Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Being the Son of a Gay Dad

"You never had a gay dad!"  said my son Parker.  And he's right: I did not have a dad who self-identified as being "straight" as I have self-identified as a gay dad.  Parker and I are growing up in different households, and I'm not sure what it looks or feels like from his perspective as a straight child.

Reality came crashing into our lives on Wednesday: in the News and Observer, in the Life, Etc., section, there was a publicity "blurb" about my talk at McIntyre's Bookstore in nearby Pittsboro.  Either a young friend of Parker's or this young friend's parents read about the book reading and signing, and Parker's friend went to his high school and made fun of Parker for having a gay dad.  While Parker did what we taught him to do--walk away from this kind of harassment--nonetheless, the words hurt.  We have taught Parker that he does not have to be a victim of this abuse, nor does he need to be mad at us for living honestly and openly: the person with the problem is not Parker, and it isn't our family, but the child who harassed Parker.  

We have alerted the Principal of Parker's high school that he was harassed, and we are slowly getting the details of what happened.  And Parker told his mom that it happened on Thursday as well.  "Stay tuned" is all I can say.

Nonetheless, for all the ways we claim to being "progressive people" in the liberal bastion of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, this is an over-generalization: bigotry against LGBT people is alive and well in our little part of the world, and we are on a course of always teaching people not tolerance, but respect for the differences that make us the unique people we are in this world.
But this is easy to say and write, and harder to live!



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