We Do Not Hang Out With Gay People.

I used to hang out with gay people;  before I was married I used to drink in gay bars, and then I got sober in gay 12 step meetings. I went to gay discos, and gay dances. I lived in the Chelsea section of NYC, which was so gay back then, that when I moved into my old building a man asked if my father and I were dating!

I moved in on a Friday night and then the next morning my dad came in and built a platform for me to put a mattress on, that was to be my bed. We went around the corner to buy a mattress, and as we carried it into the building one of the residents of the building said, “What apartment are you guys moving into?” I was shocked and my father was not happy. I have been dying to tell that story on the blog for years!

After I met my “love” we went out occasionally but then spent most of our time working towards our goal of adopting a child. He went to law school, I was working 2 jobs, etc., blah, blah, blah. We either went out to dinner or visited family, the gay dancing disco life was starting to fade.

We did join a gay parenting support group. Wannabe Dads and Moms at the Gay Community Center. We dd not really socialize with the folks from there, but we were in the group for 2 years. Thanks to Facebook, we are friends with some of the folks from that group who also became parents.

Then the baby arrived. Our life quickly became very busy trying to juggle having a newborn and keeping our jobs. Our son went into a neighborhood day care which turned into a pre-K. From there he joined the local public school. And that was the end of any contact we had with the gay world!

We did meet another same sex couple the first week of Kindergarten, and that was fantastic: my son and their son became fast friends. Of course they moved away to become gay pioneers in Westchester, and they were never replaced! We did help a couple adopt a child the year after we did and they are living happily ever after in Staten Island, but we have yet to formally socialize with them.

Since he was old enough to run around the playground at about 1 1/2, we have only hung out with the parents of the other children in his class! After daycare pick-up we would all go to the playground for a few hours. Those wonderful folks, again thanks to my favorite social media tool, Facebook, are still our friends today.

And that’s it. We had the best Kindergarten class ever (except that the teacher was a horror show), we bonded with amazing parents that are still our close friends today! 6 years later the kids are also still friends.

That is our life, hanging out at the playground with the parents of other similarly aged children. And family on the weekend. I married an Italian who comes from a large family, we visit almost every Sunday.

We did not grow up in gay society, and we do not see the need for our son to either. He may need more of a support group someday, he may need to talk to other kids with same sex parents down the road, but for now we are very happy with the community we live in. Everyone is supportive to the point of defensiveness if they think their children say anything unsupportive of our family. Example: my son and another boy were arguing about my son not having a mom. Of course I got very defensive. Turned out the boy told my son that he had to have a mom, meaning that is the only way to be born. Of course that is true and we call that woman the birth mom. But when 2 boys start an argument it quickly gets out of control. The mom got very defensive in support of our family and said she is very careful to teach her children about inclusiveness, etc. I was thrilled to hear it stated out loud, but the truth is that is how we feel from everyone in our neighborhood.

Because our neighborhood is very mixed, I think this is the best place to raise our son. Racially every group is represented. There are also several families created by either single mom adoption, or moms getting inseminated and raising a kid on her own. And of course many families where the parents are already divorced, something I started to see in the Kindergarten class which I found surprising. Oh yeah, and we did meet another gay family in school, but the kids are younger!

 

I started the blog to talk about our life as a family where the parents were of the same sex. Not a gay family, just a family that is different than the “norm” that many people in America may be familiar with. I write parenting pieces on this blog for folks to read about our life, to see that our home is not a 24 hour gay disco with different sex partners all the time, but rather 2 men, together for almost 22 years and monogamous, raising a son who has to do homework on a daily basis: that seems to be the rule in either a gay or straight household!

Yes, I scold my son constantly to try to get him to do his homework, just like a straight guy! He writes essays on American history like the one he presented in class a few weeks ago about John Adams. He does not write about gay history!

And I often get messages that I am achieving my goal. When my friend from the blog world stated that while listening to her clergy talk negatively about gay people and gay marriage, she knew in her heart, from having seen our lives, that he was wrong. I often get support from you guys on my parenting issues, which are mostly the same as yours. Because above all else, the thing we wanted more than anything in the world, was to be parents. Not gay parents, just parents. We spend a lot of time with family and relatives who experience our lives as they intersect with theirs and they see we are “regular” people. That is what I strive for, to participate in the full society so folks can see we have far more in common with them than they may have realized. In fact, we are probably almost the same!

And, our job is easier these days because families are no longer formed in what used to be the “conventional” way. We know many single parent, by choice families. Women who have adopted a child by themselves, or had a child with a sperm donation. A boy in my son’s Hebrew School class is being raised by his gay dad who had him by surrogacy. “We are all the same because we are all different” is one of my favorite mottoes!

So, that’s it. I wish we were more fabulous, leading an exotic gay, fun life (not really). Instead our life is centered around our child, his needs and wants, the people he interacts with, and this makes our lives complete.

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Comments

  1. 1
    nancy bowers says:

    Bravo!

  2. 2

    I love this. Nothing more to even add. I couldn’t wait to share it.

  3. 3

    Love this. xoxo

  4. 4

    Well said! ;-)

  5. 5

    I literally LOLed picturing the look on your dad’s face when he was mistaken for your partner. One of my dad’s brothers is gay, and he has been with his husband for 60+ years–this was my first exposure to what it means to be gay, so I was always shocked when other people made nasty comments about ‘the gay lifestyle.’ The more exposure the world at large gets to how fabulously boring (and I mean that in the best way possible) gay families really are, the better. Nicely done :)

  6. 6

    Mitch, Loved your story. Thanks for opening up a bit and sharing with the world.

  7. 7

    Heart Mitch!

  8. 8

    Loved this so so so much.

  9. 9

    Awesome post M! :)
    See – the thing I find weird about anyone even *needing* to read something like this to understand it is that if you replaced the word “gay” with some other adjective to definite sexuality — straight, BDSM, swinger, or even asexual — the whole thing would sound absurd to pretty much anyone’s ears. With the exception of discussions about sexuality, and sex-ed? I don’t think many parents view their parenting aspect of their lives through those lenses.
    Heck, you could put in a number of words that some people might find “different” or “scandalous” or even “wrong” and they might giggle at the thought of nestling that word up against the one ‘parent’ but they certainly wouldn’t need to read that the two aren’t really related.

    Honestly… I don’t live my lifestyle as a parent the way I did when I was young and single. If that’s the lifestyle I had wanted? I had every option to keep it. Nor do I really feel like my sex-life is anyone’s business really outside of the obvious.

    But thank goodness there are people out there like you willing to write about it. We’re in a period of transition here and it’s good to have the writings of what it was like when the last of the old prejudices and bigotry are gone.

    :)

  10. 10
    NYCSingleMom says:

    The odds of there being another same sex couple in your grade is miniscule. I think we as parents bond as parents sometimes by circumstance regardless of our sexual orientation. Thanks for sharing.

  11. 11

    I LOVE This. A family is a family. #thatisall. I’ve been freinds with my kids freinds parents, too, that’s the way it worked for us.
    Mitch, I friggin LOVE you.

  12. 12

    Don’t forget us Mom’s who got knocked up and decided to be single parents! LOL.

  13. 13

    What a wonderful life you and your husband have made together. So happy for you.

    “We are all the same because we are all different” – love it.

  14. 14

    Mitch, I love this. I just buffered the post and told others to learn. Just LEARN. I so totally agree with Wendy. A family is a family!

  15. 15

    What a great Blog.

  16. 16

    Excellent post, Mitch!

  17. 17
    Jessica Cote says:

    Love this!

  18. 18

    Wow. I’m seriously shocked, Mitch. You mean I live a more exciting lifestyle than you? ;)

    But seriously, great post and dead on. I don’t hang out with gay people either. Or straight people, for that matter. I hang out with “people.” This world (or mostly this country) seems way too hung up on judging others based on who they choose to love. That’s just 9 kinds of ridiculousness, especially considering the high rate of divorce. And no way anyone should ever have a right to generalize that gay parents are terrible parents. I’m sure some are, just as I’m sure some are fantastic. Just like “straight” parents.

    I’m impressed you guys have been together for 22 years! Kudos! And it’s pretty obvious that you guys truly love your son and are doing one bang-up job of raising him.

  19. 19

    Awesome post Mitch.

    I love your giveaways and reviews… but I know I started reading your blog for your personal posts. I love reading your perspectives. I love that people who just don’t know can learn from you.

  20. 20

    Amazing.
    I really enjoyed reading this! :)
    Big hugs to you and your family!

  21. 21

    Love your story, Mitch. You’re so down to earth and raising your kid in ways that every parent should.

  22. 22

    You are ah-mazing! I love reading this! You make me smile daily!

  23. 23

    Mitch you are amazing. Meeting you 2 years ago has been such a blessing. I love you and your family. <3

  24. 24
    Joanne Gregory says:

    You are doing a great job parenting your son! I wish our community was as diversified as yours!

  25. 25

    What a wonderful post Mitch! This is why I love you, gay or not! :)

  26. 26

    Sounds like things are working for you and your family and that is what is important.

  27. 27
    Annmarie W. says:

    I love this post of yours! No matter what one’s family looks like, all families are just looking to deal with the same issues year in and year out…and to raise their children as best they can. We ARE all the same, no matter how different.

  28. 28

    I never thought you to be the disco type! Got some old pics? :) Nah, I don’t really need to see them. But maybe on a Throwback Thursday post?

    I have only chatted with you online and via email, and I love you and your family already, and that you are a great little family with a big extended family. I wish we had that kind of family support, but we don’t, yet.

    My parents are thinking of moving here to TN next summer, if all goes well in CA with my mom’s health and scans. And also, with her retirement. She will only be 60 years old, but she’s so tired of having to physically work. Her hands, feet, and rest of her body ache and hurt everyday. She’s in more pain then she lets on to everyone else. I told her that she could come and pick up my kids after school, and watch them for a few hours a day, and that I would work, and pay her to watch them as to help them out with money. She laughed at me, but I know that this is something that she would love to do. I also know that they would like to travel, and when that happens, we will have a friend watch our children, or put them in day care for a week or two. But I would love to have them here with us.

    Your family is no different from mine, or my sisters. Only my little sister wants to have a baby with her wife, and her wife keeps stalling and saying no, or they will talk about it later. She keeps putting it off, and my sister and her aren’t getting any younger. I see a divorce coming in the future…

  29. 29
    Priscilla P. says:

    Love!

  30. 30

    Love this Mitch! I know that you are a great dad! Sometimes, I want to be your son with all of the Disney trips!!

  31. 31
    Rachel Mouton says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article. I am a bit disappointed that you don’t have a 24 hour disco :P

  32. 32
    Lorayne Gothard says:

    I think you are the same as us heterosexual responsible parents. We used to go out to the clubs and stay out late, but after we had children, we decided to stop that all together and start spending time on family trips and going to Disney movies. Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and you aren’t doing what anyone thinks you should do, but what is best for your family.

  33. 33
    Michelle S says:

    Although I am straight, I found this, your perspective, to very beautifully written. You don’t “choose a side to live your life on” and live from that point of view, you just live your life, normally like any other parent couple. You’re no different than straight couples. You make it very easy to have an open dialogue about said issues that are facing society together pitting hetero vs homosexual.

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