I began this piece at a loss for words.
I often overthink and find it difficult to communicate my innermost thoughts. It is a challenge to trust others with the simple and complex parts of my emotions. These are some of the shortcomings that accompanied my journey through the socialization process of masculinity.
Through writing journal entries, articles, and books, I have found my voice. It allows me to articulate the full range of human emotions—from sadness to joy. Writing has become one of the tools I use to communicate with my soul.
I am raising my children to express the fullness of who they are created to be in this world.
As a father of two boys and one girl, I want them to believe in themselves and the God who dwells in their creativity, talents, skills, and abilities. Daily, I tell them they are loved and work to convince them they can accomplish great things through doing their best in every endeavor.
The love I have for my children is impossible to measure by human devices. It is a deep internal type of love, formed from the moment I saw them for the first time. Through our walks to the park, Saturday morning cartoons, soccer games in the front yard, and other activities we share, the love I have for my children continues to grow.
This month, members of the LGBTQ community and others will celebrate partnerships, relationships, and decisions to embrace their authentic selves. As someone who identifies as heterosexual and in many ways cisgender, it is a disservice for me to attempt to articulate how people who define themselves outside these labels experience life.
But what I have learned from those in the community, and what I can imagine, is that this time of year can be overwhelmed with the joy of being able to freely express all parts of one’s identity; and, perhaps difficult, as when one reflects on having felt ostracized by community and family.
What I can say for sure is that if my children evolve into adults who don’t fit the “normative” ways of identification, I will love them the same.
Whether their romantic relationships resemble what they see at home, or something entirely different, they can be sure that my arms will remain open for a hug.
During adolescence, I had no idea of the type of father I would be one day. I didn’t give it much thought. My father’s example taught me that fatherhood was about working hard and providing financial support to his children.
Now that I am a father, I took the example my dad displayed at home and expanded it to address my children’s individual needs. Similar to my father, I am disciplined and work hard to provide for my family. I also do my best to spend time with my children and to remind them every day they are loved. My sons and daughter are encouraged to be the best version of their selves.
Growing up, I teased friends who cried or didn’t perform up to par in sports as “gay.” This is not something that I teach my children. I am ashamed of this behavior and do not dismiss it as harmless childhood teasing. It was wrong, and it wasn’t until I became more educated on concepts of masculinity, gender assignments, and differences in sexual orientations that I began to stop this insensitive and immature name calling.
Today, I stand in solidarity with people from a variety of different backgrounds.
Sexual orientation or gender identification cannot define a person’s worth. We can begin to understand an individual’s value by what they say and do that is aligned with progress. Although I am far from realizing my full potential, I am glad that I found the words to express my sentiments during this important month.
In June, my column will focus on giving and acts of kindness. In alignment with this theme, I am asking you to consider contributing to an incredible organization based in Berkeley, California that provides Capoeira instruction, offers student scholarships, and supports community initiatives. You can give to this campaign here. And, share this article in solidarity with its message.
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