A fairly new child to our weekly playgroup annoyed me the other day! She (yes I said she!) was adorable. Blonde ringlets in her pony tail, blue eyes, red red cheeks. Like a little doll. Came running up to Reagan and I and asked me where “way-guns” (Reagan’s) mommy was. I thought to myself, ah cute little munchkin. I knelt down, hand on my child’s head to somehow assure her of what I was about to say despite the fact she is 15 months old and doesn’t understand, and said “Well, Reagan has two daddies”. She proceeded to say “I don’t understand”…repeatedly…loudly. Practically stomped her feet! Like…she was pissed that the answer given was not the appropriate answer. I felt like shouting “where is this 4 years olds parents?!” The icing on the cake was that her mother was indeed listening to the entire incident. I felt myself wanting to yank on her little ponytail to stop causing a scene and than slap her mother for not stepping in. (…maybe I’m a bully…)
Granted, this type of situation happens repeatedly, to only me of course (sorry but I had to add that because my loving partner has never once experienced anything of the sort). Which brings me to the topic…the day my daughter and the future children we have, get bullied for having two dads.
I am not being cynical or negative or naive when I say the following: that day WILL indeed come.
Many of my friends and family say it won’t because “Reagan is so loved”. I hate to be the bearer of bad news people, but love does not stop another child that is being brought up by ignorant parents, or has a hateful spine, or is simply cruel, immature or going through puberty, to protect my daughter when she is in the halls of school. It certainly didn’t help me when I was being called “faggot” on a daily basis in Junior High. No one in this world has more love for Reagan than I do and even I cannot protect her when we unleash her into the abyss of prejudice and hate (and germs!! lol) that a school has! My request is that those whom love my daughter so much…back me up here and begin to arm themselves with what it is they are going to say to my children when it does occur. It may sound like I am coming from a place of hate. The funny part about this is that I am not. I am coming from such an educated, adjusted and realistic place.
Reagan may be bullied by a 4 year old with blonde ringlets who simply is screaming for an answer of understanding and that may be it for the rest of her life. Reagan may be 13 years old and someone will simply give her a look that registers distaste with my child when she tells them that she has a dad and papa. Our daughter may be 16 and the cool guy in school may say to her “hey, I heard your dads were fags”. Everyone thinks that if Reagan is popular she won’t be touched with such hatred. Everyone thinks that because, slowly, the world is coming around to same-sex marriage and acceptance to families like ours, that all will be well. Maybe so. I think maybe not.
I’m an adult, a father, and have prepared myself with a very heavy shield of knowledge (and unfortunately emotionally internal bruises from the past) to educate myself on the matter. A 4 year olds line of questioning is just as intimidating as that of an adults. Whats funny is….I highly doubt not many other adults in my daughters life would be able to handle it as well as me. That may cut sorely to some but its true. It is extremely uncomfortable to have to announce to another party “This is Reagan, she has 2 fathers”. Try saying that to a 4 year old who doesn’t get it. Or a 70 year old war vet that you know is homophobic. Or living in a red state where you don’t know what the reaction will be. It is not easy for many to form the words and get them passed your throat. Regrettably, something that should be so natural, I have needed such practice.
I will give an example. My partner and I are legally married. Not in the state of Texas because…well this state will be the last state to follow suit. Anyway, my partner is technically, legally my husband. Not my partner. There is NO reason on the face of this earth that I should not call him my husband. We file joint taxes, have living wills, own property together. Our daughter will wonder why we don’t call one another our husband. We are already segregating ourselves from everyone else by using the word partner. Making ourselves different. My partner (see…I cannot even type the word husband!) and I spoke about this the other night. Its not difficult at all to admit that we are gay. But to use the word Husband as opposed to Partner-well that would just be weird..FOR THE OTHER PARTY that may have to endure HEARING it. Not for us!
The point is my husband and I should speak clearly and confidently to our real married status in my opinion. I feel that this will help our daughter be able to stand up and say “Yeah, my dads are gay” and to never ever feel ashamed of that. To have strength in her infliction of tone in her voice when answering others so that those whom wish to be negative…will hesitate first.