Waiting for Justice, Feeling Pride

Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron

Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron

I wrote this for my Mombian newspaper column the week before the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA and Prop 8. I think the sentiments still hold, and are a good way to close out what may have been the most exciting Pride Month ever.

I’m not sure which is worse: Waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its rulings on marriage equality, or waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. It would relieve quite a lot of stress in the LGBT community if we could just pee on a stick to know how the justices will decide. Then again, when my spouse and I were starting our family, our doctor told us the sticks wouldn’t work because of the fertility drugs my spouse had taken. We tried them anyway. The doctor was right—we had to be patient and wait for results of the blood test.

I find myself reflecting, though, as I wait for the Supreme Court this Pride Month, that I really do have a lot to feel proud about this year.

First, foremost, and always: my son. He’s as great a kid as I could ever hope for. I’ll spare you excessive parental bragging, and simply say I feel proud just because he is who he is. I’m honored to be one of his moms.

I am proud, too, of my spouse and our extended family. We’re far from perfect, but we’re always there for each other when it counts. Helen and I recently celebrated 20 years together, half of which have been as parents. The world may say what it will; we are a family.

I also feel proud when I hear stories of other children who are standing up for themselves and their families. To share just a few recent examples: Zea and Luna, nine-year-old twins from California, wrote to President Obama about their two-mom family, marriage equality, and the need for education funding and gun control. They were invited to the White House with their parents and grandparents, and introduced the President to the crowd at the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception.

Colorado teen Ted Chalfen used his high school commencement speech to talk about coming out and how the accepting attitudes from his family and friends will help build a better future—not only for him, but for his whole generation.

Eighteen-year-old Riley Roberts, who has lesbian moms, spoke to the Nevada Assembly in favor of a bill to repeal the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

Nicole Maines, a 15-year-old transgender girl, is fighting in Maine’s highest court for the right to use the girl’s restroom.

And twelve-year-old Jazz, a transgender girl, has spoken out publicly about the rights of transgender youth and been the subject of a documentary on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She recently spoke with the Huffington Post about her own desire to become a parent someday.

I am proud of LGBT parents, too—ones like Jennifer Tyrrell, who found herself thrust into the spotlight after being banned as leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop, simply because she is a lesbian, and who has become an outspoken LGBT advocate.

Then there’s Karen Morgan, whose wife Charlie was a chief warrant officer in the New Hampshire National Guard and died of breast cancer. Karen is a plaintiff in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents her and her children from getting the benefits due to different-sex spouses of deceased servicemembers.

And Mark Maxwell and Timothy Young, who live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with their four foster children, recently released a video about their attempt to marry—and therefore be able to adopt their four boys—as part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s ‘We Do’ campaign. (View it at southernequality.org.)

Add in the many binational same-sex parents challenging current immigration laws to keep their families together. Some do not reveal their names to the media—but you can read many of their stories at domaproject.org.

I am proud—and more than a little humbled—to be part of the community of LGBT families that has such people in it.

I am also proud that LGBT families continue to make inroads in the media, with ABC Family’s new drama The Fosters stepping away from television’s usual unimaginative depiction of same-sex parents as White and upper middle-class with young children. NBC’s fall show, Sean Saves the World, about a single gay dad and his teenage daughter, promises to remind us that the phrase “same-sex parents” doesn’t cover us all. And there are many more stories left to tell of families across the LGBT spectrum. I am proud we have allies like The Fosters’ Executive Producer Jennifer Lopez, who is using her star power to get some of them told.

Finally, I am proud of my country. Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court cases, we have made tremendous and accelerating progress towards LGBT equality. I am proud of those who have helped President Obama “evolve” on marriage equality, and continue to pressure him and Congress regarding employment nondiscrimination, immigration rights, and transgender equality as well. I am proud of those who see these issues as inextricably tied to other social justice concerns.

No matter how the Supreme Court rules, this is not the end of the road towards equality for all. I have no doubt that LGBT parents will continue to be among those leading the way, if only because, whether starting our families or raising them, we know the importance of both action and patience. Even if we do sometimes buy completely useless pregnancy tests.