3 min

I am not a lifestyle trend

Hardcore homos have kids, too

Like tons of other people, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen for a long time at the Dyke March. She used to be a friend and I was happy to catch up with her and her partner.

We did the usual “Hey, how are ya? It’s been a while.”

Then after inquiring about my daughter, who wasn’t with me, she said “Well, if I see one more lesbian mom parading her little baby around I’m going to be sick.”

I was surprised, but I didn’t respond. I simply let the crowd carry me away in the other direction, towards the beer garden and friends I enjoy being with.

But it seems a subject worth taking up. It’s hard enough existing as a queer mom in the straight world of schools and supermarkets and summer camps. Myself and other queer moms don’t need to hear that we, and our children, are unwelcome on the most dyked-out day of the year.

I don’t think my acquaintance is alone in her perspective. It’s part of the “We don’t want to be confused with straight people” attitude that’s creeping through our community, mostly in response to the fight for equal recognition of gay families.

I don’t want to be confused with straight people either. I applaud those who argue that, in the fight to have our families recognized, we shouldn’t lose sight of the many and varied ways that gays function in relationships and choose to exist in society.

I’ve proudly thought of the gay/queer community as unafraid of messing with social taboos and conventions. I’ve certainly stretched my idea of relationships, even my idea of parenting, far beyond what was ever presented to me in the straight world. As queers, we’ve not been part of the social rewards of weddings or the fallout of divorces, so we’re less bound by those rules. We’re freer to experiment.

A year or so ago I met a Montreal woman who, with her male partner, is working on a documentary on non-monogamy. Most of their material comes from the straight community. I at least attempted to convince them to include perspectives from the gay community, where there’s enormous experience with non-monogamy and unconventional relationship arrangements.

I’m not saying that living outside the bounds is all fun and games or that some of that experimenting isn’t painful. But having been excluded from the benefits of social acceptance, it’s only right that queers get credit for turning that exclusion into an opportunity to try something different.

But acknowledging and celebrating our differences from the straight community, even maintaining a rigorous boundary, can’t mean that we spurn all similarities. Human beings, in all our diversities, are far too alike for that. Not to mention that we are bound by the conditions of the society we live in.

We either own a house or we rent. We’re either unemployed, self-employed or employed by someone else. We may be an artist but our grants come from the same federal coffers as do straight people’s. We may have a lover, have several or have none. We may have a BMW or a bicycle, but none of these factors is gay or straight specific.

And neither is having a child. You might as well say that having slept with the opposite sex, or having once been married, is unqueer. In that case I know that my so-called friend wouldn’t qualify.

Neither would she qualify if we eliminated all committed, monogamous, home-owning couples as too straight-identified.

My child came out of a straight relationship. But many queers are twisting the assumptions of what it means to be a parent because they don’t believe that because they love – or love to fuck – the same sex they should be excluded from the joys of a child in their life.

And we who had children before we came out don’t believe we should be excluded from the joys of queerness or from participating in pride because we are called by some special people, “mommy” or “daddy.”

I don’t want to assimilate, but I don’t want to suffer the disdain of those who believe that queer families dilute the difference of “gay.” And my daughter, for all her growing social awareness, doesn’t want to assimilate either.

She loves her diverse lives. She’s completely comfortable in both the straight and the queer communities. That’s a bonus.

And, like many of the babies and children “paraded” on Pride Day, she’ll have an uncommon potential when she’s older, to bridge the rifts and divisions that keep us drawing lines down the parade, saying who can come and who can’t.