Straddling the Queer Family Fence IMG_8757

Scene: The other day on a playdate my son and his friend sat eating lunch together.

A: My mama… (blah, blah, blah – I wasn’t totally listening as I was chatting with the other adult at the table)

B: Do you have two moms? (My ears perk up.  I knew this conversation would happen one day, and here it was.  Probably the first of many similar conversations)

A: Yep.

B: Oh, I have a Mama and a Dad.

A: Oh.  Can we go on the carousel after lunch? (The boys turn their attention to us)

B: Yeah! Can we?

Well, that was fairly painless.  What I hadn’t anticipated was that my kid was kid B.  My partner goes by dad and I go by mama – and although we are very out as a queer family, sometimes queer family rites of passage skip us over – or we end up on the other side.

For example, at the pediatrician’s office when all the forms had lines for “Mother” and “Father.”  We did still bring to their attention that they may just want to label those fields “Parent,” but we personally weren’t inconvenienced since our family fit the socially dominant norm of “mom and dad” – even if really, we don’t fit at all in so many ways.

So here we were again, on the other side – but on the inside.  We have a lot of families with two moms or two dads in our lives.  The concept is certainly not new to my two year old.  I’m know he’s just exploring the similarities and differences between families and people.  I think that’s true of most kids.  It may be true of more adults that we realize.  At what point do we stop assuming that questions are simply earnest curiosity and not weighted with judgements?  Especially now, having witnessed my own son in the “asker” role of these conversations I’m going to try and remember that we are all trying to figure out the world around us.


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  1. I feel ya. We both go by “mother” type names, but my partner in non-parenting life goes by a male name and is rather trans in the masculine direction, for all that she uses a female pronoun. So we get overlooked as a queer family at times, while not fitting in as a straight family either–at all.

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