It’s Pride Month once again, which means that I am once again inspired to take stock of what I’m proud of this year. As always, my son tops the list. He’s finishing elementary school this month, which seems incredible, not because I ever doubted he’d do it, but because it seems just yesterday that I was taking him to kindergarten. He’s developing his own interests and talents and is almost as tall as I am now (not that that really takes much; any height he has comes from his donor).
I’m also feeling proud at the moment because of the surge of marriage equality victories across the country — victories that relied heavily on arguments about the best interests of our children. It used to be that “Think of the children!” was an argument against marriage equality. Now that’s an argument for it.
The judges in Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, and Pennsylvania (just to mention the most recent rulings) all affirmed that children do just as well with same-sex parents as with different-sex ones. To deny same-sex couples the chance to have the protections and stability that marriage can provide for their children is not in the states’ best interest, they said. (I’d argue that we should provide children of same-sex parents with better protections outside of marriage as well, just as we do for children of different-sex parents born out of wedlock — but that’s a somewhat separate legal matter.)
This brings us to another thing to be proud of: the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts, the first U.S. state to enact it. My son was born about a year before it happened, and I’m proud he represents the first generation to grow up knowing that same-sex parents could get married somewhere, should they wish.
Part of what has changed attitudes in our country is the growing presence of LGBT families in the media — drama and comedy as well as news media. That’s something of which we can all be proud. ABC’s “Modern Family,” which includes gay dads in its ensemble cast, is one of the most awarded comedy series of all time. Sister network ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” about two moms and their mix of biological, adopted, and foster kids, has won critical acclaim, including Television Academy Honors “for using the power of television to bring awareness to important social issues.” Even better, the show has garnered an avid audience of youth who follow the storylines of the teen characters.
Both “The Fosters” and “Modern Family” aired the weddings of the parents this year. Season-ending weddings are a television trope; having season-ending weddings of same-sex parents means we’ve arrived, at least in some pop-culture sense. I happen to believe that pop culture is a leading indicator for legal and political change, though, so that’s not a frivolous statement.
Looking back as well as forward, I’m proud to be part of a long history of LGBT parents, which began decades before marriage equality was the driving part of the LGBT rights movement. It’s a history that is still being set down, in films like Debra Chasnoff’s “Choosing Children,” about thefirst generation of lesbians to become parents after coming out, and books like Daniel Winunwe Rivers’ “Radical Relations,” which charts the history of gay and lesbian parents since World War II. Our history roots us as we grow into the future.
The National Park Service recently recognized this heritage when it announced a study to identify “places and events associated with the story of LGBT Americans for inclusion in the parks and programs of the agency.” I’m very excited about this, not only because my family and I are frequent visitors to the National Parks and Historic Sites, but because it places LGBT people firmly in the acknowledged course of our nation’s history. I’m reminded of the old saying (sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill) that “history is written by the victors.” We haven’t won quite yet, but things are looking hopeful.
Our stories are still being told, and I’m very proud of all the bloggers who have shared their stories on Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day, an annual event I’ve been hosting at my blog for the past nine years. Participants have included LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, the childfree, our children, and allies. This year’s celebration just passed, and I invite you to stop by Mombian.com and read some of their posts.
We tell our tales in many ways throughout the year, of course: on blogs, on the news, and in everyday conversations in workplaces, playgrounds, coffee shops, and supermarkets. I am proud to be a part of this telling and retelling, this iterative process of educating and building bridges. I’m even more proud, however, of the LGBT kids, children of LGBT parents, and allied youth who tell their stories every day in their schools and communities. They are the ones we are building the future for — but they are also shaping it themselves. I’m not quite sure what it will look like, but I’m guessing it will make us proud.
Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.