Category Archives: LGBT

Love is what makes a family!

A few years ago I wrote a blog about how my oldest son Zachary wrote a paper for English when he was 15. In the paper he wrote that he thought his “gay mom was cool”. In the years that have passed since I wrote that blog post (he is now 20) a LOT has happened.  Some good, some not so good and some great!

When my partner Karol and I first decided to blend our families together, we definitely had concerns. We were concerned about what the kids would think,  about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), about what the community would think, about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), among others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.

Where it all started

Where it all started

When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.

First family vacation 2007...the girl refused to get in the photo....

First family vacation 2007…the girl refused to get in the photo….

Fast forward 14 years. The kids are now 24, 22, 20 and 17. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were some good years and some not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving in with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and even though Katarina was living with him, Karol still ended up doing most of the parenting. AND she was having to do it while her ex husband AND his wife were working against her.  Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.

All the kids Christmas 2008

All the kids Christmas 2008

The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as with our daughter.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.

As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not just gay families, but straight families too. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.

ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.

I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So during this week of PRIDE I want to say that what I have learned in the past 14 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there. The fact that this family has two moms does not really play much of a part in it. Because in the end what truly makes a family a family is the love we have for each other and that we work together to overcome obstacles and dealing with “stuff”.  A family is not about biology, but about love!

And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!

They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!

Because what it boils down to is that:

Love makes a family

A few years ago I wrote a blog about how my oldest son Zachary wrote a paper for English when he was 15. In the paper he wrote that he thought his “gay mom was cool”. In the years that have passed since I wrote that blog post (he is now 20) a LOT has happened.  Some good, some not so good and some great!

When my partner Karol and I first decided to blend our families together, we definitely had concerns. We were concerned about what the kids would think,  about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), about what the community would think, about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), among others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.

Where it all started

Where it all started

When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.

First family vacation 2007...the girl refused to get in the photo....

First family vacation 2007…the girl refused to get in the photo….

Fast forward 14 years. The kids are now 24, 22, 20 and 17. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were some good years and some not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving in with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and even though Katarina was living with him, Karol still ended up doing most of the parenting. AND she was having to do it while her ex husband AND his wife were working against her.  Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.

All the kids Christmas 2008

All the kids Christmas 2008

The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as with our daughter.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.

As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not just gay families, but straight families too. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.

ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.

I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So during this week of PRIDE I want to say that what I have learned in the past 14 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there. The fact that this family has two moms does not really play much of a part in it. Because in the end what truly makes a family a family is the love we have for each other and that we work together to overcome obstacles and dealing with “stuff”.  A family is not about biology, but about love!

And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!

They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!

Because what it boils down to is that:

Is Sexual Orientation a choice?

We are all unique when we are born.  We have a unique genetic code that decides what color hair we will have, will it be straight or curly, how tall will we be, what our skin tone will be.  It tells us what color eyes we will have, hazel, green, brown or blue.   Our DNA decides if we will be born with all of our body parts and brains fully functioning, or if we are missing a chromosome, or piece of DNA it decides if we will have Down’s Syndrome, or autism, or any myriad of genetic birth defects.

That being said, what about gender and sex?  Of course we know our physiological sexual characteristics are decided by our DNA, but gender? Gender is fluid and is a social construct and we are socialized to be one gender or another.  And what about sexual orientation? Is sexual orientation a choice? Or is it hardwired into our DNA?
Many people will say that people CHOOSE to be gay or straight.  Many say they are born gay or straight.  I am not a scholar and I have not done enough research to determine if the scientific data supports either theory.  All I can tell you is what people have told me.

One day, while waiting for a professor to show up for a class, my classmates and I started having a discussion about sexual orientation.  I said I don’t like to
“classify” my sexuality, and told them that I am vague because I don’t like to categorize myself as one thing or another.  I am not straight.  I like guys, but I also like women. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a woman for over 10 years, and I expect to stay in that relationship until I die.  If something were to happen to her and I wanted to be in another relationship  have no idea what gender that person might be.  They could be male, female, transgendered….who knows.  I don’t rule anything out and definitely don’t really have a certain “type” of person I am attracted to.  According to my college friends this makes me a “pansexual”

I had never heard of Pansexuality before and of course I looked it up and did some research, and I realized she was right, and that described me perfectly.  I am not attracted to just one type of person, I can be attracted to any type of person.  What matters to me more than their sexual anatomy is who they are as a person, their heart and personality.  Those are the things that draw me in and makes me attracted to someone, not their gender or physical features.

During this discussion with some of my classmates, we started talking about sexual orientation and whether it was a “choice” or how we were born.  Someone said,  “You know, I hear people say that gay people choose to be gay, but I am here to tell you that is not true.  Why would I choose this lifestyle?  Choose being discriminated against?  Choose a lifestyle that made my friends and church family abandon me?  Choose an orientation where I can’t even walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand? Who would choose that? Nobody would.”

That young man articulated the thoughts that I believe MANY LGBTQ people have had.  Why in the world would we CHOOSE to be born that way?  A life of discrimination, ridicule and being treated differently?  A life where you still can’t have a legally binding civil union or marriage (or whatever term you prefer to use) in every state in this country.  A lifestyle where you get bullied and picked on in school.

These are questions that anyone who feels being gay is a choice should ask themselves.  It would be much easier to be heterosexual.

So for anyone who thinks LGBTQ people wake up one day and consciously make a choice to take a more difficult path through life, ask yourself, “would I chose that?”  If the answer is no, then that is all you need to know.  Being gay, or straight, or bisexual, or asexual, or bisexual is not a choice, it is hardwired into our DNA and it is how we are born.

So in the words of Lady Gaga, we were “Born This Way”!!