Surrounding her with queerness

So yesterday I spent the day with three wonderful moms and their adorable children, who are all close in age to my babe. They also all happen to have husbands. We talk about a range of things, mainly our babies, but also our partners and the larger world. We have shared values and they are fun. Also, their babies are super cute. So it left me wondering, given all that, why do I also need to find queer families and have my babe around queer people?

There is the obvious one, that I want her to see other families that look like hers, so that she isn’t surrounded by families that only have a mom and a dad. I want her to see families of all varieties (single parent families, multiple co-parent families), but it is also important for her to see herself reflected back and have friends who have two moms. But it is more than that. I’m not sure what it is, but it has to do with bringing my whole self into any given space. Yes, I talk about my wife in a similar way to how they talk about their partners, but being queer (for me) is about much more than the fact that my partner is a woman. It is about culture, politics, and, frankly, a certain degree of fabulousness. I think there is a way in which I share more of myself with people who have that commonality with me. There is an understood shared language and an understood world view. (Not with all gays everywhere, but with my chosen queer community here.)

We are still working to find other families that look like ours. What has been, honestly, surprising and so wonderful is the way in which our queer friends from before the baby are so excited about her and supportive of our new lives as parents. I was worried that part of why we were going to need to find other queer families is because no one would want to hang out with us old fuddy duddys anymore. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is partially that our particular queer friends are particularly obsessed with babies (you know who are you are). But I also get a sense of shared ownership, collective responsibility, and hope. We are, as a community, constantly struggling and working towards making a better future. We are often overwhelmed and saddened by oppression and the power of a system that continues to perpetuate violence against us and other oppressed communities. I think my daughter reminds people why we are fighting and struggling. I think she offers some hope. I think my queer community feels invested in raising her in a way that is both free of as much oppression as possible as well as helping to provide her with the tools to be a bad ass fighter. I think she also offers the world’s best smile at the end of a long day.

-Rachel

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