The true modern family


Julia Wunning-Zimmer, opinions writer

If there was one word to describe family, routine would be it. My family cannot function without routines. Every morning, my family and I are woken up by the spine-tingling sound of the iPhone’s alarm clock at 5:50 a.m. When one of us begins to step out of our space into everyone else’s world, we all make sure to yell, “I love you! Have a great day! See you this afternoon!”  My family and I hoist ourselves into our designated wooden stools each night to eat at the table. Every evening, five pink artificial-sweetener packets are placed on the granite countertops next to the coffee pot for the morning’s coffee, and the bathroom is filled with comforting steam as we shower each night in the same order.

When I describe my family to others by telling them just our habitual routines, they think we sound like typical folks. If I share that my family consists of me, my two dogs, two cats and two moms, then other peoples’ opinions seems to change. Their minds really start to reel when I tell them about my other four family members, my dad, his wife and her two kids.

Obviously, awkward moments happen when having three moms, so I try my best to let people know right after I meet them about my familial situation. First, this prevents the odd moment when my friend comes to my house for the first time and they think one of my moms is just my mom’s friend. Second, this determines whether or not I will be able to continue my friendship with someone. Yes, that does mean some people find it too weird, and my new buddy stops talking to me or starts to act differently toward me. According to Gary J. Gates, an expert of the demography of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) population, as many as 6 million Americans have a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parent. This means my family isn’t really unique, and people shouldn’t think anything of a kid with three moms and a dad.

Since only 19 states have legalized same-sex marriage, gay rights have only recently started making strides in the United States. This shows how, for some Americans, it is an oddity to see same-sex couples in general, so it makes sense to see people who find having parents of the same gender different or unique. That explains why my friends and their families tend to feel uncomfortable when they meet my moms, since interacting with parents who also happen to be gay is a new experience for most people. Though the fact that LGBT rights are only recently gaining some headway does justify people who are inexperienced with same-sex couples, it doesn’t condone offensive or hateful behavior.

One of my biggest fears when making friends is whether or not they will make jokes like “So… Is it genetic? Does it mean you’ll be gay, too?” or say things infused with sexual humor, since people often tease others about their differences. These immature comments have become typical in my life, which is unacceptable.

Michael Perry, a professor at Emory University, states the United States Supreme Court, if they accept the case, will likely rule about same-sex marriage during the 2014-15 term of the court. This means the legalization of gay marriage is very likely in the near future, so more couples will get married, which in turn brings more kids with same-sex parents into the world. Hopefully, people won’t continue to verbally attack people with gay parents in the future, since it won’t be such an unusual situation.

In order to actually make having gay parents normal, society needs to talk about it. Or at least, the most powerful being on this planet should: the media. Although there are television shows rising up like ABC Family’s The Fosters and ABC’s Modern Family, extras or everyday characters on children’s shows don’t usually have gay parents. Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie attempted to incorporate a child with two moms on the show, but they just made a big joke out of it by showing that it’s awkward to interact with a lesbian couple. If children’s television and television commercials showed more same-sex couples, it wouldn’t be such an abnormality for me to have two moms and people wouldn’t find my situation that interesting.

As the world progresses and the battle for the legalization of same-sex marriage is just a chapter in a bulky history textbook, people will hopefully find this civil-rights battle to be just another routine of their educational careers, not a current struggle. As the president of KHS’ Gay Straight Alliance, I would like to invite my peers to come to our open meetings to discuss and learn the importance of acceptance.