Believe it or not, this isn’t even the first time something like this has happened.
And trust me, I know that the request comes from a good place in the heart.
But I need you to hear me, you are doing more damage than good. And it may be hard to see from a position of privilege, where your family is accepted as the “norm”. But just hear me out on this, okay?
I got this in a FB message from an acquaintance on FB. We’ve met a couple of times but aren’t close friends- though we have a few friends in common.
So, if you see something like this, your initial thought might be like mine…
“Oh, that’s cool. Yeah…that would be awesome…how flattering..”
But then I started thinking about it.
How come I don’t feel the urge to do this?
Why do I start to feel awkward about this?
What makes me the voice for the LGBT community?
I couldn’t quite put my fingers on it….and then it hit me.
It’s because teaching and exposing our children “diversity” can’t be scheduled. In fact, doing so, only reinforces the “otherness”. It must be organic. It must be led by example in our day to day lives.
If you want your children growing up accustomed to worldly views, embracing and appreciating different views- exposed to different families and cultures…then you actually have to do it yourself too. Everyday.
Its not something that can be done at a diversity table once. And presenting it this way makes it seem like a show and tell.
My family isn’t here for your children to “learn about”.
I don’t sit EJ down and say, “Look, here is Laine…even though our family has two mommies, her family is different. It has a mommy and a daddy. Isn’t that neat? Let’s hear what their family is like…all families are important….love makes a family!”
Nope. We hang out with Laine and her family all the time…not because we want to go out of our way to “expose” our child…but because we like them. They are friends…and I think that teaches children that families that look different than ours are still okay. I actually don’t even have to talk about it- she just sees it herself. She’s already exposed to families that aren’t like ours, and through our love of other families, she inherently loves and not only is “exposed” to them- but embraces them.
If you know me, you know that I’m kind of anti-religion. But you know who my daughter talks non stop about every single day and can’t wait to see every Tuesday at dance? Hadley, a.k.a. “Juicy”- who happens to be from a pretty religiously conservative family…but we are still friends with them cause they’re awesome. And our kids like each other cause…who knows why really but they freaking love each other.
And sure, me and Hadley’s mom have some differences in opinions. But I know that she’s a good person. And although we have a difference in religion that’s okay. I’d trust her with my child’s life…in fact, I literally have cause she was my post partum nurse by request.
I don’t need to attend a diversity table, because the table is already in my house. We live and breathe it without much thought.
When we get invited to a birthday party, whether it be at a wealthy country club or literally in our town’s section 8 housing development- we go to both.
She sees families speaking other languages at story time, or even La Leche League meetings. She probably doesn’t know that Penelope’s family is Latino and that her grandmother is from Mexico…I’ve never had to outright say it. But she sees them all the time so it’s not even weird for her.
She knows about Lily, a friend from school who was a foster child but was adopted- we look at pictures on Facebook of her adoption day.
She knows about Ledger, another adopted kid with 2 moms.
In fact, she also knows about her donor siblings, and one of them is a single mom by choice.
We have family friends from different backgrounds, education levels, socioeconomic levels, ethnicities and cultures….and she hasn’t known it any other way.
She doesn’t even blink. Because she’s been raised in a home where diversity isn’t something we have to try or got out of our way to expose her to.
It just is.
I don’t want her to be exposed…I want her to embrace- but it has to happen organically.
Scheduling it makes it seem disingenuous. First of all, we are not even reflective of all LGBT families.
And more importantly…my family is my family. If you want to get to know us, then befriend us…don’t bring us to show n tell. We aren’t a lesson for your family to learn about.