Last month, my wife and I celebrated our 20 year anniversary. We have spent over 14 of those years as moms to our 2 amazing daughters. How times have changed in those 14 years! When we first started this adventure in parenthood, we were some of the only gay parents we knew. We thought we may go through most of our parenting journey being the only gay or lesbian parents around. We could not have been more wrong.
We ended up being the crest of a wave of other LGBTQ friends who would decide to take the leap and venture into parenting, too. Along the way, we have met many other parents who identify as LGBTQ. In 2007, we started our parenting journey as partners who could not legally marry, with a mound of paperwork to protect our family’s legal rights. In 2015, our family gained the full rights of legal marriage and adoption that straight-identified families take for granted. So much of our time as moms has been filled with acceptance and progress. It has been a wonderful joy for that reason and so many others.
The times our kids have felt any ill social impacts of having two moms have been few and far between. Undoubtedly, the most common comment our children receive from other kids is, “No fair; I wish I had two moms!” On a few occasions, other kids have been confused or given them strange looks. Once, I got a look of disgust from parents at a birthday party when they realized it was two moms hosting, but nothing we couldn’t overcome as a family. We get asked strange questions at times and people can be a bit intrusive around the “how” we created our family. But mostly, people are curious about how we are the same and how we are different. The truth is, we are much more the same than different. We love our children deeply and we would protect them at all costs, just like our counter parts in straight-identified relationships. We struggle with the juggle of carpools and homework and activities like any other family. I think our biggest difference is we don’t have to break free of any gender norms to divide up things like chores the way that works best for us; gender constraints are already gone. Breaking gender norms is becoming more and more typical for all families. I like to think maybe seeing all the LGBTQ families out there helps everyone break gendered expectations a little bit!
The hardest part of being a LGBTQ family in the Deep South is something more insidious and more damaging. If everyone is so darn polite to our faces, how is it possible that laws so profoundly unfriendly to LGBTQ people keep passing in our state? It seems like every year, a glut of new legislation makes its way though our state and make our family more and more marginalized. Our area has numerous elected officials at the local, state, and national level who are openly hostile and support legislation that would make it difficult or impossible for my children to even discuss their family in a classroom. People who support us on the surface often don’t support us at election time. People who maybe wear a rainbow in June or changed their profile photo after the Pulse shooting don’t vote to hold lawmakers in our state accountable to keep our family safe and legally intact. That’s been the hardest part of being an LGBTQ family: no matter how polite and celebratory everyone acts, we cannot trust them to protect our families when it matters most. So as I celebrate pride with my family this month, I hold out hope that all those I see sharing rainbow photos, memes and giving support in June will find their way to be just as supportive when it comes to the policies and laws that can impact us the most!
About Victoria Judge
Victoria Judge is mom to Claire (14) and Charlotte (10), with her wife of 20 years Katie. She’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who owns a private practice in Metairie. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching LSU football and playing tennis. She’s proud to be a founding member of Delivering Hope NOLA, a local non-profit that supports NICU families.