While the notion of a “nuclear family” may have once been the norm, today families come in all shapes and sizes. From divorce and remarriage to same-sex parents and transgender members, the once limiting descriptor of a family has since been replace with something far more well-rounded.
Given the cultural climate continuing to surface nationwide, it seems that there is no better time than the present to explore the very particular experience of growing up in what I like to consider “the new norm.” My norm.
Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned through having same-sex parents.
We are no different than anyone else.
The reality is that family is family. There are ups and downs, conflicts and disappoints, love and loss and everything in between. The ranging experiences native to the blanketed term “family” exist here too. The only difference being, some tribulations for us are unique to how things are perceived on the outside, rather than what they exist as on the inside.
That love isn’t meant to be defined by someone else’s standards.
If there is one thing we can take away from witnessing love in this form, it is that we alone are responsible for defining what it means to us. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to choosing how you feel. There is acceptance and then there is suppression. Those who accept who they are, fully embracing their path, provide their children with the courage to do the same- to be whomever they want to be. And the world could always use a little bit more of that.
That despite outdated beliefs that still seem to circulate our world, being a great parent (or person for that matter) has absolutely nothing to do with sexual preference.
The truth of the matter is that generalizing one way or another, simply doesn’t work. You can be heterosexual through and through and still entirely suck (for lack of a more poetic term) at raising a child. After all, there are other factors at play here. For instance, are you responsible? Are you caring? Do you genuinely want to spend your life invested in the needs of another human being? Sexual preference and parental abilities are in fact like most things, subject to the individual at hand.
That unfortunately, other people won’t always understand. And ultimately, that’s okay.
The beauty of living in a free country is that we are each entitled to our opinions. Our voices all matter. However, the flip side of that very same coin is that sometimes, those opinions can be hurtful. They can be misinformed, and perhaps even close-minded. But the point is to keep on moving forward anyway, because at the end of the day, there is no greater experience worth fighting for than love. And there is no greater treasure worth having than family.