What Pride Means To You: A Family Full of Love and Acceptance
In our last blog, we shared Tina’s story — that of a woman who felt inspired to help others form their family and the fathers-to-be who had two daughters with her help. This time we’re looking at pride from a different perspective, that of a young person whose parents were GG clients nearly two decades ago. We had the pleasure of catching up and learning what growing up with LGBTQ+ parents has been like, in his own words. We hope you enjoy reading about what pride means to him.
An “Eclectic Family”
“I am 17 and currently going into my senior year at a high school in New York City,” he introduces himself. “My favorite pastime is probably curling up on a couch with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. I have two dads, two sisters, two guinea pigs, and a bearded dragon, so I have quite an eclectic family.”
Eclectic though his family might be, one thing was always certain: the love and support they have for each other.
“My dads are quite honestly the best people on earth,” he says. “From a young age, they made sure that my sisters and I were polite and kind. However, they also let us blossom into who we are now by encouraging our different interests. They also recognize how difficult it is to be a teenager and how important some sense of independence is to teens, and they’ve granted us that. My family is built on mutual trust and understanding which I think is invaluable.
“But, to me, the part of them that I wouldn’t change for the world is their caring nature. When I came out as trans right before I started 7th grade, they supported me. Their kindness allowed me to feel safe enough to come out to them instead of feeling trapped. And they’ve continued to support me through every step. They make sure that my sisters and I know just how loved we are, and I make sure to never take that for granted.”
His dads are, by his admission “two of the most empathetic and caring people I’ve ever known,” but some of that care and acceptance comes from their own experiences as gay men. “Of course, they still needed to educate themselves,” he says. “However, I think my dads being gay allowed them to be more accepting of my identities because they also struggled with their identity growing up.”
“I grew up surrounded by queer people, so I never thought that being LGBTQ+ was ‘different.’” He recalls going to Family Week, a week specifically designed to bring together LGBTQ+ families. As a child, he didn’t recognize that the event was specifically for LGBTQ+ families, because that was his norm. “Instead, I was focused on convincing my dads to get myself and my siblings some hermit crabs, as any child would be.
“Now, when I hear some straight people arguing that same-sex or trans parents are unable to take proper care of their children, I question whether or not they have actually listened to children who grew up in LGBTQ+ families. I look back on my childhood with reminiscence and happiness and love, not disdain.”
Of course, many things are the same as with any other family — especially Christmas morning, for this particular teen.
“It might sound cliché, but my favorite family memory is probably every Christmas,” he explains fondly. “I remember waking up at 6 am and running downstairs to see all the presents under the Christmas tree. I wouldn’t wake up my family until about 8 am, but it was always so fun when my sisters and I got to open our presents. We would spend the day playing with our new toys and watching old Christmas movies like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. “
What Does “Pride” Mean to You?
For this young man, having an accepting family made all the difference and helped him to accept himself, and it shows in the way that he celebrates pride.
“In the traditional meaning of the word, pride means being unashamedly proud of your queer identity, disregarding what society deems as ‘proper.’ However, pride is also being proud of who you’ve been, who you are, and who you will become. It is the recognition and love that you give yourself (and deserve) as a queer person.”
His own experiences have also given him a deeper appreciation of his family’s experience. “When you’re old enough to take the time to learn about LGBTQ+ history and your parents’ or siblings’ personal experiences being queer, I would,” he says. “It allows you to gain a sense of empathy for not only those in the queer community but for your queer family members, as well. Educating yourself and listening to your family members allows you to gain a deeper connection with them.”
No matter how his family might look from the outside, the biggest thing he wishes that others realized about his and other LGBTQ+ families is that they’re just like other families. “We have our fights, but there is also an immense amount of love. And I turned out pretty well, so LGBTQ+ parents are more than capable of raising children, especially if they foster an environment of unconditional love.”
Maybe for you, pride is about finally forming the family of your dreams. That’s where Growing Generations can help, by connecting intended parents to resources like surrogacy and egg donation. Contact us today to learn more or to get started.