It’s not a phase.

I was asked by a friend recently to give a lecture to students studying psychiatry about treating LGBTQ youth. I decided I wanted to make a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” as part of the presentation. I started asking my clients their experiences with healthcare providers: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I took away a few things from these discussions. I did not have one client on my caseload who had not in some way experienced discrimination in the form of micro aggression from healthcare providers. I also did not have one client who was absolutely horrified by their experience. They all relayed to me stories very easily and with flat affects about these awful experiences. They only became somewhat upset about it when I reflected to them how terribly they had been treated in those moments. Overall they had a calm acceptance of how they had been treated and discriminated against.

All of these clients who had been shamed, questioned, and put down by healthcare providers who they were supposed to be able to trust, were under the age of twenty-two.

Some of these clients I knew for awhile. These small moments of discrimination had never been shared before I asked. Thank God I asked. Why hadn’t I asked before? I had asked all of them at some point about discrimination they faced. But I never specifically asked about that discrimination being within healthcare.

Micro-aggression is an amazing term. It captures the daily put-downs and small discriminatory acts that cause the break down of people’s souls.

In the “What not to say” list one of my clients said to tell people “Never ask if it’s a phase.”

It’s not a phase.

By the time a person comes out to a healthcare provider they know it’s not a phase. They’ve likely been tortured by thoughts and feelings for years and over time developed language of their own to name themselves as gay or lesbian or queer or transgender or whatever.

It has never crossed my mind to ask clients if this is a phase. Because even if their sexual attraction or gender identity changes and develops over time I would not demean their narrative down to a “phase”. It’s not the role of any healthcare provider to question a person’s self-definition in a demeaning manner.

Healthcare providers are in a unique position. We are a necessity for people because our human bodies are fragile so every one in the LGBTQ community will have at least one experience in their lifetime with some sort of provider. If an individual presents for mental health services they didn’t just decide to come in for services. They have been thinking and thinking and picking up to call and hanging up and canceling the intake, and rescheduling, so when they finally make it through the door to be asked if it’s a phase just made that entire struggle worthless. They walked through the door looking for a safe space and instead found more ignorance and intolerance.

Microaggression is defined as “a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.” per Google Dictionary.

It’s calling your transgender son “her, she” or “daughter” for the thousandth time even though they’ve been out as a male for a year. It’s a question of the validity of your belief that you identify as gay or lesbian or bisexual. It’s an assumption that because you’re a gay male you have HIV or you’re a slut or you want to be my bestie and go to the mall with me. It’s the assumption that your lesbian daughter’s girlfriend made your daughter this way. It’s the displacement of blame for something that should not be seen as a problem in the first place. It’s outing your child to people they are not ready to be out to. It’s seeing headlines in the news every day of transgender people being murdered and reading the comments from people who feel this was an act of justice. It’s living next to neighbors who you’re not sure are LGBTQ friendly. It’s being on edge everywhere you go and in every interaction you have with every person in a 24 hour period.

It’s so many little things that happen daily in the lives of LGBTQ youths that scrape away their self worth that leads to the high rates of depression and the high suicide rate.

Suicide rate is such a pretty term for young people killing themselves.

This is a message to all my fellow healthcare providers in whatever capacity you interact with LGBTQ individuals do it with compassion and validation because kids are dying. Don’t let your own beliefs interfere with the implicit oath you take by working in healthcare that you will provide quality care to all individuals. All providers should be safe spaces for all minorities.

Don’t ask if it’s a phase. It’s not.

Don’t tell them their sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t important to the care you are providing. It is.

Do ask if they feel depressed. Do ask if they have thoughts about dying.

Don’t screw up the potentially one and only contact with healthcare a person has before they die because of ignorance and hate.

10 Questions You’re Not Allowed to Ask a Lesbian

  1. “How do lesbians have sex?” 
    1. This question is inappropriate to ask of anyone, why people think it’s okay to ask lesbians is beyond me. If you would like more information on this subject please reference here (It’s not a link to porn).
  2. “How did you get pregnant? Did you like inject the sperm?” 
    1. Please see “How lesbians get pregnant”
  3. “Did your wife breastfeed too?” 
    1. Yes I’ve been asked this. Again I think this falls into the “It’s none of your business” category. She didn’t for the record. Any question having to do with another person’s private parts (genitals and/or breasts) are quite intimate and should not be asked unless you have an intimate relationship with the person.
  4. “So when did you choose this lifestyle?” 
    1. Sigh. Yes I’ve been asked this. So has my wife. For me I agree it was a choice. I mean I didn’t choose to fall in love with my wife. I certainly wasn’t trying to. But it happened. I could be content with a male. My wife however was born gay. She would never have chosen this especially after everything she has lost. Now that I’m married I really resent the term “lifestyle”. It’s not a style; it’s my fucking life. I live and breathe my wife and my kids and to have it demeaned down to a “style” pisses me off. My style is if I’m into bellbottoms or leather. Not my family and the people I love. They are not a trend or a passing fancy. They are my life. Not my style.
  5. But don’t your kids need a Dad?”
    1. Short answer is No. Longer answer is here. That blog post lists statistics showing there is no damage done to children raised by single moms or two moms or two dads. Parenting is about fostering healthy attachments and love- that’s what creates healthy adults.
  6. (This question is for us “beautifully curved” lesbians who end up married to a woman but who used to date men and would probably date men again aka Me) “So does this mean you are bisexual?”
    1. I cringe when people ask me this. Most don’t now that I’m married to a woman. But I was definitely asked this a lot by people from my past who knew I dated men previously. It just doesn’t feel like it fits me. I’m not into labels. Just accept that I am married to a woman and don’t try to stick me in an uncomfortable box because it makes you feel better. Same goes for asking if some one is a lesbian or gay or transgender or whatever. People may not fit into a nice label for you. Live with it.
  7. “How do you know you don’t like being with a guy?”
    1. In most cases we’ve tried it. If we haven’t- then my reverse question to a straight male would be “How do you know you wouldn’t like being with a guy?” You just kind of know. Anal sex may not be that appealing to you, or perhaps the male body in general just turns you off. Well that’s generally how lesbians feel about males. The attraction and desire isn’t there.
  8. “Who’s the husband in your marriage?” (“Who’s the man?” “Who’s the guy?”)
    1. There isn’t one. We both have vagina’s. Hence the whole lesbian thing. People in our society have a binary view of relationships- one must be male and one must be female. The whole gay thing should do away with that but it doesn’t. Because my wife has short hair people assume she’s more masculine, when in reality she takes way longer to do her hair and emotionally she’s definitely the female. So just because one lesbian in the relationship looks more masculine doesn’t mean they identify more as male than female. That’s called an assumption.
  9. “So does that mean you are into threesome’s?”
    1. Short answer No. My wife and I were at a bar in Manhattan once. We went away for an overnight just because. It was a vodka bar, and there were a couple business men at the bar with us. We were trying to enjoy the night away in the city and this one man in particular kept hitting on us. I told him we were married and he laughed and said, “So?” Like I want to go to Manhattan for a romantic night with my wife and pick up some drunk loser in a vodka bar?! No. The answer will always be no. So stop. I remember thinking if I was here with a man I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit. That pissed me off more. We left that bar and found another without a drunk asshole trying to pick us up. Wherever we go because we are two females we attract straight male attention because they seem to find it intriguing. For the record we couldn’t find them less intriguing.
  10. “Why do you need a gay pride? Why can’t I have straight pride?”
    1. I’m going to make a comparison here. 3rd Rock From the Sun is one of my all time favorite TV shows. Dick (the main character) learns about the Black student union at the university where he teaches and it eats away at him that he can’t go to it (he’s white). So he asks around and tries to find the white student union (there isn’t one) and then he asks about white pride stuff, and he ends up at a Klan rally. There is no white student union or white pride because white people are privileged already and they have never had to fight for equal rights.
    2. Straight pride happens every day; in every movie, in every television commercial, on every magazine cover. Heterosexual couples are the “norm” and homosexual couples have to fight for our rights to exist. So yes, we are going to take some time and bring some awareness to our fight for equality. We don’t need gay pride. We need a way to bring faces and names to our struggle and to shine light on our fight. Since I started writing this blog post so many of my heterosexual friends and family members have told me “I’ve read so many things that I never thought of before.” These are unbiased people who are related to a lesbian being enlightened. Because unless you live our life every day you don’t know the struggles we face. Taking a day, a weekend, a month to shove the LGBT people into people’s faces is fine in my book. We need the exposure otherwise people forget that we exist and stop caring. Sad but true.

I’m sure there are many other questions lesbians have been asked that are rude or inappropriate. Curiosity is natural and I have much more patience and compassion when I know I am being asked questions from a place of kindness and a person who is just trying to understand. But at the same time I’m not asking for anyone to understand me. I’m just trying to live my life the way I want to.

Before you ask a lesbian a question think about it- do you need to know this or do you want to know? Would you be offended if someone asked you this question? Are you lowering your voice to say it out loud? If any of these are true you probably shouldn’t be asking.

Why I’m Not Wearing Underwear

So this whole C-section business is very misrepresented.

Also the whole twin pregnancy situation.

Here’s the situation. I’ve lost weight since giving birth twenty-two months ago. But there remains a couple things that people don’t tell you about before a C-Section. 1- a large scar and 2- a pooch. In my case a large pooch. A pooch my friends is stretched out skin and likely fat now, that may never go back into where it used to be. I did not have a six pack pre-baby but I could wear button jeans in a size 10. That was my happy slim size. I am 5’7″ and when I was at my healthiest in terms of diet and exercise it was a comfortable size 10. Now I think of a size 10 as some far off dream land that I will never see again.

Because even if I get pants in my “size” they don’t quite make it around the pooch and then they kind of push in on my scar, and the whole thing is just freaking uncomfortable. Enter the world of “Mom” pants. I never knew why mom pants had elastic waistbands. I assumed it was because all mom’s got fat and lazy. Just kidding. Sort of. I didn’t realize that it was because mom’s have babies which leaves your body a fucking mess.

I discovered the world of stretchy pants. Because buttons just freaking hurt. When I voiced this to my friend, also a mom of twins, she said it took her six years to be able to wear jeans with buttons. SIX YEARS! Other mom’s I’ve talked to have said 2-6 years yes.

Now let’s talk about underwear. Today I went to put underwear on after a shower. I had recently purchased some new sets. Yes they are the right size. But if they go above the scar then they kind of roll down because of the freaking pooch and if they go below the pooch it hurts the scar and has a weird look of muffin-top-ish through my pants. So I tried on three pairs this morning after my shower. Becoming more and more upset with each pair. The last pair I actually put the pants on too and was like come on suck it up it’s fine it’s just underwear.

I felt it start to roll down the pooch under my pants…I started to cry. I went to pull down my pants to try on another pair, when I remembered my cotton pairs are down in the dryer, so with my pants at my knees I grabbed scissors in my drawer and cut off the offensive pair threw them in the wastebasket, stopped crying, said “Fuck this” and am now not wearing underwear.

The first year I breastfed. I had to keep a supply up for twins and my breastmilk supply would tank without carbs. So I had a really hard time the first year trying to lose because I had to eat so damn much to keep up the supply. Now I am into the second year. I am proud to say I am losing. I am exercising more, and I am eating much fewer carbs and more vegetables. I’ve probably dropped pant sizes but I refuse to try them on yet. I’m good with yoga pants and dressier yoga pants. My bras got bigger and my shirts pre-pregnancy are starting to fit again which is great. But it’s hard. I have a lot more respect for Mom’s who are overweight now than I ever did before.

Because I don’t feel good about myself, and I’m sure other mom’s with baby weight still hanging on also don’t feel good. It’s also really sucky to not be able to buy sexy underwear or just any underwear that’s not plain cotton from the maternity store for going on two years now. Our society praises the young thin and beautiful. But most women’s bodies have scars. We have stretch marks. We are thick. We have droopy boobs because of breastfeeding. We have pooches- some bigger than others- and that’s okay. We have dark circles under our eyes because let’s face it even when they aren’t babies they still don’t sleep or maybe that’s just mine.

Recently I went to work with my hair done, jewelry on, make-up done, and looking confident because I was wearing a pre-baby shirt. Two co-workers commented on how good I looked and I’m like- so this is how I used to look every day- what the fuck have I been rolling in looking like for the past twenty-two months? But then I was thinking, well probably looking like I was up all night with two babies. Walking out the door getting spit up on. Walking out the door without my make-up on or forgetting to brush my teeth. I learned fast as a mom to have double supplies- one set at home and one set at work.

I remember feeling like I should get a medal every morning walking into work when I first went back with twenty week old twins. It was a freaking miracle we all made it out the door in the morning.

I’m going about my fitness and health journey in my own way and in my own time. I’m trying not to pressure myself and just letting things happen. I’m trying to make healthy choices and I’m seeing the results.

But I’d support any mom who says fuck it and eats her bowl of ben & jerry’s every night because that’s her five minutes of heaven after a day and night of hell.

My point to this is that we as women and Mom’s should support each other. We also shouldn’t be trying to live up to this crazy ideal society places on us. I mean did you see George Clooney’s wife three months after giving birth to twins? I wanted to kill her. But I recognize that she clearly had a different journey than mine. I’m trying to respect that and not want to kill her. It’s hard.

Anyway. Any time you or your wife loses her mind over underwear or jeans or a bra or a shirt in a post-baby body. Just hug yourself or hug her and say we will get there. But if you have to cut the offensive piece of clothing off to feel good, then fucking do it.

Dykes and Privilege

There’s this quiz floating around Facebook about how privileged you are. I took it. I got 36% out of 100%. Basically not privileged. There were a couple reasons. It asked questions about curly hair assuming the answers would only pertain to Black people. I am not Black, but I have excessively curly hair and I’ve had all kinds of questions about it over the years including people asking to touch it. The quiz also asked about gender identity and sexual orientation. I’m pretty sure that the fact I identify within my assigned gender is the only reason I even got 36%. Because based off of my curly hair, lesbian status, and female status I was assumed to be a Black female lesbian and told I have no privilege in the USA.

This made laugh because honestly if I didn’t laugh I would cry.

First off I thought a male had to make this quiz up because what idiot doesn’t realize white women have curly hair too? Then I felt bad because I was making horrible generalizations about some stupid white guy sitting in front of a computer screen in his mom’s basement or something. But I couldn’t stop myself. Then I felt bad that literally the only difference they could come up with between the rich African American culture and white people was curly hair that looks fake. Are you kidding me?

Then I couldn’t get it out of my head. Because my sons are white males. I have no idea how they will identify in terms of gender or sexual identity but they already have white male privilege. They came out of the womb one step ahead of most of the population. What do I do with that? How do I raise boys into men?

Like any person with a question I googled it.

There are a lot of articles about how to raise Black men and how to raise Christian men but not so many about how to raise white boys into men. Because it’s just intuition? Because people assume they will just make it? I can tell you the most awful experiences of discrimination I have witnessed and faced have been from white straight males. A Queer friend of mine made the exact same statement recently, that walking down the street she is most terrified of white males. Because they have privilege? Because they can say what they want and get away with it?

Having babies seems easy compared to raising men. I want them to be compassionate and kind but not weak, tough but not aggressive. The country is so divided right now and people’s ideas of what a man looks like are so different. I’m trying to enjoy their pudgy faces and bellies and ignore the unease settling into my stomach about who they will become. But occasionally I get glimpses. They look at me sideways or with a mischievous little grin and I can see a boy in there not a toddler.

Parenting unites people across religions, races, and sexual identities. Because we all want the same thing for our kids…at least that’s what I used to think. I’m learning that some parents want their kids to be happy based on their own definitions of happiness- cookie cutter house, heterosexual marriage, kids, etc. While some parents want their kids to define their own happiness even if it is anti-everything their parents have taught them. I want my kids to be good people, don’t we all? But my definition of good people is clearly different from my wife’s parents who think good people attend church twice a week, are straight, disown any one who isn’t straight, and don’t question religion. Whereas my definition of good people is more broad, more complicated I guess.

I feel like this is the shit kids should be talking about in school. What makes some one good? What makes someone nice? What makes someone mean? What defines a bully? Because my definition is clearly different from a person who believes in white supremacy. At the end of the day who’s right? And how the hell do I teach that to my kids?

Parenting is so much more than the 3 AM feedings, and the constant vacuuming, running around, and wiping aways snots and tears. It’s a daily life lesson in love, happiness, and morality. What do you choose to fight your kids on? What battles are the important ones? For two lesbians raising two babies into men it feels more complicated some days. I can’t take away white privilege. It’s unfortunately just there. But how do we teach them to harness it and not abuse it?

And one day if they are identifying differences between two ethnicities will they be humble and open-minded enough to recognize that hair does not delineate an entire race? And that perhaps we don’t need a quiz to tell us about white male privilege? But then I’m like why did I even take the quiz?

Race is such a loaded topic I’ve been hesitant to address it in here in a blog post. But when I started this site I promised myself to get into the nitty gritty. I am white. I am aware there is white privilege. This is based off my life experiences and my experiences working in healthcare for the last decade. Assumptions are made all the time about minorities. Like in the emergency department one time, a woman of Color accused me of racism. It was groundless, she was not in her right mind at the time. But still, my co-workers came up to me to make sure I was okay throughout the night because the whole scene was very intense. After the sixth person said “Of all people, I know you didn’t say anything racist,” I finally asked, okay so why does everyone keep saying “of all people”? The response floored me, “Well because your dating a woman. Your gay, duh.” So because I’m with a woman I can’t be racist? That was the assumption made by literally all of my co-workers. In my case it worked out. I’m not racist. However, I was appalled. Because I certainly know gay people who are racist. Just like I know gay people who voted for #45. Which literally makes me want to vomit, but moving on.

My point is that not all minorities like each other. There are plenty of Hispanics and African Americans who are not pro-gay. And not all gay people are pro-every other minority. It’s weird I know. It’s also weird that some LGBQ people don’t support transgender folks. I’m thinking there’s just not enough of us to split hairs. I’ll take all the friends I can get.

I’m going to close now with a memory from seventh grade. I was sitting next to my friend. I had known him forever. We were best friends through middle school from the age of 4 or 5. Our science teacher wanted to do a class devoted to “diversity” so we had to come up with a list of 5 differences between us. I named one, “boy/girl” then I literally sat there chewing my pencil unable to come up with anything. He looked at me like I was the biggest idiot on the planet and said, “Uh, I’m half-Black!” I was like, oh yeah, sure, write that down. I was so floored by that revelation. I literally had never thought of him as Black or white. He was just my friend and always had been. I felt uncomfortable and weird and wanted to say just take that back buddy. I didn’t want that to be a difference between us. But it was. We never talked about it again. We both lived in the whitest of white towns, and there he was half Black. And I literally never brought it up again, and neither did he.

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

When you don’t have any nipples.

It’s more common than you might think.

So I have nipples. I have never not had nipples. They look a little different now that I’ve breastfed twin boys for eleven months. But they are still there.

The field of mental health teaches me lessons regularly. I see people at their most vulnerable. I am trusted with secrets and truths that will go to my grave with me. I am constantly and profoundly touched by the human condition that presents and unfolds in front of me.

There are two main sources of clients who don’t have nipples. Women who have had mastectomies and transgender men who have had chest reductions and opted to not have their nipples replaced. I’ve had both types of clients in my office.

(I know this is a blog about being a lesbian, but this post is going to veer more toward a commentary on the strife transgender individuals face. My site is trans-affirmative, non-binary supportive, agender accepting, and any one who feels otherwise is entitled to start their own blog post and write about it there. Judgemental and bigoted comments will not be tolerated here.)

Cancer survivors are respected, revered even. My mom is one of them. So is my Aunt, my grandmother, and many close friends. I have lost friends and family members to cancer. I have a sincere respect for cancer and the battle that was fought against it by all the survivors.

Transgender males who receive top surgery have been through some shit. To come out as transgender alone risks losing one’s family and friends. To then proceed with one’s transition- in whatever fashion that may shape up to be- again leaves one open to constant derision. My clients who have decided to transition, who then decide to have top surgery then also face the choice of having or not having their nipples replaced.

This brings a myriad of issues that some one who has not had top surgery may not think about. If a person is college aged and they identify as male and they live on a floor with shared showers they now have to navigate the dreaded “locker room” or “shower room”. People on their floor may not know they are transgender. They likely just assume the person is male. The transgender male now must approach the group showers and either decide to just do it and go in with just a towel and no shirt and figure out how they are going to explain the “sans” nipple appearance, or they have to wear a bathrobe, slide into the shower with the bathrobe on, take it off once in the shower and try and hang it somewhere while they shower then turn shower off, put robe back on, without showing naked body to any other males in the shower room.

That whole process may take less then fifteen minutes. But it’s something they have to do every freaking day. Fifteen minutes of possible torture/panic/anxiety every day.

Showering is supposed to be relaxing and peaceful. But to a person with no nipples and a transgender identification it can be hell.

People sometimes have this image in their head that once transgender individuals go on hormones or have those surgeries (there is often some vague notion of something to do with boobs and genitals but no actual knowledge of what these surgeries might entail) that the transgender journey is complete. I wrote in one of my blogs that coming out isn’t a one time thing, it’s a lifelong dilemma. That’s how it is for people who identify as transgender. It’s not just “Got my top surgery, I’m good now.” Top surgery means no more binders, yay, but now there are brand new obstacles to overcome.

These clients of mine are often young. They are brave and I have the utmost regard for them. If you have the preconceived notion that transgender individuals choose this life for themselves I can tell you that you are wrong. No one would choose to live in a body that doesn’t fit. No one would choose to then go through emotional and physical pain to alter their body to fit their gender identity only to then have to face potentially 15 minutes of absolute horror on a daily basis when all they want to do is shower without fear of judgement. Without fear for their safety. Without fear.

I cannot pretend to understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of some one who is transgender. But I can raise my voice and say You are Beautiful. I can write my blog post about not having nipples, and raise awareness to perhaps just 15 minutes of a day in the life.

I will also say that whether or not an individual has nipples under their military uniform makes no difference in their ability to carry a gun and wear the uniform.

An important note before I close. Do not ever ask some one if they have nipples. It’s none of your freaking business. Do not ever ask some one what their genitalia includes or doesn’t. It’s rude. And again, it shouldn’t matter. Most people think this is common sense. But I have never met a transgender individual who has not been inappropriately asked about their chests and genitalia.

Today or tomorrow when you go to take a shower. Just think about the freedom you have in your own body and the comfort. And remember that not every one has that, and they need support in their fight to get it.

Dykes and Daycare

This morning when I was pulling into daycare for our daily drop-off I spotted another lesbian couple.

I felt a lot of different ways. I wanted to run out of the car, and say “Hey, we are lesbian Mom’s too! Can we be best friends?” Then I thought that would sound insane. I thought about casually saying hi. But I’m not an overly sociable person and walking the boys in is an adventure in and of itself. It’s like herding cats. So I just sat there in the car for a second watching them walk in with their son. Until my sons starting saying “Mama, Mama” and I was back to reality. I proceeded to put the shoes on my one son who rips them off every car trip. Got him out. Then walked him over to the other side of the car, barricaded him in with my legs while I pull out the other one who is screaming because in the five seconds we’ve been outside of the car he thinks I’ve forgotten I have two sons and will leave him in the car forever.

Then I get him out. We walk in holding hands, with the boys pointing out every bush, fake decorative animal in the bushes, and person we see. Then we push the buzzer. Then we open the door and are into daycare.

Getting to the walking in stage was kind of amazing. I used to have to call and ask some one to come help me get one out while I got the other one. Because I could not carry two carriers and the full diaper bag in by myself.

But I digress.

I got inside and forgot about the other gay couple because the boys were wandering around saying Hi and attempting to go into every classroom that was not theirs. I finally got them into their room. Handed off the diaper bag. Went through the daily “good-bye” ritual of many hugs and kisses and then when I got back outside I remembered. We are not alone.

When I was about six months pregnant we realized that we needed a daycare. We also realized that daycare costs a shit ton of money.

Thus began our daycare search.

We toured a couple in the area. We did not call and say hi we are lesbian mom’s looking for a tour. We both showed up though. So it was apparent.

I was so sick when I was pregnant so that was one the few times I really did not care about presenting as a gay family. I was focused mostly on not puking. No one said anything to us about being gay friendly or having other gay families as part of the daycare and we didn’t ask.

The boys love daycare. The daycare we chose has amazing staff and an owner who is on top of everything. Flashforward to Mother’s Day. They sent home two beautiful crafts one from each boy to each of us. Luckily we have two sons, so we each got one craft. But I think they would have done two even if we only had one kid. Then it was Father’s Day. They sort of apologized when they handed us the presents, but they said they didn’t want them to feel left out (they were four months old). The Father’s Day presents were equally wonderful and we thought it was sweet. So then the precedent was set.

Clearly the daycare had no experience with same sex couples, because it took a few weeks for the infant teacher to realize my wife was their second mom not a baby-sitter or Aunt. Someone who only worked mornings was there one afternoon and almost didn’t let her take them. The worker was used to only seeing me at drop-off and told her that in fact she was not their mom. I was. That was really the only hiccup we had, and that particular worker was quite embarrassed when the situation was explained by the owner.

We sent a Christmas Card. There were pictures on the front and back. The front had a picture of my wife and I each holding a baby, and kissing. On the back were more family photos. I came in to our photo hung on the bulletin, with the back facing out. The owner actually said something to me without me enquiring, saying she just liked the back better. But I believe it’s because she didn’t want families seeing us kissing. Whether that’s because she knows some families are more conservative leaning or for our own protection I’m not sure and I never asked. But clearly I remember.

Daycare was the first time I had to leave my children with strangers. I had to trust these strangers to not only care for them but to respect our family unit. Straight people know how hard it is leaving your kids with some one else. But you may never have thought to question that the people you are leaving them with would support your family or make disparaging remarks about your family. There is an added layer of fear for gay families. Because we aren’t just a family, we are a gay family. So when I saw the other lesbian couple pull into daycare I wanted to weep with joy. I wanted to give them a hug and say welcome to this place. They will give you Father’s Day cards but they mean well. I wanted to reassure them that our kids were fine here and no one ever made a judgement against us or made us feel different.

But I had my two sons with me and I thought they might think I was crazy. So I didn’t. I did call my wife immediately and tell her about the new lesbian family at daycare. She was also super excited. It’s so bizarre. No heterosexual couple I know has ever been excited because another heterosexual family shows up somewhere. But among the LGBT community it’s a big deal. It creates a feeling of community and safety. I never felt unsafe but I never felt totally secure. Now at the next daycare Halloween parade we won’t be the only same sex couple and there is relief and excitement from the knowledge. It’s not something I even knew was weighing on me until I saw them today.

In the coming weeks I will definitely introduce myself. But I feel like I need to calm down first so I’m not that crazy lady who was way too excited to meet the gay family.