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Out with Baby: My New Family

Out with Baby: My New Family

Nothing is wrong with my real family.  Got a mom and dad -- decent, loving, caring people.  But once I came out as gay, things changed, and now that I have a child of my own, whom I am raising with my partner and the baby’s father, a gay man, I have found another family that I didn’t even know I needed.

Nothing is wrong with my real family.  Got a mom and dad -- decent, loving, caring people.  But once I came out as gay, things changed, and now that I have a child of my own, whom I am raising with my partner and the baby’s father, a gay man, I have found another family that I didn’t even know I needed.

I am one of the lucky ones whose folks at least somewhat accept me as gay; but still, it is a reality that no matter what, my family and life will never be as I envisioned it growing up.  No suburban Southern Living hetero bar-b-ques with the neighbors, us girls chatting about recipes while our men rehash Sunday night’s game and our kids play in the treehouse.  Kira and I will always be the lesbo couple on the block with a kid. 

At Gymboree generally the other parents are cool.  Occasionally we’ll get the, “Which one of you is the mom?” But in 2009 in L.A., most people know to be PC when it comes to gays with children.  There was the woman chatting with us in line at Babies R Us in the Valley who blurted out, “Oh my God, I mean I’ve seen it on TV and everything, but I’ve never met people like you.”  True story.  But this reaction is the exception.

More often we encounter the enlightened, we-know-lots-of-gays yuppie parents who socialize with us when we pass by each other with our strollers.  We’ve even been invited -- and we’ve invited them to our kids’ birthday parties.  Never do any of us bring up the topic of “gay” or anything to do with it, though happily we noticed many of our neighbors posted “No on 8” signs in their front years during election season.

Any mention of “gay” is usually clothed by some other reference.  One lady at one of the birthday parties informed us that the local elementary school was really coming up, and that even N. Brown, the famously gay real estate agent who owns practically every deal in the block, has enrolled his children there.  “It’s very progressive,” she said, giving us an extra long look.  We got it.  We smiled. “That’s great.”

Only once has a stranger called us out.  The owner of a mommy & me yoga studio called, of course,” Cool Baby,” actually said aloud, “There’s lots of gay parents in our classes, so you’ll feel right at home.”  It was so direct that we were a bit taken aback at first.  Then, the whole way home, Kira and I debated which of us gave us away.  I was sure it was her Uggs and sweatpants; she was convinced it was my walk.

When I came out as gay in my twenties I worried that my life would not be happy because I would never be accepted for whom I was, and I could not have a family.  I went to a priest to confess my gay inclinations, and he told me the same thing.  But thank God I didn’t listen. 

After many years of toil and indecision, I finally went for it.  As I’ve read on every motivational poster with an eagle, a mountain top and a sunrise, when you pursue what you really want in life, good things follow.  And so now I have my heart’s desire, a beautify baby son and a wonderful family to help raise him. 

But my son’s family is more than the one he was born into.  Mom and Dad love their grandson, as do my partner’s parents, but it is the family of other gay parents where we truly feel at home.  Who knew there were so many of us? 

Just to start, there’s national groups like the Family Equality Council, a professional lobbying group; COLAGE, a grassroots organization for kids and adults with GLBT parents; and right in my own neighborhood, Kira and I found our own special mom’s group, Westside Families Like Us, formed by the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.

We tentatively went to our first Westside Families gathering at a park in Santa Monica, towing along little five-month-old Stephen, where we met a few moms and their kids.  Right away we felt at ease.  In this group, nobody was shy about saying the word “gay.”  We could openly talk about sperm donors, issues of non-biological “other” mothers, special legal concerns for our families, and all the things that we had to edit out in our straight mommy groups. 

We continued to go to the Westside gatherings, and soon we were hosting parties for the group at our house.  Over the holidays, we shared Thanksgiving dinner with another family from the group.  Recently we held a moms-night-out L Word premiere dinner party, where all the moms donated to help raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help a boy at the school where Kira teaches 5th grade.  We enjoyed great food, great wine -- compliments of the Wine House, and we could relax and tell stories of our home life with other moms like us. 

Westside Families and friends get together for a mom's night out:  

left to right:  Pearson, Kira, Laura, Mary, Kim, Terri, “Vikki” and “April”

Kira and I can hardly wait for summer so we can have the moms and kids over again.  Our home has never felt so much like home as when moms and kids come over, bringing salads, mac & cheese and Goldfish crackers; kids romp in the backyard; and couples sit around the patio, talking proudly about their children. 

As I look forward to summer and Westside Families cookouts at our home, I realize that these get-togethers in fact seem very much like the neighborhood bar-b-ques I had imagined growing up.  Only better.

K. Pearson Brown is a writer and public relations director living in Los Angeles. She is currently writing her first novel, You'll Never Eat P*ssy in This Town Again, inspired by her experiences as a lesbian living in L.A. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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