You Probably Need a Will, So Here's How to Have That Potentially Awkward Conversation with Your Family
Remember, if you die without a will, the state will determine who inherits
I have lived with a gay person I call her Mom. Actually, I had three moms growing up: the woman who gave birth to me, the woman my mom fell in love with, and my father's partner.
I know people have lots of questions about how I came to live in this post-modern sitcom. It's a good story — shame and loneliness replaced with friendship and love — but it's not mine to tell. There's nothing wrong with being curious, but straight people have a tendency to ask me extremely personal questions about my life without realizing what they're asking. This is not entirely their fault; in the past, there wasn't a lot of media about gay history, and I'm usually the first kid-of-lesbians many straight people meet.
This first question I'm usually asked is "How were you born?" I honestly think people blurt this out by accident; their mid screams "turkey-baster baby," their mouths fall open, and it just comes out. I know this because they always look slightly horrified a few seconds later. They realize they just asked me about my mom's vagina.
The story of how I got here is actually not that amusing. When gays have kids on TV, they often adopt or find a sperm donor. The story of my birth is the story of my mom living a lie, which is how many gays throughout history became parents. When straight people picture the course of their life, it's usually pretty simple: college, marriage, kids. Once you discover you're gay, when's become if's. There's an epic struggle behind every happy, successful LBGT couple living in the suburbs. (If I were a gay baby boomer, I'd be living an apartment with three parrots right now.)
Most children of LGBT people are just not that comfortable talking about something that was so painful for their parents.
People typically ask me if I'm gay, too. This one isn't accidentally blurted out. It seems like some people have confused LBGT efforts to increase their visibility with the belief that it's OK to ask some one if they're gay. It's not. All LGBT people live with a constant threat of physical violence for being who they are, so they do not why you are asking them this question.
Also, I have run into people who think being LGBT is a learned behavior, or worse, they think my parents are perverts who groomed me to be a lesbian. Homosexuality is organic, though. I have lived with a lesbian most of my life, and when I watched Blue is the Warmest Color, the only thing that film made me crave was spaghetti.
There's also a group of people who tend to concern-troll me without really meaning to. They want to know how I will deal with my own hypothetical kids' classmates finding out they have two grandmas. What will I do if a future boyfriend's parents do not like gay people? I know they're just trying to make conversation, but these chats are not fun for me because I actually do worry about stuff like this. The world is changing, but is it changing fast enough for me to never hear one of my future in-laws blurt out "You guys are just like a real family" during Thanksgiving dinner? I hope so, but I don't know.
I have also endured all kinds of intentionally ignorant bros who want to know if my moms are the "hot" lesbians or the "manly" ones. Then there are other women who assume my lack of femininity is due to how I was raised, when really I'm just lazy and don't like waking up early.
Somehow, it's almost harder to deal with people who are not homophobes. Normally, I'm stoked to talk about my moms and LBGT issues, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood. I cannot imagine what it's like for actual gay people to deal with the would-be-enlightened; I would just loan them some Ginsberg, tell them to watch Paris is Burning, Google the Stonewall Inn and call it a day.
Of course, there are some questions I don't mind getting asked: how my parents met, when they got married, and all the ways they annoy me are fine. I just want to talk to about normal family stuff, because I feel like my family is normal — not something worthy of a Netflix documentary.
When my mom first came out to me when I was 12, after a decade of being alone, I felt like it was huge sea change, but the next morning, I woke up in the same house and my mom was still my mom. There were still Pop Tarts in the pantry and dial-up internet. So I stopped caring. Now I'm just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.