Rainbow kids will save the day


At San Francisco’s LGBT Pride, June 26, 2005.

So the first, I’m sure henceforth annual, Blogging for LGBT Families Day seems to have been a rollicking success. As of Friday morning, June 2, 120 blogs sent a shout out about queer parenthood. [Update as of June 8: 133.] Reading the entries (cataloged here by Dana Rudolph of Mombian, our she-ro hostess with the mostess) has been like–hmm–like sinking my chops into a juicy, foil-wrapped, plastic basket-bedded Mission District burrito after a long sojourn away from the California homeland. Would that be it? Or like dropping into a hot tub (or a Hot Tub; whichever) after a 12 hour-long moving day. Or like, well, like reading all about other queer parents’ experiences, here in the rosy dawn of my (de facto queer-o) parenthood, and at a moment of enormous national growing pains over the struggle for lgbt civil and human rights.

I’m still working my way through the many entries, but the early report here is that I loved Diary of a Lesbian Step-Mother’s retro-blog of her piece, “Girls Can’t Marry Girls” Here’s a taste:

At breakfast through the lethargic language of spelling we debated our options. “Should we C-O-N-F-R-O-N-T his P-A-R-E-N-T-S and ask them why they told him that girls can’t M-A-R-R-Y other G-I-R-L-S?” It’s like speaking in code in front of an NSA agent, though, because she is prematurely learning to spell, or at least learning to piece together some meaning from the pronounced words among the spelled-out ones in the way that one can step back and tell what the puzzle will look like long before it is finished. “WHOSE PARENTS???” She asked. Soon we’ll be learning Bulgarian or some other obscure Slavic language just to be able to discuss sensitive matters in her presence as I suspect Pig Latin is already neatly under her belt.

Our own little monkey is still under two years old, but I am certain the hour is fast approaching that we won’t be able to spell K-A-K-A safely. At least not without hearing her titter afterwards.

The image above is of the selfsame crib-on-wheels I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. From the step-off at Spear Street and all along the first half of the parade we kept catching up with it and then getting passed by it, like how you keep gaining on and getting passed by a bus, when you’re cycling down a city street. Only eventually one of the wheels finally gave way–no, no injuries; the kids were skipping along the street outside the crib by then. When the crib was finally steered off the street and onto the sidewalk, umpteen blocks into the parade, we who’d been watching its progress cheered it heartily, for the limping but inspirational thoroughbred it was.

Happy Blogging for LGBT Families Day!

 

June first’s Blogging for LGBT Families Day, the brain child of Dana Rudolph, who publishes Mombian: Sustenance for Lesbian Moms. An exciting idea, especially for me who is: (a) still fairly recently a parent (lil’ monkey is clocking in at 22 mo. old later in June); (b) still fairly new to bloggery; yet (c) decades into a dedication to civil/human rights advocacy & community network building, via whatever means works best. And obviously the uncensored, unmediated, under-the-radar, into-your-home access of blogs would be a very effective means. So, first, a resounding Huzzah! to Ms. Rudolph for a great idea.

As with many of the other blogs who’ve participated in Blogging for LGBT Families Day (corralled here; it’s a thrill to see the number & range), the whole topic of this blog falls squarely in the midst of queer/lgbt family. By that measure, any ole entry might do to honor the occasion. I’ve already talked about my personal path to parenthood in an essay in Confessions of the Other Mother (the opening section of my piece is excerpted on editor Harlyn Aizley’s site). So in honor of Blogging for LGBT Families Day, I thought I might share my thus far warmest most revelatory moment, regarding the impact queer families will have on queer civil/human rights, and hopefully all civil/human rights.

Last year we marched in San Francisco’s bodacious queer family contingent, reportedly one of the largest in the parade, and collected, as did most families, in the kiddie playground at Civic Center Plaza. (Our Family Coalition and COLAGE and legions of volunteer help see to it that this space happens, which is a post-parade godsend.) Oh, certainly, strolling up Market Street with my impossibly adorable daughter atop my shoulders was a huge thrill; huger still was the thrill I got whenever I had a chance to see how much fun she was having, too.

monkey owns Market St., SF Pride, 06.27.05

One among many high points en route was a crib on wheels, emblazoned on the side with the sign “Rainbow Kids Will Save the Day.” That might have been what got me thinking. Because when we got to the end of the march, and encamped in the kiddie playground with our posse of lesbo family friends, I had a revelation.

The playground was choked with kids: big kids, little kids, kids sporting the entire gorgeous range of possible human complexion, tired kids, crying kids, drooling asleep on their parent’s shoulder kids, hopped up kids, totally immersed in their play kids. And I realized: 100% of these kids’ parents are queer, in one way or another, yet only a handful of these kids will wind up that way, most likely. And by handful I mean the standard 15-25% we expect in any given cohort, under current heteronormative/homophobic cultural conditions. But that makes for something really interesting.

These kids will grow up and be whoever they are (gardeners, cooks, CPAs, teachers, mechanics, bike messengers, capitalists, collectivistas, what have you) and take for granted the necessity that their family be legally and socially recognized. And when the straight kids among them advocate for queer civil/human rights, they will be doing so from a unique position. They will be both outside and inside the group whose civil/human rights they are agitating for. They will be both personally unimpeachable, on the one hand, and yet personally utterly committed and immersed. That paradox is fascinating to me.

And I know this is old news to folks who have older kids, and for those who are activist kids in lgbt families (god love ya, you people!). But it’s brand new to me. As I took in the riot of possibility in the “Family Garden” at Civic Center, I thought, Hot damn, I cannot wait for these kids to grow up and see what they do. Then I looked down at my wee sleeping daughter and thought, But none too fast, little monkey, none too fast.

Amor vincit omnia.

Mr. Mom in the house


Mr. Keaton in his breakout role.

It’s a new day.

A week ago I left full time, 8-5 employment, and began to bob into the sea of fiscal indeterminacy. Scary-painful like pulling off a BandAid all at once. But the payoffs, in the realm of parental connection, have been immediate and profound and I will do all I can to preserve them.

On Monday, the beloved & I took our usual stroll to the cafe in the morning, after which I ordinarily would peel off to go to work. At the point when we all began to stand up and prepare to go off to work. At the point when we all began to stand up and prepare to go, the lil’ monkey said, “Bye bye, Baba.” Mama sqatted down to her and said, “Honey, it’s no more ‘Bye bye Baba.’ Baba’s going to be with you all day.” I squatted down on the other side of her.

The girlie got that faraway look in her eye while she was processing this information. A moment or two passed. Then she plunged straight into my chest and hung on tight like a baby monkey ready for a fast haul through the jungle.

That was Monday, my first real Mr. Mom day. Out strolling through downtown, I saw two friends who are fellow Mr. Moms, but in different ways. One’s a man, a burly, refrigerator-shaped man who was a full-time contractor but now works a sporting goods retail job half-time so he can be home with the kids more. The other’s a full-time working butch mom, like I just was. He was doing errands, she was on a coffee break from work. I felt all hail-fellow-well-met with them, and with every damn person I saw that morning. Two gals, a stroller, some spare time, and some sunshine.

It’s a new day, and a new night, too: last night, for the first time in her 20 months here, the lil’ monkey called out for Baba. The beloved takes the night shifts and I do the early mornings. Around 2AM, the beloved went in to the girlie’s cries, figuring they were for Mama, which they always have been. Countless times, when she has needed the rest, I’ve gone in, only to be rebuffed with “No; Mama!” But last night, just a week into my 50/50 parenthood, it was me the girlie wanted. When she discerned who it was that had come to comfort her, for the first time ever she declared to her Mama, “No; Baba!” After a bunch of confirmation that she indeed knew what she wanted, and wasn’t mispronouncing “Mama,” I went in.