Two weeks ago, I helped plan and attended a baby shower for a gay couple who are as near and dear to me as family can get. My love for them as individuals, as a couple and soon to-be parents extends to the moon and back. Of course, many of their friends and family were there, a blend of queer and straight people. In chatting with one of our mutual friends, who happens to be a queer single mom, I said, “Have you met Adrienne’s mom? Um moms, I mean, moms.” And there it was. My heterosexual moment.
Once again, I became fully aware that regardless of much I believe that we all have the right to love who we love, the social construction with which I grew up surfaced. Through stumbling over my language, the political structure that has denied queer couples their rights, the religious upbringing that I have since abandoned, my family of origin’s value system and the social circles that formed my upbringing all appeared, awkward and unwanted.
Fortunately, these moments do not happen often which signifies to me the conscious work that I have done to help align my thought processes with my heart. Like many growing up, I had limited understanding, exposure and knowledge for the spectrum of sexuality. This vast spectrum draws me to the practice of sex therapy. My awarenesses support my commitment to create a therapeutic space that honors all types of couples.
As an adult, I exercise my rights to choose my belief system instead of abiding by default to the belief systems of others. I have developed friendships with a diverse group of people. I have joined a spiritual community that supports social justice. Through formal education, I have learned how to confront my own unconscious assumptions. Most importantly, I own this work. I willingly and enthusiastically do this work.
As a parent, this work feels even more paramount. I commit to raise conscious children who celebrate diversity while recognizing the common human experiences that connect us all. Even small acts such as abandoning the hand-me down t-shirt given to my son that says, “Ladies Man”. What an assumption! After counseling so many clients on their struggles to accept their own sexuality, I feel hyper-aware of the damage such t-shirts, comments and attitudes can cause.
Today, my heart overflows as I celebrate the supreme court’s decision to declare DOMA as unconstitutional. In fact, my emotional reaction to the verdict caught me by surprise. I’m curious about that. Did I, in some way, view myself as part of the problem, simply because I’m straight, and now feel like I’m part of the solution? Is it that, I too, have suffered severe bigotry and identify on some level with those who have been treated as an “other”? Perhaps I felt emotional because I have witnessed so many clients tell me about how they try to live “straight” and suffer deeply as a result of this attempt at conformity.
How have you responded to the DOMA verdict? What dictates your value system and does it align with your heart? How often do you find yourself in heterosexual moments (whether you are straight or queer) and how do these moments impact your friendships and relationships? These questions are worth asking yourself.
The declaration of DOMA as unconstitutional supports an important paradigm shift for our country that has been in process for some time. I applaud the supreme court on this decision and all who have spent tireless hours advocating for these rights.
To my queer family members, friends and clients… congratulations. It’s about time.