Category Archives: LGBT

Families: more the same than different

Last year on June 1st I wrote a blog about how my son wrote a paper for English when he was 15  that said he thought his “gay mom was cool”. Although I wrote the blog last year, the event happened when my son was 15 which was three years prior. A LOT has happened since he was 15. He is 19 now.

When my partner Karol and I first decided to join our families together it was not without some concerns and worries. Worry about what the kids would think, worry about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), worries about what the community would think, worries about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), and 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 11 years. The kids are now 23, 21, 19 and 16. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were good years and not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving out to go live 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 Karol still ended up doing more of the parenting but now she was fighting against her ex husband AND his wife as well as a rebellious teenager. 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 the oldest.

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 gay families, but straight families. 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 on this LGBTQ Family Day I want to say that what I have learned in the past 12 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there, and the fact that this family has two moms only adds to the ways in which we are the same as many many other families out there. Because when you drill down to what makes a family it is love, and overcoming obstacles and dealing with “stuff”, and in the end being there for each other. 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!!

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”!!

A History of Gay Marriage in the United States

I started blogging in 2010.  Somewhere in the first year I was blogging I ran across a Blog called “Doorknobs that Lock”.  You have to read the very first post that S wrote to understand the meaning of that one.  🙂 I was intrigued because they, S and E were two women who met after S had a child and he was 10 years old.  They met, fell in love, and got married in a few years.  Their son M is in scouts like Joe Cool and is the same age as Joe Cool.  We had so much in common and I have followed her over the years.  She is even in my Blog Roll. S has been tracking the history of states allowing same sex unions and marriages over the past 10 years, and has compiled a wonderful list with details.  So I asked her if I could use her history of gay marriage in the united states on my blog and she agreed!!  So without further ado, here is the roundup, as written by S.  Check out her blog too, it is cute, and funny, and interesting.  All the things a blog should be.  And she always has awesome pictures on her blog!!!

gay wedding

Carol over at Coffee, Clutter and Chaos asked if I could do a roundup of all the marriage blog entries. Thanks for asking! It’s the perfect opportunity for me to ignore the impending blizzard and exercise my Type-A personality to its max, and so I decided to make as comprehensive a listing as I could of the evolving legal landscape of same-sex relationship recognition in the US. Not only that, I decided to do it 2 different ways. This is the state-by-state version; a timeline version is in the post above. The “more” links refer back to the more detailed blog posts I’ve written about many of these changes.

Alabama : marriages began 09-Feb-2015 more

Alaska : marriages began 12-Oct-2014 more

Arizona : marriages began 17-Oct-2014 more

Arkansas: marriages began 12-May-2014 more
Arkansas: marriages halted 16-May-2014

California : domestic partnerships began 02-Oct-1999
California : marriages began 16-Jun-2008
California : marriages halted 05-Nov-2008
California : marriages resumed 28-Jun-2013

Colorado : designated beneficiary agreements began 01-Jul-2009
Colorado : civil unions began 01-May-2013
Colorado : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Connecticut : civil unions began 01-Oct-2005
Connecticut : marriages began 12-Nov-2008 more

Delaware : civil unions began 01-Jan-2012 more
Delaware : marriages began 01-Jul-2013 more

Florida : marriages began 06-Jan-2015 more

Georgia: no legal recognition

Hawaii : reciprocal beneficiary registration began 08-Jul-1997
Hawaii : civil unions began 01-Jan-2012 more
Hawaii : marriages began 02-Dec-2013 more

Idaho : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

Illinois : civil unions began 01-Jun-2011 more
Illinois : marriages began 01-Jun-2014 more

Indiana : marriages began 26-Jun-2014 more
Indiana : marriages halted 27-Jun-2014
Indiana : marriages resumed 07-Oct-2014 more

Iowa : marriages began 24-Apr-2009

Kansas : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

Kentucky: no legal recognition

Louisiana: no legal recognition

Maine : domestic partnerships began 30-Jul-2004
Maine : marriages began 29-Dec-2012 more

Maryland : domestic partnerships began 01-Jul-2008
Maryland : marriages began 01-Jan-2013 more

Massachusetts : marriages began 17-May-2004

Michigan: marriages began 22-Mar-2014 more
Michigan: marriages halted 22-Mar-2014

Minnesota : marriages began 01-Aug-2013 more

Mississippi: no legal recognition

Missouri: no legal recognition

Montana : marriages began 19-Nov-2014 more

Nebraska: no legal recognition

Nevada : domestic partnerships began 01-Oct-2009 more
Nevada : marriages began 09-Oct-2014 more

New Hampshire : civil unions began 01-Jan-2008
New Hampshire : marriages began 01-Jan-2010 more

New Jersey : domestic partnerships began 30-Jul-2004
New Jersey : civil unions began 19-Feb-2007
New Jersey : marriages began 21-Oct-2013 more

New Mexico : marriages began 19-Dec-2013 more

New York : domestic partnerships began 03-Feb-2006
New York : marriages began 24-Jul-2011 more

North Carolina : marriages began 10-Oct-2014 more

North Dakota: no legal recognition

Ohio: no legal recognition

Oklahoma : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Oregon : domestic partnerships began 04-Feb-2008
Oregon : marriages began 19-May-2014 more

Pennsylvania : marriages began 20-May-2014

Rhode Island : civil unions began 02-Jul-2011 more
Rhode Island : marriages began 01-Aug-2013 more

South Carolina : marriages began 20-Nov-2014 more

South Dakota: no legal recognition

Tennessee: no legal recognition

Texas: no legal recognition

Utah : marriages began 20-Dec-2013 more
Utah : marriages halted 06-Jan-2014
Utah : marriages resumed 06-Oct-2014 more

Vermont : civil unions began 01-Jul-2000
Vermont : marriages began 01-Sep-2009 more

Virginia : marriages began 06-Oct-2014 more

Washington: domestic partnerships began 22-Jul-2007
Washington : marriages began 06-Dec-2012 more

Washington DC : domestic partnerships began 11-Jun-1992
Washington DC : marriages began 03-Mar-2010

West Virginia : marriages began 09-Oct-2014 more

Wisconsin : domestic partnerships began 03-Aug-2009 more
Wisconsin : marriages began 06-Jun-2014 more
Wisconsin : marriages halted 13-Jun-2014
Wisconsin : marriages resumed 06-Oct-2014 more

Wyoming : marriages began 21-Oct-2014 more