Earlier this week, we wrote about Zach Wahls, a young man who was raised by lesbian parents through donor insemination. Coincidentally (and unbeknownst to us as we wrote that post), Family Equality Council announced last Friday April 6, 2012, that Zach Wahls will serve as co-chair of the organization’s latest initiative – The Outspoken Nation. The initiative has been developed to serve as an advocacy group for “young adult children of LGBT parents.”
Much to our satisfaction, there seems to be increased positive attention to the issue of same-sex couples and parenting as of late. Why is this? Well for starters, the LGBT community is finally beginning to see the rewards for all of its hard-fought battles since the dawn of the modern gay rights movement a little over 40 years ago. The progress that has since been made, slowly-but-surely, led to the “gayby boom,” an influx of same-sex couples either adopting children or conceiving through donor insemination. Many of those children are now either young adults or adults with families of their own and are ready to share their stories with the mainstream in an effort to clear-up some of the misconceptions held by our collective society thanks to years and years of ad hominy from critics of LGBT lifestyles.
Initiatives such as The Outspoken Nation function as more than just a mouthpiece for children of same-sex couples, however. They also provide emotional support and encouragement to these kids who are quite often told that their families aren’t “real families” because they are “different from the norm.” Our laws only work to underscore this perception as many in government fight to narrowly define marriage as only a union between a man and a woman. Leaders such as Zach Wahls and his co-chair, Ella Robinson, are sources of inspiration, positive influence, and encouragement for young people who are growing-up in homes with gay and lesbian parents.
I was speaking to some dear and long-time friends the other day – a lesbian couple who’ve been together for over 10 years now. They are currently raising a teenage boy who they initially took in as a foster child and eventually had the opportunity to adopt. They told me that people frequently ask them why they’d want to set a child up to be potentially persecuted and that they hear that ϋber cliché – kids need a mother and a father to grow-up to be “normal” – all the time. They said, as far as they see their situation, they were the loving and stable people who stepped-in and took-on the responsibility to raise a child who, at a very tender age, was being neglected by an absentee father and a mother who could barely take care of herself. They said that since their son has been with them, virtually all of the difficulties he was experiencing in school prior to their intervention have diminished and he is now making excellent grades and behaving in class. They say he is a well-mannered, well-adjusted, normal boy who likes to play basketball and video games with his friends.
The thing they were most pleasantly surprised to discover during their journey into parenthood? Their son’s friends think it’s cool that he has two moms. “Our house has somehow become the place where all the neighborhood kids congregate. We’re not quite sure how that happened, but we’re not complaining. Five years ago when it was just the two of us in this house, it was so quiet sometimes that you could hear a pin drop. Now, the house is alive with the laughter of kids running in and out, raiding the refrigerator, and me, the mom who nags her son about homework and personal hygiene! Who’da thunk!?”