Change the World

How I Talk About Race With My Black Son

Look your child in the eye. Start by telling your child you love him or her, that you're proud of who he or she is. Say, as you have many times, that he or she is special and has so much potential.


Take a breath and look once more at your young, vulnerable, fragile child, one you're raising to be strong, confident and self-assured. But for all the work you've done to build this child up, you have to start tearing them down, to destroy a part of who they are. You have to convey doubt, fear, injustice. Slap your child hard with reality.

Tell your child that it is your role as a parent to keep him or her safe. To be safe, your child has to be obedient, to do what someone in authority says. Say to him or her: you have to be nice, you have to be over nice; you can't talk back, or be defensive; you can answer only when asked; and even though you may be nervous or anxious, even though you're young and inexperienced, you have to control your emotions and stay calm; it may be a stressful situation but you need to be mature beyond your years; you have to behave perfectly - in fact, better than perfect; this is all you can control in the situation, and still it might not be enough; that you're talking to a person who can change your life, for the worse; even – and especially – when you've done nothing wrong, you'll still be considered guilty; there's no second chance, no re-do or do over; you get the once chance. You, as a parent, don't want it to be his or her last chance.


You'll need to explain that there are people out there who will treat your child as unworthy, as second class, as less than, so your child needs to be careful. Remind your child that a different child may do the same thing and not get into trouble, or get a light talking to; your child however may face worse consequences. As much as you want to impart and wish that the world is equal, you know it's not true. You have to say that even fairness and justice are not truly blind; they are also affected by centuries of bias that might yet take more centuries to undo.

Say to your child, people will look at you - the colour of your skin, the shape of your nose and how curly your hair is - they're going to judge you: judge how you look, what you wear, how you behave. Tell your child: those people are not going to see your talents, your achievements so far, your goals. Those people are going to think less of you, not for who you are but who they are. And often there's nothing you can do about it.

As a parent, you've always talked about dreams and hopes, telling your child that he or she can do anything or be anything. But say now that that's not entirely true – there are limits, there are barriers. Your child won't in fact have equal opportunity, not without fighting harder and longer. Your child will have to do so much more to create his or her own opportunities.

While you've talked about tolerance, acceptance and a celebration of difference, point out that the world is not what you want it to be. It is unacceptable but at this point it is unavoidable. Talk about how some people loathe diversity, how they're – what? – ignorant, scared, threatened, angry? Bias, discrimination and hate are ugly, insidious and pervasive; sometimes they're explicit but sometimes they're hard to discern. But tell your child that he or she will encounter all of them. He or she will have to find an inner strength to push through and will have to decide how to address them, how personal and political he or she will be.

Repeat that the world is not what you want it to be. It is harsh and ugly and hard for a child to understand. It is hard most times for you to understand.

Show Comments ()
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News

Maivon Wahid, a gay Muslim single dad living in Fiji, wrote an opinion piece for Gay Star News about the challenges he's faced on his road to self acceptance.

"I feel pressure on how I am supposed to behave and how I am perceived," he wrote oh how these competing identities play out for him, day to day.

Maivon described himself as an "odd" kid, who never quite fit in--something he still relates to today as an adult. "When I enter the masjid (mosque), I am always judged and questioned," he wrote. "Sometimes it's curiosity, but sometimes it's borderline bullying." He said he found a way to be both gay and Muslim, three years ago, when he met an openly gay Imam at a conference in Australia. "It was through him I was able to first appreciate who I was, then love who I had become and celebrate it."

Being gay in Fiji, he says also makes him feel the need to hide certain parts of himself. "In Fiji, I find the need to hide so many aspects of my authentic being," he wrote.

He also wrote of complications familiar to many single gay men who became dads from previous straight relationships. He writes: "As a single parent to the most beautiful son – I was married to my ex-wife for nine years – learning to become and celebrate the person you want to be is about more than just me; it's a legacy I want to leave for him and the next generation. Although it's hard to meet like-minded people (my dating life is non-existent!), in being myself, I believe I can show others it's OK to be you, and to love whoever you want to love."

Ultimately, despite the challenges he's faced, Maivon says he has found a way to reconcile these three identities into one. "Whether you're gay, Muslim or a single parent – or all three – there is a place and space for everyone," he wrote. "I have found my place in Islam, and am comfortable being the best version of gay I can be. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Read the whole article here.


Change the World

Gay Dad and Christian Mom Have a Come to Jesus Moment on 'Wife Swap'

A Christian mom learns a thing or two about "judge not lest ye be judged" on the latest episode of "Wife Swap"

Two men, Terrell and Jarius Joseph, were recently the first gay dads to be featured on the show "Wife Swap," where they swapped spouses with Nina and Matt, a religious, Christian couple. But the drama doesn't unfold in the same way as some previous episodes featuring religious mothers (see everyone's favorite "Crazy Christian Lady") because (plot twist!) the gay dads are religious, too.

At one point, Nina asks Jarius to lead the family in a prayer before dinner, because she felt it was important to show him "what the true love of God is." She is surprised, then, when Jarius quite naturally launches into a prayer.

Later in the episode, Nina says she wants to lead Jarius in a "devotional" about judgment. "Jesus knew that this would be a battle for us, so he was very stern in warning us in Matthew 7: 1-5," she say. "Do not judge or you too will be judged."

Jarius quickly points out that most Christian churches are unaccepting of LGBTQ members. "You say 'Don't judge people,'" Jarius says. "But you are."

"Now that I've talked with Jarius, I feel like I jumped to conclusions a bit," Nina tells the camera later on in the "I'm not a judgey person but I actually judged the situation and I don't like the way it makes me feel."

Watch the moment play out in full here:

'Do You Feel Like Being Gay is a Sin?' | Wife Swap Official Highlight www.youtube.com

Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse