hear ye, hear ye: i support gay parents… (any pretty much all other things “gay”)

Hey there, Reader. Things are about to get rather opinionated on this one; so if you’re not into that kind of thing, you might just want to move along to the next post on your list of “to reads.” Also, this is going to be a long one, so get your coffee ready.

I decided to make a post because recently, something has really been bothering me. It’s actually been clanging around in my head for months now, and as a result I’ve been working on this post for weeks… Trying to get it right. Trying to say things without being a complete bitch about it… You know, trying to be nice. But the truth is, I don’t know how nice I really need to be. I will probably be severely judged for writing this. And I just don’t care anymore.

Let me explain what I’m talking about.

Several months ago, I stumbled onto a blog called “Mommy Man,” a WordPress blog written by a dad of two littles – a twin boy and girl (they’re adorable) – about his family and raising kids as a gay super-parent (along with his partner, Drew!). After following on their journey for just a short time, I have fallen in love with this little family. Jerry Mahoney, the author, is witty, honest, and brave. I absolutely love reading his posts and learning about his family.

I tell you this because several weeks ago, I read one of Jerry’s posts entitled “Just a Couple of Gay Dads at Disney World,” (you should read it!) where “Mommy Man” writes about his family’s recent visit to Disney. Needless to say, it was a great experience for the kids and for the dads. When I read this post, it just made me incredibly happy. I was glad to hear that this family, “nontraditional” as some might call them, had a great time at the most wonderful place on Earth. Because like it or not, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY should have a freaking fantastic time at Disney World. It shouldn’t matter what a family looks like. What should matter is that they’re people and they deserve to be treated like any other family. Bravo, Disney, for treating people like people, making kids feel special, and providing a family with a memorable vacation together. Mahoney’s kids aren’t going to forget this trip anytime soon.

I love all of this.

And so, because I loved the post (and liked it on WordPress!), I shared it on Facebook. Now, in the past I have been rather shy about sharing things that might be seen as “questionable” by people on my friends list… I am friends with a number of very religious people, many of whom are technically friends of my parents, not of mine… So, I’m friends with a lot of people from an older, much more conservative crowd. And I’ve worried in the past about my family getting “wind” of things on Facebook because I’m friends with people… and someone will see it… and someone will message my mother and say, “Do you know what your daughter has gotten into recently?!”… and then I’ll get some kind of probing email/message asking me about said “thing” that I dared post about on Facebook so publicly.

Yeah.

Did you get all that?

It’s a lot, right? A lot of unnecessary pressure. A lot of bullshit, really. (I’d also like to take this moment to not apologize for my use of unnecessary crude language. You’re welcome.)

But back to the point. I decided to ignore these fears that I had and share a link to “Mommy Man’s” post about Disney. And several days went on with no repercussions of any kind. I felt nothing spectacular. In fact, I kind of forgot about it. And then, suddenly, things changed.

I got a private message from a “family friend” who was a good friend of my father’s when I was a child. I have literally not had any kind of personal exchange with this woman for well over seven years.

Her message said:

“Krissi, did you really mean you like the disney thing, with two “gay dads” ??? I am having a hard time believing this.”

And I knew exactly where this was going. So I waited a day, cooled off (because I was already furious about such a question), and wrote a response that I felt was respectful, but explained my point of view. I said:

“Hi [Facebook friend],

I hope you and [your husband] are well. I’m not sure how to respond to your question… It seems straightforward enough, but at the same time, I feel there may be other questions that could follow it. I hope to answer you here as honestly and respectfully as I can.

Yes, I did love the blog post I shared about the family that visited Disney World. (I’m not sure if you had a chance to read it. If not, I am leaving a link here. I encourage you to read the post if you have a few minutes and weren’t able to previously: http://jerry-mahoney.com/2014/02/11/gay-dads-at-disney-world/)

As I try not to make a habit of sharing things that I don’t like or things I disagree with, I’m not sure I understand what is difficult to believe about my “really” meaning that I “liked” the blog post… It’s here that I feel perhaps other questions could be posed in your note…

I follow this blog, “Mommy Man,” and read it regularly. It’s written by a gay dad who, with his partner, has a twin boy and girl. I find his writing both entertaining and heartwarming. It is my opinion that a “family” can take all sorts of different shapes. I support gay couples that choose to adopt or use other methods to have children. I believe that as long as a child is well cared for, nurtured, and raised in a loving home, it does not matter whether that family is made up of a mom and a dad; a dad and a dad; or a mom and a mom. What really matters is that those kids are truly loved and provided for.

The reason I shared the post you’re asking about is because it meant something to me. It made me happy that this family felt special on a memorable vacation. This particular post stood out to me because of something the writer said: he was able to take his family to Disney World, “just like everyone else.” And that, especially, made me smile. It made me happy that these children weren’t treated any differently based on who their parents are; they are just an ordinary family. I believe that a family is a family, no matter what it looks like; and they should be treated the same as any other.

So, I hope this answers your question. Yes, I did love the post. I didn’t share it on accident. I mean no disrespect, and I suspect that our opinions differ in this area. And that’s fine. I simply hope I have been able to clear any misunderstanding and articulate myself clearly.

Thanks for taking the time to read my response. :)”

And Reader, like it or not, that’s genuinely how I feel about this subject. I completely, totally, 150% (which may be annoying to you if you’re not into the “overage” in percentages) support gay parents. I support them if they want to adopt. I support them if they want to go the surrogate route  (like Mahoney and his partner, Drew). I support them no matter how they want to become parents, assuming they’re not breaking the law by kidnapping or something ridiculous.

And since we’re [kind of] on the subject, I completely support gay marriage. I’m just going to come out and say it (pun mildly intended). This is a bit off topic and probably better saved for another day. However, I’m just letting you know where I stand.

So. I said what I said. And lo and behold, I got a response. It was nastier than I expected:

“Yes Krissi, you’re right we have differing opinions, and if your Dad was still with us he would have the same as mine, rooted and grounded in the Word of God.”

Let me repeat some of that:

“…if your dad was still with us…”

AND

“…rooted and grounded in the Word of God.”

 

Needless to say, I was more than a little “put off” by this second response. I will explain.

Now, if you’ve been reading any of my past posts, most recently here, you probably know that my father is deceased and has been gone for nearly twenty years. I have never known my father as an adult, which has been difficult for me. I think we would have had a good relationship had we known either other later in life. But alas, we will never know. And it’s for precisely this reason that I was so angered about this “friend’s” response to my extremely careful and respectful message.

It’s true: my father was a pastor and thus, most likely a very conservative-minded man. It’s also true that there is a good chance this woman was right – that if he were still alive, he would share her feelings of “distaste” for gay people. He might disagree with me. But you know what? It’s also equally possible that he would have agreed with me, not her. The big point here is that we will never know. He’s not here to speak for himself; she can’t speak for him. Times are a’changing. Maybe he would have felt differently. And even if he didn’t, I’d like to think my dad would be proud of me for having an opinion and sticking to it, despite any opposition.

So, what’s to gain by dragging my dad into the conversation, Lady? You don’t think that’s kind of rude? Inappropriate? Kind of a low blow?

Because I do.

This was a condemnation. A stab at my conscience. “…if your Dad was still with us…” As if that is supposed to somehow make me change my mind or decide that I am clearly on the wrong end of this “issue.” I was so infuriated by this response that I felt was purely hateful and defensive. This response was a knee-jerk. There appeared to be no logic, just the same old homophobic answer that spewed out the minute anything “gay” came into conversation. No thought – just anger and defensive-fueled action.

Let me tell you something, Lady (and everyone else making the same arguments): That book you’re holding up to support your case against gay marriage and gay parents? That’s the same book that was used by the generations before you to support slavery. The same book that was used to deny women rights in society and in your “church.” The same book that commands you to love everyone, no matter their “sins.”

This is an argument that I don’t feel like I should get into today, but I probably will later… And as you can probably see, Reader, I am clinging a lot less to the aforementioned “book” than I did in the past. And my, oh my, is it liberating.

And so, back to the original point. I did not give a response to that last message. I was too angry. I am still too angry. I want to respond directly, but I know I won’t do it without writing a few stinging words. Why do I harbor this bitterness? Because it wasn’t just me who was being attacked, but someone that neither of us actually knew. And that’s just downright unfair.

I share this story with you, Reader, because I want to lay my feelings on this issue bare. I want young people, especially millennials in the church, to know that just because you may disagree with someone’s “choice” (another can of worms entirely, one  of which I also view in opposition of the church’s stance) does not mean that you have to respond in a hateful, unkind, or otherwise shameful way. Do you want people to respect you? Want people to take you seriously and respect your religious beliefs? Then give others the right to hold their own views separately from yours without judgement. Quit preaching and LOVE the people you condemn.

Mr. Mahoney, should you ever actually read this post, I admire your (and your partner, Drew’s!) bravery to bring your two children into the world. You have such a beautiful family. I am so overjoyed to read your stories. Thank you for sharing your family, your joys, and your struggles with the rest of us. We straight people need a better understanding.

And if you’re not Jerry Mahoney, you should buy his book that was just released! You can order it from Amazon here. Learn a little and be entertained in the process. I can’t wait to get my copy all the way over here in Korea!

So. This is the end of my rant. For today. But I’ll be back to harp more on this subject later. Don’t you worry.

Cheers, Reader. And happy Sunday.

 

*This piece was posted in response to WordPress’s The Daily Post: Break the Silence. 

34 Comments

  1. Wow, this is just… I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m really glad you like my blog and the Disney post in particular, and I’m flattered you would go to such lengths to defend someone you don’t even know against your small-minded family friend. Sometimes I doubt whether the time I spend on my blog is worth it, but then I read a post like this and I’m reminded why I do it.

    My dad passed away too young, too, before I came out of the closet. He was Catholic, as is most of my family, and I always feared what he would’ve thought of me had he known my big secret. Now that I have some perspective, what I know for sure is this: my dad loved me, he was a good and loving person and, while he might’ve been surprised and even initially uncomfortable with his son being gay, he would’ve continued to love and embrace me and be proud of me. He would’ve loved my husband and my kids and would’ve been so proud of my book. I only wish he had been here when the happiest phase of my life began.

    If there’s a big take-away from all of this, it’s that people’s minds do change, and they change not just because people like me are coming out but because people like you are sticking your necks out to defend and support us. Every post like this matters. Every interaction with every closed-minded family friend matters. You’re making a difference. I mean, I don’t know your dad either and can’t speak for him, but I imagine if nothing else, he would’ve been proud of you for that.

    Thanks again for this post. I’d say you’re more than a little bit brave with this one. :)

    • shops4shoes says:

      Ohmigawd. I didn’t expect to hear directly from you! Thanks so much, Mr. Mahoney, for taking the time to read my post. I’m so sorry to hear about your father, but glad you’ve come to feel at peace in his absence. I’m sure he would be immensely proud of you!

      Again, thank you for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read the book!

      Write on!

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  3. Dan Antion says:

    My father has been gone for over 30 years. He and I knew several people that were gay and he did not care. In fact, he openly supported one man who was in search of a job that my father was able to recommend him for, “People are people. They come in all colors, sizes and shapes and they have all kinds of likes, dislikes and habits. None of that makes them bad or good.” It’s not an exact quote, but it’s close. He was as conservative as anyone I’ve ever known, but the older version of conservative, not the meaning people who are trying to rebrand that word today seem to give it. I’m glad you stood your ground for what you felt was right. I would like to think your father would have supported that.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks, Dan! I really believe that my dad, too, would have loved people who were “different” and be proud of me for “sticking to my guns” on this one. I love your quote from your dad. Indeed, people are people, and the beauty of life is that we are all different.

      As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. serenemama says:

    Great post and I think you handled your response to your family friend well. I tend to hold back from family for fear of what they might think..I admire your courage.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thank you, Serenemama! It definitely took some courage, but I am confident in my choice to state my belief.

      I hope you will find the courage to share your feelings, too!

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  9. GodsKid2 says:

    Don’t feel you have to stop clinging to “That Book” in order to love others. I still cling, and yet I’m a long time reader of Mommy Man’s blog too. But yes, your parents’ friend’s comment was meant in judgement. Jesus probably would have invited you and Jerry to dinner — along with the scarlet woman and the tax collector whom He *did* hang out with.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks for your comment, GodsKid2! My movement away from the “book” has been an extended process, not one immediately fueled by this situation. This is just a stop on a journey I haven’t yet finished.

      You’re probably right – Jesus would have invited all of us to dinner. I hope more Christ followers will remember that, including the friend in my story.

      Thanks again for joining the conversation! :-)

  10. Deidre says:

    These are the stories that infuriate me. If a Christian thinks homosexuality is wrong based on Biblical teachings alone, then they must also except everything else mentioned in said book. Of course no one stones neighbors for lack of virginity, the wrong kind of cloth, eating pig, how they plant their crops, or how they treat their slaves. But that one passage seems to give “Christians” the right to hate. I just don’t understand it.

    Your letter was so respectful and to even mention your Father in the response undermines the ability to have an honest discussion.

    I once joined a church based on one thing. The answer the Pastor gave to this question. “How do you feel about Homosexuality?”.

    “I know what the old testament tells us, I know Jesus never addressed it. So I can’t base my answer on the Bible. I look to my heart. I know God wants all his children to know love. Deidre, honestly, I don’t have an answer for you, I’m still praying about that one. Whatever the answer is, it is of no importance when it comes to this building as long as I am it’s Pastor. All are welcome in this building and all are loved as Christ loves us.”

    This church participated in the Pride march every year and many of it’s congregates were gay. He was not lying, all were welcome and all were loved. Disagree, agree it is not for us (Christians) to judge. I can honestly say homosexuality is wrong, FOR ME, I like men. That is where my right to judge begins and ends.

    Sorry I was so long winded and thank you for this post and for letting us experience this moment in your life. It still baffles me that anyone feels they have the right to decide another humans life and then the gall to slap a Christian label on it. It is wrong. In every possible way a human can be wrong. It’s unloving, unjust and not even close to what Christ teaches us. The hard part in all this…we still have to love those narrow minded people.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Deidre, thank you so much for sharing your long winded response! I love it and I appreciate your words.

      I agree. Having been raised in the church and the child of a pastor, I was taught that Jesus said to love everyone. But as an adult, I feel like this teaching has been mutilated and that many (not all!) Christians use it to preach and claim a message of hatred and disgust.

      I can no longer stand by, quietly shaking my head and muttering my disapproval under my breath. My family may read this and be disappointed, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take! Everyone deserves respect, no matter their “differences.”

      Thanks for joining the conversation. And thanks for reading my long winded reply! :-)

  11. cutiecameras says:

    This is amazing. I understand the difficulty at responding to family and friends when it comes to sensitive topics. I recently shared a post about feminism to Facebook and had to deal with not so nice responses from family members. I appreciate you laying it all out there and standing up for what you believe in.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks, cutiecameras! Yes, it can be so scary to share things that we know others will disagree with. I’m not typically too keen to be confrontational, so in the past I have avoided things like this. But sometimes, you just realize you need to take a stand.

      I’m sorry to hear you were met with opposition and nasty comments. However, I commend you on your bravery to share a feminist post and share your feelings!

      Thanks for joining the conversation here. Write on! :-)

  12. Chaos Girl says:

    Ooo! I’m hearing you sister. In my case there’s been stony silence in response to FB posts, I almost wish someone had been bold enough to take me on, but probably just as well they didn’t. There might have been hair-pulling, and naughty words like heck ;D We just had gay marriage legalised in NZ; boy didn’t that stir up the coals. I do find the ‘debate’ plain frustrating because – wtf? Really? And because no matter how cogent and comprehensive an argument you can put together that you’d think would answer all conservative concerns…..nope. But there you go. Jerry is right though, every post like this makes homophobia a little more redundant, so well done!

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks so much for the affirmation and support, Chaos Girl! I agree. It completely baffles me that conservatives can still manage to find a “bone to pick,” so to speak, under practically every circumstance.

      I’m glad I can be one voice. I hope the echo of my shouting resounds with those who oppose me. So far, there’s been no opposition to my posting this, but I’m just waiting. :-) Hopefully I will handle it with grace!

      Thanks for joining the conversation and thanks for reading!

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  15. Stephanie says:

    Having spent a lot of time with you and being with you in November it makes me want to SMACK your small minded friend for bringing your father into this. Ignore their stupidity!

    Beautifully written as always! Times are changing, but the word of God stays the same and he calls us to love everyone so that’s what we should do!

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Steph, and for joining the conversation! Everyone’s support has been really overwhelmingly surprising, and I’m grateful. Hope you are well. :-)

  16. Haley says:

    Hi there! My name is Haley, and I found your blog via Kim Huang. I’ve been her nanny for about 3 years, and so by now we know each other well enough to discuss our opinions on ‘hot topics’ such as this. So much so that it is a regular occurance. ;) This morning she told me about this post and I immediately googled your blog so I could read it.
    I am so impressed with your respectful response to a not so respectful person. I always hate to hear stories like this, but am so encouraged by how you treated the situation. I can’t say that I would’ve been so tactful and gentle in my reply.
    My best friend is gay, and throughout the years I have struggled with this – all to realize, this isn’t something I should be struggling with. I am here to love him and treat him no differently than I would treat anyone else. Sadly, not everyone feels this way, and THAT is my current struggle. (Most recently, when I had Colby stand on my side during my wedding and my grandma asked if he was going to be wearing a bridesmaid dress as well. The ignorance kills me.)
    Anyway, all this to say, you have a new reader in me, and I’m excited to follow along!

    • shops4shoes says:

      Haley, thanks so much for this comment!

      The Huangs are near and dear to my heart, having seen Alyssa into kindergarten and being with them as they brought Hannah and Chloe into the world. :-) I’m glad they’ve found you!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmothers response to your friend’s involvement in your wedding… I’m not sure how I would have replied to that. I have a few friends who are gay and when I receive a response like the one that spurred on this post, I am disappointed in humanity. I hope we can all learn to love and accept one another, no matter the differences in opinion we hold.

      Thanks for following and reading my blog! :-)

  17. Rhonda Smith says:

    Krissi, I know how difficult it is to discover for yourself who you are and where you stand…..what to defend as important and when to live and let live. I am proud of your blog and wish you well with it. There is something very liberating about releasing your true feelings into words and sharing them with others. You are a fantastic young lady with a true talent for writing and a zest for life. I look forward to following your take on every day living and this fabulous opportunity we each have to make the most out of our time here on Earth. I am certain, you will teach me a thing or two. Good luck!

  18. Thanks for sharing. The same thing happened to me when I announced my engagement to my partner via Facebook. My father’s sister, (with whom I’m not very close, but share a Christmas and birthday card relationship) posted to my wall- for all my friends to see! that my Great grandmother, for whom I am named, would be ashamed. Well my response was to immediately please delete the post and “unfriend” her she is now blocked from my Facebook. Later, we had an uncomfortable phone call where she excused me of being ungrateful for receiving gifts of my grandmothers silverware. I would say we came to terms but I haven’t sent her a personal card since. That she could not be respectful and kind is really what is shameful and kind of sad.
    I think it’s too bad she no longer has a relationship with her only niece. I have other aunts that love me and my wife.
    Thanks for being a vocal supporter of all families.
    Jessica

    • shops4shoes says:

      Jessica, thanks for your comment! I’m so sorry to hear about that hurtful situation. I can only imagine what that must have felt like.

      I’m sure your great-grandmother would be proud of your accomplishments. I’m glad to know that you and your wife are making your own story together. Criticism from the ones we love (or with whom we have familial ties) is the most difficult kind, I think. But you made the choice to press forward in spite of painful comments. :-) And that’s a step in the right direction!

  19. paulygirl74 says:

    Very nicely blogged!! It’s too bad that so many people are closed minded, the world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone was more accepting. :-)
    I love the Mommy Man Blog too, good stuff!!

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