First off, yup, that’s my little brother with me in the picture and he just graduated from college and isn’t he the cutest?
Anyhow… Not too long ago I had the pleasure of attending COLAGE’s (Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere) inaugural Los Angeles event. They are the only national organization of their kind and they outdid themselves by combining their yearly board retreat with events meant for the public. Crazy overachievers! There were lots of great activities for kids with gay parents and even some for the parents themselves, and there was an awesome panel of older COLAGER’s that I unfortunately just caught the tail-end of.
For me it was a lovely chance to reconnect with a community that has abundantly supported me over the years. It was COLAGE who connected me with the media outlets that featured my family’s story over the years and it is the fellowship of other folks from LGBTQ families that consistently reminds me my story is more glorious and more complicated than the media narrative suggests. I love seeing the differences and commonalities among us. We are such a diverse group; spanning generations, a rainbow of colors and backgrounds of all kinds. There were people there for whom it was their first event, for whom the idea of a queerspawn community was novel and fresh. I went to my first COLAGE meeting before I was twelve, sometime in the very early nineties. Despite our varied experiences we had plenty in common. Watching ecstatic elementary school age youngsters chat about having gay parents, I felt ancient and very proud.
Between my conversations over that weekend and my perusal of the brilliant thesis, “Can Queerspawn be an identity?” by fellow COLAGER Danielle Sutherland, I have been marinating on some generalities I can see in the Queerspawn experience.
1. Queerspawn, which I will use as the term to describe folks with LGBTQ parents, while also acknowledging a whole other post could be written about the usage, on the whole feel a definite connection to the LGBTQ community. A connection, which goes beyond the description of an “Ally,” even if the person/queerspawn in question identifies as heterosexual.
The question of course remains as to whether we have a right to opinions on Queer matters even if we ourselves aren’t Queer? And also, whether our connection should justify our identification with being Queer ourselves or whether that would be cultural appropriation? And how best should the queer community create space for us? Many questions…. Ahem, back to the subject at hand…
2.We are used to defending our families. Whether that means policing the language of those around us, keeping secrets for those we love or withstanding bullying; We are fiercely protective.
3. We still feel pressure to identify as straight, too often from our queer families as well, in hopes of proving the conservative philosophy of “queer parents make queer kids” wrong. Hello internalized homophobia, anyone?
4. We have the experience of “coming out,” like our parents, throughout our lives, facing rejection and discrimination too.
5. We all define family through love as opposed to biology. We have been blessed with families that continue to redefine the norm and show us the true variety of what family means.
(Also, We are stronger, better, faster, smarter, sexier and more open-minded than the general population. Just kidding, not really).
What else if anything sets Queerspawn apart/ties them together? What other unknown unknowns should people be made aware of?