Dad Life

Coming out about their families: Growing up with LGBT parents – Part 2

Now that the first generation of the “gayby boom” is entering adulthood, we can begin to gain firsthand insight into what it was like for these children to grow up with openly LGBT parents. One aspect of their coming of age that might be a bit of a surprise is their coming out experience. Coming out? About what? Certainly they would have no problem letting us know they were gay, right? Well, that isn’t the kind of coming out that we’re discussing.


“The process of coming out about your family can be a difficult one,” says 24 year old Jeff Degroot, who has two moms and is an active member of the national organization COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere). “I have never been ashamed of my family, but at the same time I grew up knowing that I would be teased if I talked about my parents in certain situations. When I was in middle school and high school I had to deal with the dueling emotions of guilt, brought on by not publically supporting my family, and embarrassment when peers asked me pointed questions about my family. I think it is important for parents to realize this struggle and support their children no matter how out they want to be about their family.”

“I also have to face the everyday reality that my family is treated differently. From the time I was in first grade there were measures on the Oregon (where I grew up) ballot to legalize discrimination against my family. Beyond the political discrimination, there have been countless social situations where peers of mine have said hateful or ignorant things about the LGBT community without knowing my family structure.”

There is also a generational element at play in regards to how safe our children feel with being open, Mr. DeGroot explains, “I have met (other children of LGBT parents) who are in middle school and have been enthusiastic about talking about their family, and others who are my age or older who still do not discuss their family with even their close friends.”

The one common experience for all these kids after coming out are the endless questions. Among the FAQs are “What is it like to never know your dad/mom?,” “How were you conceived/born,” “What is it like to grow up with two moms/dads?,” etc. According to Mr. DeGroot, “Most people feel too uncomfortable to ask these questions thinking they might offend me, but I enjoy talking about my family and I think it is generally a good thing for more people to have exposure to those of us raised in non-traditional families.”

“I feel blessed to be raised by two loving parents who had the courage to do something different and start an alternative family, which has caused me to face life with an open mind and cherish what is different.”

Show Comments ()

With everything going on in our country, I think saying that it has been a crazy year is an understatement. It has been emotionally difficult and draining at times for many. This year brought so many new changes that it is hard to wrap our minds around some of them. The daunting feeling of uncertainty looms over our heads as we march forward into this unfamiliar territory led by someone we do not particularly trust.

With that said, one thing will not change- the holidays. For my family, this time of year brings cheer, joy, hope, and optimism for the new year to come.

I have always had one golden rule when it comes to decorating our home for the holidays: the current holiday must pass before decorating for another.

Recently, our two year old, Alli Mae, had started to develop an appreciation for all that Christmas brings. The way she lights up and gets excited when she sees Christmas decorations made me think for the first time in my life, what if I changed things up this year? Decorating earlier will also help attenuate the political frustration that this year brought. That coupled with the amazement that our little girl has for Christmas makes a strong case for decorating for Christmas early. Sure, there are diehard Thanksgiving fans that grumble at the thought of Christmas coming early and I am sure they will give this a healthy eye roll and, if so, that's ok. We are not replacing Thanksgiving... we are enhancing it.

We will most definitely continue to teach our children the meaning of Thanksgiving and to enjoy the symbolic feast that comes along with it. The white pumpkins I usually put out for Thanksgiving really made a statement when I mixed them with the Christmas attire. I was quite surprised and impressed by the final outcome!

These days, one of my primary goals in life is to create an environment for my family that is happy, healthy, and nurturing. I want them to get excited about Christmas, both the true meaning and the atmosphere that it brings. When my children walk into the house, I want them to be transported into a bright, cheerful place that they will always remember. Perhaps it will even inspire the way they celebrate the holidays with their families (and our future grandchildren) in the future. The world can be a harsh, cold and scary place, especially lately it seems. I would be lying if I said I didn't do this for myself, too. I am. For the first time in my life, I am worried for the future of our country. I am terrified of the direction we as Americans are taking and worry it is setting a precedent for what the future will be like for my family. Mass shootings seem to happen monthly now, yet there continues to be a lack of response by Congress to create solutions. Bigotry and racism, masked by patriotism, also plague our society. I know I am speaking of sore subjects, but all of these reasons give me the motivation for welcoming the Christmas season earlier.

I do have faith that in time, competent leaders will emerge and will steer us in a direction that will help fade our fear into the bold and lionhearted society that we are. We as LGBTQ families need to comfort one another. Lets extend our hands to each other. Let this holiday season not be about the "correct" time in which we decorate for Christmas, moreover lets make it about coming together as a community that lifts each other up. Lets protect each other. Lets embrace each other for all the we are, all that we bring and all that we stand for. Let us not be silenced- and pushed into a corner but let us lead by example- while showing our children who their parents are by being respectful and tolerant and warmhearted as we welcome this Christmas season.

Erik and Douglas' two daughters, Ella and Alli Mae, who recently turned 2

May you and your family have the most beautiful and happiest of holidays, regardless of when you choose to welcome Christmas. I pray that 2018 will bring each of you happiness, patience, resilience and with time, we will get there, together!

I would love for you to follow our family's journey on Instagram, Nolapapa.com and like us on Facebook.

Arejay Encinas and his husband Mauricio Camargo wanted to become foster dads so they could help a child find a loving home. The two live in Tucson, Arizona, and were married February 2015. A little less than two years after their wedding, they received a call about a newborn who needed to be fostered. They said yes immediately. In October 2017, the little boy's adoption was finalized. This is the story of two dads and their moving letters to their son Dylan on the day they became a forever family.

Keep reading... Show less

In October this year, James and Andrew took their eldest Olivia (Liv for short) to Disney World for her 2nd birthday.

"We were going to wait under her adoption day," said James, "But she has a real affinity for Winnie the Poo and Belle from Beauty and the Beast ... She loved it!"

Andrew and James have been together a little over 10 years, and they currently are fostering two children, 2-year-old Liv and 5-month-old Brandon (Bran for short).

"We have always wanted to be dads from the moment we met," said James, who was also adopted through foster-care. "That is how I was adopted and it seemed to be the best fit for our family."

Keep reading... Show less

November is National Adoption month, and in the US, around 16,000 same-sex couples are raising more than 22,000 adopted children.

In honor of National Adoption Day, Saturday 18, 2107, we heard from a few of our families on how they celebrate their kids' "forever family" days.

Keep reading... Show less

Welcoming a child into your home though foster care or adoption can be an exciting, but also challenging, time. However, there are several things you can do to help make the transition smoother for the new child and your family.

Keep reading... Show less

In March this year, we shared the story of Michael and Wes, their eldest daughter Katie (and wonderful big sister) and their newborn Talulah. Apart from the sore backs attributed to their age as new dads, Michael and Wes have loved every minute of it. (Watch Talulah's 1st year video below.)

Keep reading... Show less

As celebrations sweep across Australia, the LGBTQ community, along with their allies, rejoice in the results of the marriage equality vote. Despite the controversial campaign that surrounded the plebiscite, love won. And won big! An overwhelming 79.5% of the population took part in the survey (12.7 million people), and in every state and territory, the majority voted "yes," with 61.6%.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse