives of one another. This is something I’ve never experienced before. With the help of my partner, I learned which boundaries to uphold, which lines to cross, which ones to not. Over these hurdles and through learning experiences I still feel like I’m learning every day. I believe that part of parenting is that you have to just be there, simply show up, and do your best. You don’t always get it right, all the time or every day, but as long as one continues to try and grow, you’re doing something right.

samesex_parentss(Photocredit: Media files)

Last weekend my partner, (whom I’m nicknaming Cee), had to go to work so I had to juggle and get the kids to some events and appointments. The youngest had to go to two birthday parties, one right after the other. I made the mistake in letting the youngest choose what she wanted to wear that day. Normally I would put my foot down and take away her tablet until she listened if she didn’t listen the first few times I told her to do something. That day I was tired, distracted by other things and didn’t put my foot down. So she went to the birthday party in a mismatched outfit (something I at times struggle with myself), and I went home.

Something that I’ve learned about parenting is that other parents will judge  you on your appearance and the appearance of your step child. I should have had the forethought to this before, but I didn’t. About a year ago, before I got to Cee, she still lived in a heterosexual relationship, therefore she didn’t feel that she was being judged as harshly by the other parents except for the usual judgement that comes with being a parent from other parents. Once we became a couple, she felt that she had suddenly became judged 10x more harshly because she had a same sex partner and as a result, the youngest wasn’t invited to as many events or birthdays. The homophobia and judgement that comes with being in a same sex partnership isn’t every easy and it gets better once you find your niche in the community; However, with kids, homophobia is never fair as it affects them, whether they know it or not. As a result, some friends may not be able to come over, or the kids might not be invited to certain events or birthdays because the ideals the parents hold are ignorant or they lack open mindedness.

So when I came to pick up the youngest from the birthday party, I felt like I had all the eyes of all the children’s parents on me. My mind flew in a flurry as I tried to ignore the eyes and tried to be polite to the other parents and children. My hope was that if they saw a gay woman being polite and kind then ideals might change and the youngest wouldn’t have to face and repercussions for having two moms. Of course I could have slightly fubbed that up because part of being a good parent is that you set boundaries and tell the children what to do-that day, of all days-I had let that slide. Her hair was wild and curly and her outfit didn’t match. It wasn’t fair, but all I could do was realize my mistake and make a promise to do better the next time. That’s all that you can do when you’re a parent: learn, grow and try to do better next time, even if there is added judgement involved.

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Judgement in the LGBTQ community

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I’d like to discuss a more serious topic today.

People like to judge. Everyone does it, from judging what you like, to what you don’t like in food preferences, colours, hobbies and people you prefer to spend time with. People need to fit things into specific categories in order to understand them and see where they fit in our lives, this leads to us acquiring biases about things. Judgements align with these biases that we carry from a young age. Unless something occurs to an open minded individual that smashes stereotypes or their judgements, the judgements will remain; We must remain open minded about our biases, judgements and be willing to see things from different points of view in order to allow our judgements to fall to the wayside.

People who identify as LGBTQ become accustomed to feeling judged negatively and may actively fight against societal biases. One thing that some people may not know about though, is that individuals within the LGBTQ community (worldwide) fight against discrimination and judgements within the LGBTQ community. These forms of discrimination and judgement may come in words, veiled sarcasm, dirty looks etc.

For example, many lesbians or women who identify as gay and lesbian tend to hold ideas and biases against bisexual women. It is probably due to the fact that some bisexual women can date men and women happily which leads to gay women feeling the pressure about competing with straight men for the women to date. It is a lot easier for someone to be in a heterosexual relationship than in a same sex relationship, according to society. Heterosexual relationship couples do not get the odd looks, dirty looks, whispers, calls, or ignorant language. Many lesbians see it like that. I used to see things like that, worried that I would date a bisexual woman and she would break my heart and leave me for a man because that was easier than dating me.

My partner broke that mold for me. She identified as bisexual and had never dated a woman before. I had to banish my past trust issues with bisexual women and deconstruct my biases and judgements. I realized that although the gay and lesbians get discriminated against, the bisexuals get discriminated against more. My partner has been discriminated on by lesbians before at events that we’ve both attended to and now she feels left out like she doesn’t fit into the heterosexual or the gay community. I told her that’s not the case and that we will go together and leave together if such discrimination does happen to her. Our local Pride is happening this week which is why I bring this topic of events up. I told her that I support her and if she feels discriminated against, I will call said person on what they said or did and we will leave.

My girlfriend loves me for me. If she left me for a man, it would have a series of reasons attached to it, not because of my parts. Same things if I was dating a gay woman, if she left me it wouldn’t be because of my sexual parts, it would have a series of reasons attached to it. We need to move past these hangups we have in the LGBT community so we can be stronger as a united force fighting for the freedom of Human Rights.

bisexual(Photo Credit: Social science wiki)

Everyone in the LGBTQ community deserves to shine as an individual in the community that was built in order to shelter them and allow them the freedom of individuality in a world where discrimination is rampant. We need to be more aware that we’re inclusive not secluding anyone. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve freedom to be themselves in this world?

Coming out of the closet as bisexual

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That is what I originally did.

I originally tried to deny the fact that I was attracted to women altogether for several months after finally piecing together some pieces the summer after I graduated from high school. When I went to university, I could not deny it. I had female crushes on professors, and a few of my classmates and females in my dorm. So I attached the label of bisexual to myself because I thought it would somehow be more acceptable if I did so for when I eventually came out to friends and family. I still dated boys, and crushed on girls. Guys appealed to me because I understood them, their moments of immaturity, their love of things nerdy (not as many females like nerdy things). Guys didn’t appeal to me physically, but their personalities did and that’s why I held onto that label still despite fully feeling my head spin whenever I crushed on a female.

Years later, when I decided to come out, I came out as a bisexual woman because I thought that dipping my toes in the heterosexual and homosexual world at the same time (metaphorically speaking), would somehow be more accepted than being lumped into the homosexual category. It was easier in respects to most of my friends. But it wasn’t as well thought of by my family. My family didn’t take me coming out [of any closet] very well. One of my coworkers called me a fence sitter. Uh… ouch? He was a jerk and just jealous that I wasn’t attracted to him though.

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(Photocredit: Deviant art)

I was called me a slut by a family member. That was lovely. When I told my family I preferred women (still trying to get closer to the truth without giving up the label that I might be slightly straight), I was told “You are disgusting and you would be perfect if you weren’t gay.” I couldn’t win either way. So I finally gave up and came out fully as being a lesbian.

I don’t think some people truly understand what bisexual means. It does not mean whoring around and sleeping with everyone. Anyone can do that whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transexual, pansexual, intersex etc. Sexual orientation does not determine if someone will be promiscuous. Unfortunately when some people think of any sexual orientation other than heterosexual they immediately think of sex and somehow think we have wild sex lives. Wouldn’t that be nice? 10 STD’s, a messed up heart and plate of drama for 1 please. *sarcasm*

So I apologize to the bisexuals out there. I did use that sexual orientation label as a metaphorical stepping stone for fully coming to terms with admitting I was gay to myself and to the world. I apologize. I didn’t mean to make it harder for those who are truly bisexual. I know that some people don’t even think that your orientation exists. That is really unfair and I’m sorry that some of you have to face that. I know that you face scrutiny from the heterosexual and homosexual sides of the sexuality spectrum. You may be scrutinized by the heterosexuals because they don’t understand why you enjoy the same sex. And the homosexuals might judge you because they think you can enjoy perks of hetero normative society while batting for the same team. That is not fair. However you love is how you love and you should be allowed that right. I mean don’t go crushing hearts for the manipulative pleasure, that’s just plain mean. But whomever you fall in love with good for you. Don’t let go.

I thought it would somehow be easier to categorize myself as such while denying the fact that I was truly gay all along and this wasn’t right of me. I let homophobia damage my self and that is never a good thing for anyone of any sexual orientation.