TNF: Tell me about your family. How did you meet your husband? Do you have kids?
JER: Jack and I are married with a little girl named Aliah who will be turning 4 next month. We actually met at work. Jack is a dancer, and moved to Los Angeles to attend Cal Arts after High School. Looking for a night job that wouldn’t conflict with classes, he went to work for a television shopping network where I was a supplier and on-air host. After nearly a year, he changed positions at the company and we were suddenly working together into the late nights. I was 29 at the time and had never so much as kissed a boy before, but was effectively “outed” at work by our unexpected and obviously growing friendship. We fell head-over-heels for each other, and everyone both professionally and personally was very supportive as we coupled and began sharing our lives. It was a whirlwind. We were living together within a few months and very much considered ourselves committed for life.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
JER: On our third anniversary in 2007, realizing both our moms would be in town at the same time, we went ahead and filed for Domestic Partnership in California. It was of course a happy time, but we kept it to a simple BBQ at the house not wanting to make a big deal about it believing marriage would soon be possible for us. It felt like a temporary compromise with a society that was almost ready. The following year when marriage became briefly possible in California, we truly thought it was here to stay. Entrenched in a new business venture together we procrastinated planning a wedding and then found ourselves in a hurried panic as we watched the polling results for Prop 8 in the days leading up to the election. Realizing we were about to lose the opportunity, we procured our wedding license and got hitched just the two of us in a strip-mall chapel in Beverly Hills in the late afternoon on the day both prop 8 passed and Barack Obama was elected into the White House. It was bittersweet because it wasn’t what we’d hoped for, but it’s a part of our path now and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Our desire to be parents was one of the things that drew us together, and in 2010 we were blessed with an invitation to do so. I was at home in LA and Jack was on the road touring with his dance company when we both got calls from an old family friend of mine who Jack had yet to meet. She’d found herself in-and-out of a quick marriage that had left her pregnant, and with two older children already she was committed to bringing this new life into the world but wanted specifically to see an LGBT couple have the opportunity to become parents. We were able to be involved throughout the pregnancy, and in June of 2010 our little angel was born. Our adoption is an open one, where she’ll always have a relationship with her mom, siblings, grandparents, and uncles in Seattle. We slept on the floor of her apartment those first few weeks while she nursed and we all welcomed this wonderful little girl into the world. She pumped and stockpiled as much breast milk as possible for us before the journey home, and away we went!
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay couple where you live? Do you feel accepted?
JER: We live in Hermosa Beach, California, and are so grateful our community has been so welcoming of our little modern family. Admittedly we’ve experienced the dirty looks and even had a confrontation or two out in our travels, but at home it is usually all smiles and will occasionally inspire a stranger to approach with words of encouragement. Generally once people have had a chance to see and experience the love in a family like ours, and understand it is no different than their own, it’s always positive.
Our little brood has temporarily grown a bit this last year and a half, with two of our goddaughters now in our care while their mom is serving in the military. Just weeks away from joining her, we’re already missing them. I suspect we’ll be starting the process of looking to expand our immediate family with another little one quite soon.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
JER: Our family means everything to us, and we’re no different than any other. It’s been the same laughter, tears, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and unconditional love either one of us might have experienced in a “traditional marriage”; but we’re so happy to be walking through this life together!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!