Monthly Archives: December 2013

Breaking Traditional Parental Labels

Breaking Traditional Parental Labels

Today was an uncomfortable day for me. I was placed in a position where I had to defend my parental label to my two younger Chicklets. I was asked by someone ( whom I strongly think is gay themselves) who the mother of my two younger children were. I stated that both my wife and I were their Moms. He said again, “Yes, but who is the mother?” I restated my answer saying that they are both children of our marriage. This, unfortunately, was not enough for this man. He then said, “Your wife is the biological mother of the two girls, so then who is their biological father?”

At this point, I am about screaming in my head, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?” Can this man really be this dense!? No, of course he isn’t; this man ( I just can’t bring myself to use the word “gentleman” to describe this individual) is purposely trying to insinuate that I am not really a mother or parent to my two Chicklets. A colleague of mine decided to step in at this point and remind this man that it is public knowledge that here in Canada we are fortunate enough to live in a nation where two people of the same sex are indeed legally the parents of any children born within their marriage when unknown sperm donors are used.

This man had no other reason to pursue this line of questioning other than to try to negate my role as a valid parent to my two young beautiful daughters. I can’t say I have ever been harassed or bullied in this way before. I have been reflecting on my feelings and I now understand one very sad truth about bullying and why so many gay teens see no better option than suicide.

Bullying a gay person does not just hurt. It attacks every fiber of who they are as a person; a person they as a teenager are still trying to figure out themselves! I am in my early 40’s now and confidently know who I am as a person, and I felt attacked, broken down, and judged to be someone or something that is undesirable and illegitimate. How can we expect teens, or children even younger, be expected to handle gender-based bullying!? The truth is we can’t. We as a society MUST begin to stand up on behalf of these individuals who are being bullied and say, “Enough! No more!”

I truly believe that change must start with ourselves and how we live our lives. As long as we continue to differentiate between traditional relationships and marriages and same-sex relationships and marriages, I don’t see how the bullying will ever end. As stated in this recent post on Facebook, someday…..someday we will all just be “beautiful families.” Until such time, the bullying will continue because we will be labelled as different, as the “non” normal. The definition of normal is basically, anything that commonly happens or occurs. So, in fact, we are examples of today’s “normal” families!

So the next time you see a family with children and their two parents, please, if you must put any label on them, may I suggest you label them with the term, “beautiful” family.

Thank-you for reading my rant today,

Sheri

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A World’s True Hero – Nelson Mandela

A World's True Hero - Nelson Mandela

My hero died today. I think the world’s hero died today. We mourn for the loss of a leader, an inspiration, an “out-of-the-box” thinker, a living martyr, an eloquent speaker, a man who could move nations with his words and his actions of peace. But few of us will remember that he is also a husband, a father, a uncle, a cousin, a friend. My heart breaks for members of his family and friends. They have lost a loved one and are unable to mourn their loss in private. I pray that they find a way to mourn, remember, and celebrate Nelson Mandela’s death in their own way, in their own time, away from the rest of the world. I also hope that they will take great comfort in the fact that this man that they knew personally will never be forgotten by so many people around the world.

He will be remembered for all of he successes over the 95 years he walked on this earth. As this quote suggests though, it is not his successes that Mr. Mandela wanted to be remembered for, but his tenacity. Nelson Mandela has been a symbol of peaceful strength for me since I was old enough in school to become aware that he had been jailed and why. I remember writing letters to Amnesty International for him to be released from his imprisonment. I remember hearing the incredible news of his release; something I never really ever thought would happen! This man was physically and mentally beaten down for 30 years while in prison yet after time spent in a life of privacy, he decided to re-enter the world of the public eye to continue his mission to bring freedom and equality to his home of South Africa as well as around the world. I cried and cried when he won the Presidential election and became the first Black President of South Africa. What a turn of the tide that represented and within my own lifetime! He continued to have his stumbles and falls over the years, yet, he continued to pick himself up and continue on. THAT inspires me!

When I am sitting on my pity pot, begrudging my “unfair” life, I will remember this quote of my hero’s and pick myself up and continue on with improving not only my own life but the lives of those in my community. Nelson Mandela endured discrimination and imprisonment for over 30 years, surely, I can endure stressful times of financial restraints, disappointments in my career, occasional arguments with my spouse or children and everything else life throws my way!

So as you continue on your life journey, remember;
Your strength is defined not by your successes but by the number of times you pick yourself back up after being knocked down.

You will be missed but never forgotten Nelson Mandela! Thank you for showing the world what a true hero and inspiration looks like!

Sheri

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