Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Openning the Circle Wider. A Story about Forgiveness. By Henry Amador-Batten

"The following is a story I shared with a group of wonderful people.
I share it here today and with you in the hope that even just one person sees themselves reflected in the words and perhaps finds some healing and some peace."

Henry




few evenings ago, while tucking my youngest into bed we fell deep into one of those beautifully special and intimate conversations, you all know or remember those talks with your kids, in the dark, snuggled under blankets, when all the world feels fast asleep and nothing but nothing bad could possibly penetrate that little sacred space right?


As we lay there, he asked me to tell him the story, yet again, about the man I had spoken about in my *Spiritual Odyssey at our UU Fellowship.

I've also been given permission to share this with you all.

Let me back track for just a moment.

While writing my talk I had to dig deep into my past and all the how’s and whys and who’s that I had encountered on my journey.
I even titled my speech “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” because of how Dorothy’s journey back to her home or herself is so familiar to so many.

And of course because I'm gay and I love all things Judy.

“Everything you were looking for was right there with you all along,” remember that line?
















Well one of the men I had encountered on my journey was a Faith Healer and Television Evangelist named John Wesley Fletcher, some of you may remember him being involved with Tammy Faye, Jim Bakker and the PTL scandal in the early 1980's.
















Well he figured prominently in my youth, in my life's story and in my presentation research. I began to wonder what had happened to him and I also could not remember the last time I had even thought about him.

As a young man growing up in South Florida, I was desperately and secretly struggling with my sexuality. My mother was raising me as a single parent with no man in the house and I'm sure she found solace in the fact that he had found me, taken an interest in me. 

I spent a lot of time with that man praying for some divine intervention. 

Something, otherworldly that would come down and because of my faith, or more so, if I only had enough faith, would change who I was.

It would cleanse me of the parts of me that felt shameful and wrong.

I believed it would happen and my rise in his youth group was another indicator that if I only believed more and trusted more, I would find the cure I was looking for, the one that John had promised me.

But we all know how those stories end don’t we?

I involved Ben in this part of my journey because, believe it or not, we found the end of John’s story right here in our present home city of Durham NC, at his grave site in the Maplewood Cemetery where he was buried.















He passed away from Aids related complications in 1996 at the age of 56.

I will be 56 this October.

You see, he was and always had been the exact thing I was trying so desperately to pray away.

Finding him in the cemetery was an adventure within itself.

They gave us a grave number and a map. It felt a bit like we were searching for some star’s home with one of those cheap maps you can buy on the corner of Hollywood and vine.

He was a larger than life figure to me, especially in my younger minds eye and I was certain we would find him easily by the grandeur of his monument, but this could not have been further from the truth.

No, his simple marker was barely visible to the naked eye, had obviously not been visited in a very long time and was completely overgrown with weeds and grass that had crept up and all around it with time.

I knelt down in front of it and instinctively began to pull the weeds and clean it off. I think I told myself that it was so that I could take a photo but truthfully, I felt surprisingly sad for him.















It reminded me of those moments after my mother had passed where I calmly and seemingly without thought got a warm washcloth from the hospice bathroom and washed her face, her hands and then her feet. 

It felt cleansing and meaningful, for me.

You could call it a story of redemption, a story of not abandoning, of going out to reclaim myself and perhaps in turn, him. 

I'm not certain, but I do know that he died alone and broke and broken and that by showing Ben that simple act of kindness we, together, brought him back into the circle of human love and care. 















He had done so much wrong to so many but now through different lenses I can see that he was just another human being doing what he could with what he had.

And no-one belongs outside the circle, not even him.


I shared this story with Ben to help him understand that we can never run from who we are and that we are all worthy of compassion and of understanding and yes, of forgiveness.

I had, without even knowing, closed a wound whose pain I had apparently grown numb too.

And I had the honor to close that very deep and profound chapter of my life with my child by my side.

I would be having these conversations with our children regardless of the city we lived in or the fellowship we belonged to because this is our truth.

We would be talking about diversity and acceptance and community regardless of where we are because we are citizens of this World and there will always be someone who will challenge our sons and conversely they will always be faced with the opportunity to feel better than or superior to another person who’s path they may cross. 

Yes, we would be telling them our stories and helping them understand differences and compassion no matter where we lie our heads down to sleep - but how fortunate are we to have found this loving place and all of you loving people, who fundamentally believe in the principles that we believe in and who also offer us a space to reinforce those foundations publicly.


The lives that are led here, the examples that are set here all make us feel as though we are not traveling this road alone.

I don’t only mean because flags are flown, rainbow lanyards are worn, or pride is felt for identifying as an ally - although all of those things are truly amazing.

No, but it is because I know, that late at night when you are snuggled in your beds, covered in warm blankets and all the world is asleep, that in those tender moments, in your sacred spaces, you all share our beliefs and our values and you honestly hold us in your hearts.

And that my friends means more than words can fully express.

Namaste



*Spiritual Odyssey - a talk given by members of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation sharing how thier spiritual journey has gotten them to present day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mad Hippie Love..




So I will be turning 56 this coming Fall.

I can hardly believe it. 
Quite honestly I have never really felt my age.

I often joke that the reason why my marriage is so successful, despite our 13 year difference in age, is that my husband is so mature and I, well not so much.

The past few years, as some of you know, have been difficult.
Unlike years gone by I never noticed the changes in my face but when I hit 50 I started to become so much more aware of my skin.

I was also keenly aware that I had not been caring for myself as I once did.
Kids do that to us right?

Not enough sleep, stress, unhealthy diets and on and on.

Well, last year I decided to do something about it.
Nothing grand nor earth shattering.
Nothing that required a moving truck, scalpel or a divorce lawyer.
It was a tiny move that has changed my life.

Mad Hippie Love...

Not this kind,














But rather this kind...















Yes, I changed my skin care..
Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care has given me tiny glimpses of hope and excitement back.
I started hearing how good I looked again and that means so much.

I used to be that guy that thought I needed a "mens" line because, well, I am a man.
Honestly folks, skin and hair know no gender.

I was drawn to the line by it's vibe, its look and it's scents.
I've stayed with the line because it works.
I've had zero breakouts.
My dry patches are a thing of the past.
I look youthful but don't feel oily.

The products are..
Cruelty-free
Petrochemicals-free
GMO-free
Vegan, except for the beeswax in the SPF
Paraben-free
Synthetic Dye-free
SLS-free and
Silicone-free

Unfortunately the products are not free but considering how very little you need, the cost is amazing. And they don't even come close to the big ticket products that gave me no results.

And $1 dollar of every web-sale goes to conservation.






















So to all my gay dad friends and to all my non-gay-dad friends alike, you owe it to yourself to do something special for yourself.

Start simple, start small, start in the comfort of your home and you may just surprise yourself with what CRAZY MAD HIPPIE thing you might do next.

Tell em' DADsquared sent ya!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Where Am I? A Look At Depression by Henry Amador-Batten





















I am a man of deep self reflection, I often pause, contemplate and when able, I try to correct.

I believe that the road to self awareness and discovery requires many moments spent looking into your own eyes and being prepared to embrace what you see.

Lately I have been all to often disappointed with the man that looks back at me.

He was always kindhearted, spirited, loving and had a amazing sense of humor.
He was the guy you turned to when things were tough and the first guy you would call when it was time for a celebration.

He was that go to fellow that would never let you down.
But now? 
Now I barely trust him to make it through a day unscathed.
I don't trust him with my own secrets and I certainly would not entrust him with anything you hold too dear.

Over the past 4 years I have been dealing with depression, apparently somewhat severe.

It is so easy to think that the root of your sadness is any one of a million things that bombard you on a daily basis.

I had a debilitating accident that took my career away and sent us spiraling financially but more importantly emotionally for a long while, that could be it right?

I have put on a good (or perhaps, not so good) fifty+ pounds, but that is probably because I became so much less active after my accident right?

My marriage began to lose a bit of its intimacy but that's probably the extra weight wouldn't you agree? 
I mean I hardly feel sexy, sexual.
Or it could be because of the strain forces on us by the accident and literally losing half of our income in an instant.

Or may be it's because of what began to happen to us when we brought our adopted son into our home, that's probably really it, I think.

Or it could be my Fathers passing in 2018, I always referred to our relationship as torn, tattered and taped. He left when I was very young baby and posed in when he felt so inclined.
There were probably more things I should have done towards the end of his life but I just did what I could and what was expected of me, no more and no less.

But that is part of what of what depression does to your mind, It keeps you coasting but not diving or jumping to deep or to high.

I had three surgeries in 2016 and I'm in a state of chronic pain. 
There is one last surgery available for me, a reverse shoulder replacement, but sadly I am too young for it.
This specific procedure comes with an expiration date and if I have it now, in my mid fifties, I may end up far worse than I am right now and with many precious years left of life.

So I have to medicate to feel myself or chose motionlessness which I'm rarely comfortable with, I said rarely, but not never.

So the constant pain is probably why I always tend to fall on the darker side of things right?
It's probably why I am so much less active, feel less attractive, worry about my marriage and struggle so desperately dealing with our eldest sons mental health issues, right?

Or perhaps it's because I find myself at 55 struggling with my identities, my spiritual, physical, emotional, parental, financial and marital identities.

You see, that right there is why so many people, men especially miss the signs of real depression. Men who are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, have such a difficult time asking for HELP! 

https://www.bustle.com/p/men-dont-go-to-therapy-nearly-as-much-as-women-researchers-are-trying-to-figure-out-why-5550931

There are so many other things to blame your feelings on, and its oh so easy to say that once one thing clears up you will be able to tackle another, or to fool yourself into believing that as soon as a specific problem goes away, it will some how grab a handful of others and together skedaddle off into the sunset.
Only then leaving you able to breathe and laugh and feel at peace again.

Now I am not saying that many people aren't able to deal with all sorts of thing and still function happily and naturally.

I was one of them and I rocked it for 50 years!
Here is where I stand up and take a bow.

But for so many others, those joy-filled moments lessen and lessen.
The mornings when you awake ready to tackle the day start to feel a bit abstract.
The last time you accepted an invitation to hang out with friends feels like forever ago.
The vision boards are dusty.
The Summer plans are left dangeling.
The Laundry wins.
Clean eating and cooking feels momentous and all you want to do is sleep.

Sleep is where you feel light and hopeful, sleep is where the possibilities for a different day might come, and yet they don't come, and when they may is simply an uncertainty.

No, for people like that, people like me, asking for help is the only way through it.

Look in that mirror and ask your self just how long you haven't loved who you see.
Be honest and then reach in, reach up and reach out.

We're all worth it.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The GLBT National Hotline : 1-888-843-4564
The GLBT National Youth Talkline 1-800-246-7743

Sunday, March 31, 2019

What's left when all else fails? A dark look at adoption. By Henry Amador-Batten

devastation


















Some of you have followed our adoption journey.
You watched or read from the shadows as our little family of three grew to become four.

A little back story for our new friends.

My husband and I adopted our Ben at birth.
We were living in South Florida at the time.
He came into this world in October of 2011, almost exactly two years after we were married in Boston, MA.

I honestly can't look back on my life and remember a more happy time, perhaps our wedding day but that's a close call.

There are definitely pressures and fears that creep into most all adoption stories, especially when your a same gender couple, the year is 2010, the birth-mother has troubles and the nation had yet to legally recognize our family.
But all of those scary thoughts and memories drifted away with each of his beautiful smiles and laughs.
They took flight at each and every amazing milestone.
They never stood a chance with each year that we celebrated another holiday,
and they were certainly no match for the love that grew within us for this little human being.
A love that still brings me to my knees with gratitude.

But this is not that story.
Our family came through those trials triumphantly.
The Universe stayed by our side and guided all the powers that be so that he could be ours.
And now, 7 and a half years later, he is still a daily reminder of just how lucky we are.

No this story starts in 2016 in a completely different state with a completely different little boy and a hope that he too could be ours.

Joel and I had decided that the time was finally right for us to add to our family.
We decided that the foster care system would be the way and that just like in 2011 the Universe would certainly help us along.

We're not that tight right now, the Universe and I, but I'm working on it.

We went through the process and became foster parents.
The room was furnished and prepared for whatever/whoever may have came our way.
We had engaged in all the age appropriate conversations that Ben needed and we settled back, comfortably knowing that we were ready for this next big step in our lives.

One evening, while Ben slept and I waited for my husband to get home from work, I was occupying my time by looking at photos and videos of children available for adoption.

I ran across a little boy, just about five years old at the time the video was filmed. He sat so proudly in a crisp blue shirt answering a list of questions being asked by a mysterious person off camera.
"What is your favorite color?" he was asked. "Blue" he replied as he gently touched his blue shirt.

You could tell by the creases in the shirt that it had just come out of a package, you could also tell by the way he touched it that he felt special in it.

The rest of the questions you could easily guess yourself.
What do you like to do?
What do you like to play with?
Who is  your favorite super hero?
Cartoon?
Food?
Place to play?
And on and on.

Finally the big one, what type of family do you want?

Yes, that one got me too, brought me to tears and as if possessed by some paternal force, my fingers clicked on his link for more info.

What was his answer about a family you ask?
Something along the lines of, a family that will love me and take care of me.
He had already been in the foster care system for around two years and I'm certain he had heard those phrases many times before.

Thats where it all started.
It all started with that little boy who could make anyone fall in love with him in mere minutes.
A very intelligent little boy that that on only our second "date" asked us if we would be his daddies.
A boy that after meeting with more therapist and psychiatrist than I can count, leaves them all saying the same thing, "wow, he sure knows how to say what I want to hear."
A little person that not twenty four hours after we unpacked his bag calmly let us know that he hated everything about us and that his caseworker had made him choose us.

That statement has become pretty much his daily mantra and now all these years later, we're inclined to believe him.


So right now you might be saying, come on now, he's was just a baby, children that age are not that cunning or manipulative. 
You might want to stop reading right now but I need to remind you that this is a story about things that have gone terribly wrong, this is not a happily ever after story, yet, and it may very well never be. 

I urge you to read on for as Blaise Pascal said, "between us and Heaven or Hell there is only life which is the frailest thing in the world."


"Well Mr. Amador-Batten, I've only ever had two cases where parents chose to terminate their adoption, both times they had to accept a neglect/abandonment charge, I don't think you and your husband would like to have that charge, would you?"

That was what the newest caseworker told us ( I paraphrased) after I sent an email saying that we were ready to make him re-available to be adopted, in other words, terminate our parental rights.

This email was sent three years after he came into our home and two years after his adoption was finalized.

This email was sent after a year and a half of intensive in home therapy, after two rounds of parent and child centered therapy, after two hospital stays at a psychiatric children's unit for attempting to take his life and consequently putting ours in danger, after living in a residential treatment facility for nine months and now having challenges at a step down program.

As I write this he is being referred and recommended to go back to another residential psychiatric facility.

Does it sound like he is thriving in our home?

All of this in three short years.
He is now nine.

I know, and I can be that little voice in your head that says, how could they do that? how could they have a child for three years and want to send him away? how could anybody be so heartless?

Please know, there is not a single thought in your head that does not already reign in mine.
There is not another idea or solution, thus far,  that we have not already had or tried.
There is not another class, support group, therapist or minister that we have not already taken, joined or sat with.

No, no reasonably intelligent and loving person sends an email like that easily, its rather a last resort, it's what you do when all else seems to have failed.

It's what you do when not giving up on the one feels like your having to give up on the all.


This would probably be a good place to stop right?
We're neck deep right now in attorneys, caseworkers, psychiatrist and our hearts.

I'll be back with more soon but until then I leave you with some questions to ponder.

What do you do when you look into the eyes of the people you love and see only devastation?

What do you do when you feel as though you've reached the end of the road?

To what lengths would you go to save your family?






;'





Friday, June 17, 2016

DADsquared Writer Dara Fisher's Thoughts On The Massacre In Orlando


















By Dara Fisher


On Sunday morning I was in the car with my husband on our way to Palm Springs to enjoy my only day off when I used my phone to go online and see what was going on in the World.  

At the moment, I am working about 75 hours a week between my real job and the new position I took at a local non-profit for kids so I haven’t been tuned into most of what is happening these days.  

As I went through my Facebook feed, I kept seeing Orlando so I clicked on a link and it felt like I had been punched in the chest.  I couldn’t breathe and trying to speak to my husband about what I was reading was difficult because I couldn’t stop crying.
 
There are so many things wrong with this horrific event.  First and foremost, we have lost 49 members of our community.  That, in and of itself, is a tragedy.  Beyond that, this was the result of so many things that our wrong with the human race.  I have thought a lot about what happened over the past week and I would like to say a few things about it.

This was not a terrorist attack, this was a hate crime.  

The nightclub chosen by the murderer was picked specifically because of the clientele it served.  The gay community.  

While many on the right side of the fence are going to stick staunchly to this being a terrorist attack, the murderer claiming ISIS connections, I don’t buy it.  That is nothing but a scapegoat to use this tragedy as a way to facilitate the ongoing war against terrorism, an important issue but separate from what happened.

I will not be using the murderer’s name.  He doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged as a human being and I don’t care what his name was.  I read through the list of the 49 people who lost their lives, I read their ages, I read the stories their families shared about them.  I care about the people we lost, not the one who did it.  I am not going to judge the man, God will sort that out and if he’s lucky, the Bible is telling the truth about our Alpha Omega being merciful and maybe he will get the help he severely needs on the other side.  Though I wouldn’t be willing to bet my money on it since the Bible also claims homosexuals are an abomination and I believe with everything in me that God was waiting for his 49 children when they came home on Saturday.

The first thing that came to my mind as I read about what happened in Pulse on Saturday night was, “I wish this would be a wakeup call to the World so they will see the fear we live with in the gay community.”  

Sadly, I don’t think that is going to be the outcome.  

The internet is already flooded with videos of holier-than-thou pretenders to the righteous throne who are either blatantly supporting the murder of 49 people or at least preaching justification for the murderer’s actions.  I’m not a particularly religious person, or rather an organized religion follower, but I do believe in a God.  I have a hard time believing that God would have wanted 49 of his children to die in such a manner.  This is the largest attack on the gay community in history.  The violent nature of the attack and the fact that a specific group was targeted should be what catches the public’s attention.
 
When I spoke to my Dad about it, the thing I kept going back to was how the gay community is easily one of the kindest and most loving cultures out there.  When was the last time you heard of members of the gay community protesting with violence?  

I can’t think of too many and the violence that has taken place wasn’t in aggression but rather self-defense.  And even those events are rare.  

I have gone to my fair share of Pride events, parades, and the like. They are always an amazing experience.  When you are at a Pride event, you feel welcome, regardless of your affiliation. There is always fun to be had, smiles all around, and a warmth that is unmatched anywhere else, except maybe your Grandma’s kitchen.  We don’t seek to cause harm to others, even those who have acted against us.  When we are faced with adversaries, we try to explain our side and try to get them to understand us, even if they can never fully accept us.
 
Another important point that needs to be made is that this man was a homosexual.  Or as my Dad would put it…queer as a three dollar bill.  Regardless of his marriage to a woman, this was a gay man.  He was a gay man who was raised in a culture and religion that considers homosexuality to be worthy of being executed.  Islamic terrorists film themselves murdering innocent people in the most horrific ways possible for no reason other than the person being gay.  He spent his entire life having to hide his sexuality and I would imagine living in fear of being found out.  

right wing can point fingers all they want but Christians are in the same boat.  All the stories about these anti-gay legislation signing politicians being caught in gay sex scandals and preachers with Grindr accounts should say something very clear, condemning people for their sexuality, something they are born as and a part of them they had no control over, causes severe mental and emotional problems.  

The end result of these problems is the tragedies that are bound to happen.  
The teenagers that are hanging themselves in their bedrooms because someone found out about them and spread it around school.  
The man who gets infected with HIV because he is Catholic and rather than live openly gay, he has clandestine meet ups with strangers and ends up with a terminal disease.  
The people who marry opposite sex partners to keep up the façade and spend their lives miserable, usually messing up their spouse and kids in the process.  

I’ve seen it all.  How about we lift the stigma of being gay and let people live their lives openly and find happiness?  Happy people don’t sit in dark rooms thinking of ways to kill themselves and/or other people.
 
Recently it came to my attention that my son is actively bisexual.  He had told us a few years ago that he was interested in both genders but at almost 16, he is actually going out into the dating world and getting involved with people regardless of what they have between their legs.

I found this out through someone I knew in high school because my son lives openly, having been taught from an early age that we don’t live in closets no matter what we end up being. 
This person asked me what I intended to do about it.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that any action was necessary on my part but for the sake of quelling her fears, I told her that I expect my son to make sure I know if I need to buy a boutonniere or a corsage for prom.  I don’t want to be tacky by being unprepared.  I will also make sure we match the flower with his partner’s outfit.  

The strange look I got made me smile the rest of the day.  That woman can be as nasty as she wants to be about it.  She is welcome to have her opinion about homosexuality.  What she is not welcome to do is have an opinion about my child, my family, and how we choose to deal or not deal with our son’s sexuality.  

What do I think the end result is going to be?  I think my son is going to continue to be a good, honest, and well-rounded person.  He isn’t going to be the sulky guy sitting in his room in front of a computer.  He’s going to live in the sun and had the murderer’s family and community been more accepting of homosexuality and the gay community, I think there would be 49 more members of our community.
 
As heartbroken and angry as we are in our community, we have to pull ourselves together and look toward the future.  The 49 people who died on Saturday deserve that from us.  We have to keep pushing towards equality and acceptance so we can prevent tragedies like this happening again.  Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.  Let’s keep this candle burning, make sure our kids and our grandkids know what happened in a nightclub in Florida.


















Dara Fisher. A 33 year old Mother of 3 amazing children with her Prince Charming Keith.  
They live right outside of Palm Springs, California. Dara has degrees in Anthropology, Liberal Arts, and Business Administration.  
She works full time in the Hospitality Industry and attends college classes in pursuit of her MBA when she's not busy being Super Mom.   
She spend her spare time crocheting, quilting, and making a mess with pretty much anything she can get my hands into.  She is a huge Doctor Whofan and  can't eat while watching The Walking Dead. 
Oh and she also happens to be the daughter of gay parents and the Mother of a child with Asbergers  Syndrome and ADHD


Photo Alex Garland

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Changing Face Of The Gay Community And Just Who It Belongs To.




















By Dara Fisher


Recently I had a conversation with a friend from high school that caused the wheels in my head to start turning. 
He is gay, though we’ve been friends since before he came to that realization.  He jokingly called me a “fag hag” and I was taken aback.  I’ve had several people call me that name before but they were folks that didn’t know me personally or at least well enough to know that my existence in the gay community is one I was born into, not chosen as a social situation.  This friend however is very familiar with my family and knows my gay parents.
 
When I protested his label by saying that I’m not a fag hag but rather a member of the gay community, he informed me in no uncertain terms that I was not actually part of the gay community because I am not a lesbian myself.  We had a few little exchanges and ultimately, we left at the agree to disagree point because he wasn’t willing to listen to my point of view and being as stubborn as I am, I certainly wasn’t going to let him tell me that I didn’t deserve to be part of a community that technically I have been a part of longer than 
he has.

KGP’s, (Kids of Gay Parents) are part of the gay community.  I jokingly say that we are the chosen ones but it’s not far from the truth.  Our parents intentionally created us, adopted us, or inherited us with the purpose of having a family and being part of the gay community.  Very few of us are “accidents” because homosexuals of the same gender can’t get each other pregnant, no matter how hard they try.  When our parents decided to raise kids, it wasn’t with the intention that they were going to raise us like straight people.  Most of us have a social group of adopted lesbian aunts and gay uncles that make up our family units.  We aren’t raised with the same limitations as some of the kids in the straight community. 

I can’t speak for all KGP’s but in my case, my parents couldn’t have cared less what my sexuality ended up being.  They also didn’t care that I was a girl but spent the majority of my time on hobbies that would be considered masculine.  Being a tomboy was perfectly okay and neither of my parents ever made a judgement call on it.  I didn’t have traditional gender roles that taught me to adhere to a specified path based on my genitals so I got to explore the world as a human being, not just a girl. 
Ultimately, I ended up being a girl who is brave, opinionated, intelligent, and kind.  I don’t fear judgement because I grew up with people around me who supported who I was and who I became. I also learned that opinions are like backsides, everyone has one. 

As a parent myself, I adhere to the same policy as my parents in regards to how I raise my kids.  I don’t want my children to follow the rules society has decided must be enforced.  I want them to be who they want to be.  My son is a soft spoken self-professed nerd and my daughter is a tough as nails, take no crap girl who is tougher than most boys I know.  Rather than force them to adhere to the rules society has assigned to their gender, my kids live as individuals.

Interestingly, there is no official inclusion of KGP’s in the gay community.  The community has expanded to include transsexuals, gender fluid, pansexuals, and more yet there isn’t an actual statement of inclusion for those of us who are born into the gay community.  That makes me sad.  I feel like I have to explain why I am part of the gay community because we aren’t openly accepted yet.  Sometimes it feels like we are a suburb of the gay community when we should be treated in the same regard as everyone else.  

My friend’s reaction to my statement about being part of the gay community pretty much sums up how I feel about it.  Because I am not a homosexual myself, I’m not allowed to consider myself part of the community.  Like the gay community is some type of exclusive club.  When I think of the gay community, I consider all forms of alternate sexualities to be included.  I consider the friends and family of homosexuals to be included.  I would even include the members of the straight community who support gay rights.  So it seems natural that the children and grandchildren of homosexuals should be part of the gay community.  After all, we are the next generation of gay rights activists who are privy to the inside workings of the gay community and who will be carrying out our parents legacy and history.

Growing up within the gay community has given me a lot of insight in my life.  I have personally worked to educate people on gay rights and gay issues because I have the ability to share my life experience and in a few cases, change the way society sees the gay community.  I have spoken extensively about AIDS in hopes of removing the stigma the straight community has stuck to the gay community.  I had a coworker who thought all gay men had AIDS.  I spent two hours explaining to her that HIV/AIDS is not a gay disease, it is a bodily fluid disease that can be contracted just as easily by heterosexuals as by gay men.  I also clarified that no, not all gay men have HIV/AIDS.
 
A hot topic I vehemently fight against is the pedophilia accusations.  That is one of the things that angers me to my very soul.  I have been asked and several people have assumed that my father was a child molester because he is gay.  I have even been asked if my Dad molested me.  Usually my response includes a few curse words and a cheeky statement about me not being my Dad’s type but it still makes me furious.  The religious zealots are the usual suspects in the gay men are equal to pedophiles arguments and most of the time I realize that I am sparing with an unarmed opponent.  I also have come to the understanding that I am the poster child for gay families.

There aren’t a ton of people my age that were raised in gay families.  While there are adult children of gay parents, gay families didn’t become mainstream until fairly recently.  There are a lot of questions people have about the outcome for children that are raised by gay parents and within the gay community.  While I appreciate being able to speak and advocate for the gay community to society as a whole, my personal favorite part of being a KGP is being able to speak to other gay families and let them know that their kids are going to turn out great.  There seems to be an underlying fear of the outcome of gay parents raising kids, even within the gay community itself and I feel privileged to be able to represent the “final product” if you will of gay families.  

I recently read a study where they took a sample of adult children of gay families and reported their findings.  The KGP’s involved in this study seemed to portray being raised in a gay family as a negative thing.  Supposedly they had self-esteem issues, professional problems, and social problems.  The study claimed to represent the true cost of being raised in a gay family.  I was surprised by the study because I know a lot of KGP’s and I have yet to witness this type of outcome.  As an academic, my first thought was to see who created the study and how they ascertained their study samples.  The study was done by a Christian foundation and their subjects were pulled from mental health facilities!  They specifically studied people who reported having mental health problems that they blamed on their gay parents.  This “Christian” foundation intentionally skewed their results and knowingly published false information with the intent to mislead the public into believing that gay families were dangerous.  Of course what they didn’t report was all of us who have no mental health issues from our upbringing and have progressed through our lives on par with our straight raised contemporaries.  Had they used the methods taught in elementary statistics to gather their study subjects, what they would have found is that baring mental health issues, we all turn out okay.  

All of the KGP’s I know are happy, well-rounded, college educated people with their own families.  I can think of only one case in which the KGP had issues later in life and those weren’t because she was raised by gay parents, it was because she already had mental health issues when she was adopted.  If we aren’t considered part of the gay community, why is it that we represent some of the best the gay community has to offer?

As we become adults, KGP’s have a tendency to stay tied to the gay community.  Why?  Because we are no different than any other human being.  If you grow up in the Irish-American community, you tend to stay within that community.  If you were raised as a gypsy, you will remain a gypsy.  As humans, we are drawn to our people and our community represents our safe place.  The same concept applies to KGPs.  When we grow up, we have a tendency to remain close to the gay community and participate actively in the community.  

Over the years I have been involved in such things as gay pride parades, assisted some of the local HIV/AIDS charities, spoken to groups about issues that affect the gay community and specifically gay families, and been a vocal supporter of not just gay rights but human rights.  I know that not everyone agrees that KGP’s should be considered part of the gay community but as a community that is progressing by leaps and bounds daily, we represent a growing part of the gay community and ignoring our existence isn’t going to change that.


















Dara Fisher. A 33 year old Mother of 3 amazing children with her Prince Charming Keith.  
They live right outside of Palm Springs, California. Dara has degrees in Anthropology, Liberal Arts, and Business Administration.  
She works full time in the Hospitality Industry and attends college classes in pursuit of her MBA when she's not busy being Super Mom.   
She spend her spare time crocheting, quilting, and making a mess with pretty much anything she can get my hands into.  She is a huge Doctor Whofan and  can't eat while watching The Walking Dead. 
Oh and she also happens to be the daughter of gay parents and the Mother of a child with Asbergers  Syndrome and ADHD



photo: The Washington Blade