My spouse is genderqueer, and my kids are LGBTQ.
That sentence seems so simple to me, but I never realized what a conundrum it pressed onto my spouse’s psyche. My spouse often worries that family members, friends, and strangers on the internet will assume the children are who they are because of who their father is. They worry people will erroneously assume that exposure to a genderqueer Dad has confused our children about who they are.
I’m here to refute that. My children are who they are despite anything my spouse or I bring to the relationship. Oh, sure, we made them free-thinkers (as I must remind myself every time one of them balks at just doing what I ask without asking questions about it.) We made them kind—because kindness is the greatest gift we can give them. But no amount of heterosexual kisses and butt grabbing (that’s right, I grab my spouse’s butt every so often, as they do mine, all while passing by to get the potatoes around the kitchen table) could make either of my teens heterosexual (in fact, nothing can stop my son from saying, “Ew. Gross.”)
My children also came out to us before my spouse did to them, but that’s not really the point.
The added layer of responsibility lain on an LGBTQ parent is, though. With several states passing anti-LGBTQ adoption laws under the misnomer of religious freedom, I feel it’s necessary to point it out. LGBTQ parents can’t only focus on being a good parent. They have to try to be the best parent, and have to spend far more time worrying about what all the other parents will think.
I know my privilege in this area. I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. My children are happy, healthy, and intelligent. They are as easily interested in world events as history. They aren’t easily swayed by lip service, and they know how to advocate for themselves and others. If you have a problem with me allowing my lesbian daughter to shave her head, too bad for you. If you have an issue with me allowing my middle child to grow his hair long, tough. And if you have a problem with the fact that my youngest goes by “he,” you can take a hike.
But my spouse isn’t afforded that luxury. They have to worry if people will think we’re raising our children a “certain way.”
To that I answer, yes. We are. In accordance with our values of loving unconditionally, giving of yourself when you can, and being who you are without the fear of being condemned or misunderstood. My spouse hesitated for a very long time before coming out to our children. They let the kids know if they had any questions or discomfort with their dad wearing makeup or dressing femme that was ok.
They didn’t hesitate. Just as we accepted them for exactly who they are, they accepted my spouse. They hugged their dad and told them how proud they were. My children accepted my spouse unconditionally.
And that’s the certain way we’re raising them.
Photo credit: Jarmoluk on Pixabay.