There is a saying, you don’t choose your family but you do choose your friends. For some people, perhaps this is true. For many, family is a choice and for some, it is a struggle. It is a struggle for legal recognition. It is a struggle for fertility and children (this goes for both gay and straight families). It is a struggle for recognition (true for gay families, but also can be true for interracial families or other “non-traditional” families). It is a struggle for respect.
I sit writing this, waiting for the arrival of my daughter. As a bisexual woman married to a man, I worry about educating my child. I worry how to create a home environment that is safe, a place where she can grow up without shame, knowing who she is and who her family is. I worry about the best ways to help her grow in a bilingual, biracial household– especially when that is located in a third culture. I ponder how my messages can be stronger than societies. I worry about everyday stuff and big picture stuff.
But, there are lots of things I don’t have to worry about. I don’t have to worry about my husband adopting our daughter. I don’t have to think about getting his name on her birth certificate. I don’t have to be concerned someone at the hospital won’t let him visit her or visit me. I don’t have to worry about creating a legal right to our child. I don’t have to be concerned about homophobic teachers or doctors who will say something inappropriate (though I do). I don’t have to worry about flying internationally and crossing borders with her. And frankly, no family should have to worry about any of this. Family is family no matter how they have chosen to form themselves.
Yesterday, I was watching this video on Reexamining LGBT Healthcare and one line in particular jumped out to me. “It is not about sensitivity– it is about respect.”
Every June 1, Mombian hosts a blog day for LGBT families– a little space to create visibility. All the posts can be found here at Mombian.com. They are varied, powerful and well worth the read. Also, you can check out some earlier years; personally, I participated in 2010 and 2007.