When I decided 14 months ago to publicly share my journey to motherhood, I did so because I couldn’t find the information and stories I wanted — and needed. Even with all the strides made by the gay community over the years, information about what it’s like for two women to start a family was so lacking, and images of families like mine were so few. I wanted gay families to have a greater voice in the parenting blogosphere, and I wanted the non-gays to realize that our families really aren’t that different at all.
A dear trans* friend of mine once said that being out is the single most important thing an LGBTQ person can do. Having an open and strong presence in the world helps others understand that we aren’t some ill group that needs to be quarantined in the closet. There is nothing wrong with us, except for how we’ve been and continue to be treated.
The misperception about who we are is changing at record speed. With more and more people coming out of the closet — and more and more youth refusing to ever even go into one — society’s views are shifting. It’s hard to scream that gays are evil when your daughter is a lesbian, your cousin is queer, your kid’s BFF has two dads, your coworker is trans*, or your boyfriend is bisexual. When you know and love someone who is LGBTQ, hate and fear diminish, and love grows. All from being out.
What brave people have done in their own lives is now being done by some brave mainstream media. The tide has shifted so greatly that stories of gay families are being told on primetime and on the silver screen (Hello, Modern Family and The Kids are Alright). Any time a show or movie about gay families hits the scene, we are all better off. It has the same effect — perhaps more widespread — as your nephew coming out to the family: It helps change the way gays are viewed. It helps educate others that families like mine matter.
When I learned of ABC Family‘s newest show, The Fosters, I immediately squealed in excitement. Yesss, a TV show with two moms! I knew this would be big. Lesbian relationships are nothing new to TV. But families headed by lesbians are. And as a woman who is trying to become a mother with my wife, I can’t tell you how much a show like The Fosters matters to families like mine.
We kiss each other hello and goodbye. We cuddle in bed at night while we talk about the day and our plans. We yell and scream and cry when things are tough. Our days look so much like yours; in fact, they’re practically mirror images. And while the characters on The Fosters aren’t real, the love they show to one another and to their family, the way they live their lives, the way they go about their every day, the hardships and struggles they face together as a family, is as real as any of our families.
As simple as my life with my wife is, it’s sometimes hard to see “the big deal” about shows like The Fosters. I often think, if only people knew how boring and same-like our life is to theirs, no one would even care. But that’s not the world we live in. People don’t know, and they need to. And The Fosters is going to help show them what families like mine are like. It will shine a light on what a family with two moms looks like, allowing others to see that we really aren’t that different and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. The Fosters will help breakdown barriers so that all families have a place at the table.
::Watch the series premiere of The Fosters on ABC Family June 3 at 9/8c::
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make a Right
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