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My son and I are currently in Provincetown, Massachusetts, attending Family Week, the largest LGBTQ+ family gathering in the world. Over two thousand people travel from all over the world and take over the inclusive town of Provincetown on the tip of the Cape in Massachusetts. Now, that might seem like a glorious vacation and in a lot of ways, it is. But it’s also something else: a week when we can exhale and just be ourselves without fear or worries about expressing who we are.
In a world of mixed messages about the validity of our family, my son—and other kids who are part of LGBTQ+ families—feel seen and understood when they come together. They get each other. Having two moms isn’t always easy. It's not something he’s ashamed of. We talk about it often and he’s equipped with all the right responses to people who say ignorant or insensitive things to him, but it’s still a little bit of a burden to carry every day. And when we arrive at Family Week, we’re surrounded by other people who totally get us because they are like us in so many ways. They have same gender parents or trans parents, they have multiracial families, and they’ve built their families in a variety of ways. We can relax a little bit because for one solid week it's just about us. We’re sharing space with other people who have similar experiences and no judgment, and only want to be together to create memories and a safe space for everybody to enjoy.
Now, many people might think that's not a big deal. They could say, “Grab a bunch of neighbors or friends and go camping. And there you go—you’ve created a safe space.” But actually, every single one of us has to work harder than that at creating safe spaces. And it’s much harder for families in historically marginalized communities.
You may not be aware, but over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in various states were introduced during the most recent legislative sessions. That's a remarkable number. So, the world is giving us messages that suggest we are not worthy of freedom, love, respect, dignity, or equal treatment. Our children are not worthy of care. These bills aim to limit our ability to have families and to care for our families. And now we have a threat from Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas who believes the court should take another look at laws or legislation that rely on the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that was used in Roe vs. Wade. That could impact same-gender marriage, LGBTQ+ intimacy, and even contraception.
Now don't get me wrong, the Roe vs. Wade decision affects LGBTQ+ people just like it affects everybody else, but on top of that, we stand the risk of being victimized by the fact that the court wants to reconsider the legality of our relationships when it comes to marriage and intimate acts. I want to tell you very personally and very directly: our children know it. They know our relationships are questioned. They carry that burden—and question the safety of their families. They can feel that other families are valued more than theirs.
We are starting to legislate the value and importance of other humans. When I talk to companies about diversity, inclusion, and acceptance, I often refer to the transgender journey. I acknowledge that what trans people go through and feel might not make sense to a lot of people who have not been exposed to the big questions that gender introduces for some individuals. I get it. You may not understand trans people and it might not make sense to you that I’ve chosen another woman to build a family with. And here’s the deal: that’s okay. You don’t have to get it. If you do not understand the need to confirm your gender identity through means of healthcare, that’s okay, too. Don’t do it. You don’t have to be gay or be trans, or “get” it, but we’re failing as humans when we legislate who is right and worthy and who is wrong and unworthy.
Every single human being is valuable because they were born, not because of their title, their class, their jobs, the place they live, and not based on how well their external identity aligns with other people’s expectations. Not because of the color of their skin, their race, their religion, their ethnicity, or their culture. Every single human is deserving of respect and dignity simply because they were born.
We're losing our humanity by legislating humanity. When groups have been persecuted throughout history, what has it led to? A period that people look back on with shame or horror. We are in a period like that right now. Right now, the worst of humankind is leading the conversation and getting the best of us.
I’m not trying to change you or your political party or get you to think differently about taxes, because it’s ultimately not about any of that, but I am trying to get you to think about your neighbors and your relatives and your children. I’m asking our families, our communities, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, to really see what's happening here to our LGBTQ+ community. And we have to ask because straight, white, well-meaning folks aren’t paying enough attention. They don't have to. Their families aren’t being threatened; their livelihood and wellbeing are not in danger. Because they don’t have to worry about being turned away from a hospital when trying to care for a loved one, they can ignore what’s happening to the rest of us.
All 300+ bills that have been introduced are a threat to the health, safety, and future of our families. So, my son and I will spend this week in fellowship with folks like us, all of us using the time for respite and rebuilding our reserves, because then we have to go back out into the world and fight to justify our existence.
While we do this, I’m asking you to think about how you can show up for your community, even if you don't understand, even if it doesn’t affect you. How can you show up to push back on those bills that threaten families and say to the world that we—me and people like me—don’t matter? How can you show up and say something else?
LGBTQ+ parents are concerned about our relationships, access to critical healthcare, and the wellbeing of our children. They're desperate and disheartened. They need quick and easy answers, especially in times of crisis—and that's where Path2FamilyEquality comes in.
Clockwork built the online tool with features like:
Amid the ongoing attacks on LBGTQ+ families, one thing is crystal clear: These families need resources to stay informed, create a plan, and find hope.
PLEASE SHARE this tool with the people in your life. Maybe you don’t need it, but the statistics show that it’s very likely that someone in your life does.
Luminary Joni Mitchell surprised fans at the Newport Folk Festival by not only showing up, but also by performing for her first public performance since suffering a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015. I can’t stop listening to the beauty and joy of it all.
After the Roe vs. Wade reversal last month, I was included in a Twin Cities Business article about how it might impact the workforce.“Suddenly we are in a position where I am happy to be able to provide resources around healthcare, but it’s a position I do not want to be in,” Lyons said. “My people and their families and their family choices are their own. It is not my business. But I will do what I have to do for my employees to seek and get access to the health care they need and the choices they deserve.”Read: Abortion Access is the Next Big Labor Issue