IDENTITY:

Mondays with the Mamas: LGBT Parenting

A few weeks ago, my son’s kindergarten class did an assignment that made me weep.  They had been discussing diversity of families in the classroom, and then were asked to draw a depiction of their “Mirror Family” – i.e., the family they had at home – as well as their “Window Family” – another family they could imagine having that was different from their own.  Their pictures were profound, on both sides of the assignment.  There were single moms, and kids raised by grandparents, divorced families, families with moms and dads and families with two dads and two moms, adoptive families, interracial families of all sorts and numbers of siblings ranging from onlies to 20  (and yes, per the picture above, my son has two African-American dads and 15 brothers.)

It was AWESOME.  The project completely normalized every kind of family.  As a result, at this very early and impressionable age, my son and his peers talk openly about their gay parents and their adoption and their white mom and their parents splitting two homes with absolutely no stigma.  They presented these pictures at an assembly and I wept – LOUDLY – for a long time.  We have come so very far since we were kids.  (Not that there aren’t a gazillion miles to go!!)

Honestly, I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I’ve wept maybe five times – like big juicy tears – when watching Glee. For some reason, the Christmas episodes really get me – maybe because I’m up until 2am wrapping presents and being Santa while my husband sleeps – but it is so amazing to me that our children are growing up with gay role models on TV, that children who have gay parents or are gay themselves can see themselves reflected (in that very omnipresent mirror/window) in a way that is validating, not otherized at all (they are so cool and cute and sing and kiss just like the straight kids!)  We just didn’t have that AT ALL.  We grabbed at My So Called Life with every ounce of our beings (and wrote letters when it was cancelled) and watched astounded and ecstatic (or perhaps a little disappointed?) in college when there was a first kiss on Ellen.

But now?  There’s a new generation who have not only had these media influences, but also have had peers or at least peers they’ve connected with online who have been raised by gay parents.  And you know what?  They’ve turned out great. Really great – like backbone a’plenty, really good people great.  We are in the midst of the first generation of young adults who have had a critical mass of LGBT parents and it’s time to take a temperature read.

LGBT parenting has come a long way and there’s a long way to go.  This week we have an excerpt from the book, My Two Moms authored by Zach Wahls, and he’ll answer some of our questions about his experience. At 19, Zach testified on behalf of gay marriage in front of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. We’ll also hear from a lesbian mom in AZ who has no rights to her children. Polly Pagenhart from LesbianDad.com will be providing resources for those seeking answers.

We want to hear your thoughts – anything you want to add as an LGBT parent?  Whether LGBT or not, what are your thoughts about your children’s experience of diverse families?   Or try the “Mirror/Window” assignment with your own kid and let us know what happens in the comments below!  Can’t wait to hear from you. — Sam Kurtzman-Counter, TMC President

Please share your thoughts/anecdotes/musings about this topic below in the comments section.  We love hearing from you!

The Mother Company aims to support parents and their children, providing thought-provoking web content and products based in social and emotional learning for children ages 3-6. Check out episodes of our “Ruby’s Studio” children’s video series,  along with our beautiful children’s booksappsmusichandmade dolls, and more.

Posted in: Identity, Parental Wisdom, The Mother Co. Mamas