Parenting Teenagers Under the Gaydar
I've been with my partner, Sara, for 30 years. Admittedly, I have a few relatives (including my mother) who don't want to talk about the fact that we're gay, and we don't force them to. But they love and respect us and they treat our son just like every other kid in our family.
Sara and I are the only gay parents at our son's school and I bet half the families there don't even know it. How often do you see both parents at an event, anyway? I'm the one who's usually around since Sara is often busy with her job. When we both show up at an event, our son calls us both by our first names, so most people don't realize we're a couple. And if they do, they don't seem to care.
To be honest, I'm relieved. Raising a son is tough enough already. He's mixed-race, he's bilingual, he's very cute and he's got big plans for college and beyond. I'm already scared to death about sex and STDs and drugs and learning to drive and getting into college and paying for college. Not making a fuss about the fact that we're gay is just one less issue for us (and him) to worry about.
But I feel a little guilty about that. I used to be pretty active in the gay pride movement, but I'm not anymore. I don't keep my sexuality a secret, but I don't highlight it, either. I keep telling myself that it's OK. I'm working underground. I'm still changing hearts and minds; I'm just changing them one at a time. But the truth is I don't want my sexuality to be how everybody knows me. Because even though I like being different, I like being part of the parenting crowd, too, and I don't know if I would be as accepted if I made a big deal about being gay.