your family stories to a complete stranger when an assumption is
made about you and/or your family.
When studies show that knowing three or more LGBTQ individuals
makes straight people more likely to oppose anti-LGBTQ policies,
it’s imperative that we get our stories out to as many people as
possible. Conversely, if people don’t know about your family,
they’re less likely to support policies that are
beneficial to your family.
Every interaction is an opportunity to make change. Sharing your
story is one of the best ways to let others know about the joys and
struggles of being an LGBTQ person raising a family. It’s easy
for people to make assumptions about our families and it’s up to
us to correct them.
It’s happened to everyone. Maybe you’re at your son Billy’s
little league game. Billy hits a double and brings in the winning
run. You and your partner are cheering and the coach comes over to
congratulate you saying, “Billy’s a great kid. His dad must be
so proud of him!” This is a perfect occasion to explain that
Billy has a mom and a mommy and no “dad.” Tell him about your
family, how Billy was created through donor insemination and
carried by your partner, how you acquired a second-parent adoption
and that you are actually the one who taught Billy how to
hit. A couple of minutes can change the coach’s conception of who
comprises a family.
For me personally, I have found that simply using inclusive,
gender-neutral language is a good way to educate and get the
conversation around LGBTQ rights started. I’ll ask about
someone’s partner or if they’re dating
someone. Following it up by saying that I don’t assume
anyone’s sexual orientation is a good way to provide a space for
questions from someone who might not know an LGBTQ person and
provide them with facts about the prevalence of families and the
issues they face.
Do your part and educate someone today!
52 Ways to be OUTSpoken is part of OUTSpoken Families,
and provides LGBTQ parents/allies with creative, doable actions to
help secure family equality all year long. To increase the reach of
52 Ways, Family Equality Council staff will blog about each
upcoming “way” the week before it takes effect. People who sign
up to become OUTSpoken receive weekly email reminders about 52
Ways. To download the 2008 version of 52 Ways, click