Guest post by Bridget Gardiner
Typically we look to “society” and what we deem as entertainment to tell us what is considered normal for our lives. But those roles and even definitions are changing as we see two parent homes, of the same gender and/or even more unique homes like mine, redefining the term, Nuclear Family. Most recently, the political climate and therefore the societal acceptance of our Nouveau family has been shifting. But what does that mean to us? Having moved from the very liberal state of California to a very conservative state of Georgia, our lives have a taken a dramatic turn with many pros and just as many cons.
I have two teenage boys and they are being raised by a man and a woman, in a Savannah suburb. They attend the best schools, both have great grades, one is an honor student and the other is focused heavily on music and drama. They have two dogs and a lizard and just like other teenagers their age, they argue about chores and cleaning their rooms. By outside appearances, our family would be deemed “normal” by society’s standards.
But what if I told you our family isn’t normal. That this man and woman who are currently raising these boys under one roof, sharing responsibilities both good and bad, aren’t married or even a couple at all. In fact, the woman, which is me, is disabled with Lupus. And the man, my best friend and the one who has taken care of me for the past year, is gay. The best part is that my older son grew up on the Santa Cruz mountains where gender identity wasn’t an issue. He considers himself bigender and pansexual. While this may seem confusing to most, we are far from confused.
Bigender as defined by the American Pyschological Association as someone who identifies with two genders simultaneously, while being a subset of the transgender group. Being Pansexual, means he is attracted to both sexes, merely looking for love and compassion regardless of the gender he identifies with.
Take all the time you need to process that one because families like ours are just as real as any other family. We pay our bills on time, we pay taxes and pray just like any other family. We send our children to public schools and live in a big white box we call a house, and drive cute silver thing that we too call cars. And we love. My god with all of our hearts we love and we laugh and we cry together. Probably a lot like your family. The thing is, we are tired of waiting for others to adjust to what our normal is. We’ve moved on and created our own version of what a family truly is. It’s the rest of the country that is at fault for being judgmental to a teen boy when he needs societal and peer support the most.
We support our teen boys as much as we can with every ounce of love in our bodies. My son who has wrestled for 3 years with make-up on also wore a bra regularly to school in California. Upon joining the wrestling team in GA, he was asked to not “dress like a girl” as it made the other wrestlers look bad. It seems to me that that statement and their lack of acceptance, was the only thing that made their wrestling team “look bad”. My son quit the wrestling time within 2 weeks after the discussion with his coach. I find myself worried for my son in ways I couldn’t have dreamt possible while living in CA.
While we do look to “society” to tell us what is considered normal for our lives, the current political environment has shifted so dramatically that 4 months ago, I would have raged a holy war against that school. Now, I am hesitant to create more problems for my son when our top leaders in government do not support him, our family, or our lifestyle. While the roles and even definitions are changing as we see two parent homes, of the same gender and/or even more unique homes like mine, redefining the term, Nuclear Family, we are sadly seeing a shift backwards in acceptance. In spite of all of this, my son still wears his pride of our Nouveau family, and more importantly his sexuality, as a visible badge on his sleeve. Come to think of it, I may actually go ahead and wage war once he graduates. Considering the current political climate, I am quite sure he will be moving back to California for college.
Bridget Gardiner resides in Savannah, Georgia, having moved from the mountains of Santa Cruz, with her two boys and two fur babies. Her wanderlust for new places and adventure is what truly keeps her going. She is the founder of the Facebook support community and blog “My Mountain, My Lupus” where she uses stories of her everyday adventures to bring greater support, awareness and education to all lupus warriors throughout the world. Single mother, activist, adventurist, mentor, lifetime lover of learning, lupus warrior.