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