By Brandy Black
The Next Family: Tell me about your family.
Mugs: My family consists of my wife Mary, our 19-month-old son, Emerson, an orange tabby cat named Cheetoh, our dog, Blaze, and myself, Mugs. We live in Seattle, WA with loving, doting grandparents close by. Seattle is a very liberal and progressive city. We chose to live here specifically for that reason.My wife is a psychologist in private practice and I am a firefighter. Together we love farmers markets, traveling, the outdoors, and being spoiled.
The Next Family: Are you married?
Mugs: Yes, we had a very lavish wedding ceremony with over 100 of our closest friends and family. We have been married for 2 years and together for just over 6. Currently we are registered domestic partners. Washington just legalized gay marriage with this past election so we are in the process of formally transferring our domestic partnership paperwork into a marriage license.
The Next Family: Tell us about Emerson and do you plan on having more kids?
Mugs: We used a willing to be known donor and Mary carried him. We are currently in the process of trying to have another and we are tentatively thinking about a possible third. We plan to use the same donor for all three children. Mary will be the birth mother for all three as well.
The Next Family: How did you meet your wife?
Mugs: I met my wife on St. Patricks day of 2007. We were introduced by a mutual friend who is now our son’s godparent and who was also my best person at our wedding. When I first met Mary I thought it was love at first sight and Mary eventually came to her senses and sent me a message through myspace. (remember myspace?) After we spent just a few weeks together I told her I would marry her and here we are today. She’s the love of my life and I couldn’t have picked a better partner and mother for our children. We feel very blessed.
The Next Family: Do you feel like your family is different from other families?
Mugs: Yes, I do feel different than other families. It’s becoming more common to see other families like ours but we are still usually the only same sex family in any given situation. We operate the same as any other family so in that sense we are no different. We are busy with swim classes, music classes, day care, aquariums, parks, and the rest of it. Fortunately I have never felt treated any differently than any other family. Sometimes some clarifying is needed and people have questions, but I am always happy to help educate people on our experiences, especially if they are curious.
The Next Family: Is it tough being a gay couple where you live?
Mugs: I wouldn’t say it’s tough being a gay couple in Seattle. I just think being gay, whether you are alone or with someone, can have its challenges. For everyone it’s different, for me I always feel like I stand out a bit more just because my presentation is more male. That can create some awkward social moments in itself no matter where you are. The amount of progress that society has made in regards to equality really has made things easier.
The Next Family: Do you feel accepted?
Mugs: I usually feel accepted but I don’t always feel like I fit in. There are still the rare occasions where people are ignorant or rude. Most of the time that’s not the case and there will always be some people who will never accept it. Kids growing up gay in today’s world will grow up with much more confidence and acceptance and there is so much more open support now. I think feeling accepted has a lot more to do with being comfortable with who you are. I grew up needing to hide who I was and feeling ashamed. I don’t need to do that anymore but it still takes time to break old habits and I’m still working on that.
The Next Family: What has having a family meant to you?
Mugs: Having a family has been amazing. It has given me a new purpose in my life and also a real sense of grounding. For me, every moment and milestone is fulfilling when you have someone to share it with. We have really just started this adventure. We have so many more memories and traditions to enjoy.
Thank you Mugs and Mary for sharing your beautiful family with The Next Family.