All my life I knew I was different, even in my childhood. Me liking boys and all that stuff. My parents were suspicious about me not having girlfriends, especially in middle school. They sent me to three different psychiatrist to see if there was something wrong with me, but my mom knew all along that I was gay, she just wanted to make sure. She popped the question when I was in tenth grade and I told her “Yeah ma, I’m gay” and she supported me in every way, but the problem was telling to my dad (how shocking).
For some reason that same day, my mom told my dad the news and all the family members too. That wasn’t the plan, but let’s say she did me a favor. My dad was first in denial, but eventually he came threw. He said “I prefer me loving you and talk to me every day than you hating me for my beliefs. I love you no matter what.” Emotional day for sure.
I’m very lucky to have parents like that because we know what kind of parents are out there that take there child to some place to “fix” them or kick them out of their houses. We have to open their eyes, orient them and let them know that we’re not different from their selves or anyone in that matter. We know, we love and we feel. This was my story.
I came out about 3 years ago to my mother. She was the first person to hear the words “I think I might be gay.” I knew I was gay, but I thought if I eased up into the bisexual phase first it would make things easier. Of course, after a while my mom understood I was simply just gay. Coming from a family of acceptance and love, I didn’t expect my mom to react in an upset or angry way, and she didn’t. She is an amazing mother, I love her to this day so very much.
At the same time, I am only half way there. I have yet to tell my father or my father’s side of the family. I understand the constant struggle, the teasing, the name calling, the chatter between friend groups. I was one of the more popular kids at my high school. I had a ton of friends, no one ever really assumed I was gay, they just thought it because I never wanted to date any girls.
To this day, my mother supports me – for my 21st birthday she took me out to the gay bars with her and we had a ton of fun, however…my father and his side of the family is a different story. They are all very judgmental, racist, and not up to par with today’s society. Going to Christmas and Thanksgiving, watching television and the news comes on about gay events in society, they use the “F” word, which of course is a beating to me because they are supposed to be my family, loving and supportive like my mother’s family.
I understand now that their opinions will never matter because I have found my place in this life, and I have found those who love me and they are enough because they give a damn about my well-being and they are proud of everything I do with my life. I am 21 years old, my name is James and I give a damn.
I am a 22 year old heterosexual woman from Argentina. I had the unfortunate to have been born and raised in a very conservative and very homophobic part of this big city that is Buenos Aires. My parents taught me since I was a kid that homosexuality was wrong, my school didn’t openly teach that, but it was clearly implied by most of the teachers and directives. Naturally, being surrounded by all that discrimination and hate, I had that same horrible mentality when I was a kid because I didn’t know anything else.
But then, at the age of 12/13, I started seeing gay characters on TV, portrayed in a real, human and relatable way, and I started wondering what exactly is so wrong about homosexuality? I went to my parents and my teachers with these questions and never got satisfactory answers, their words always seemed to come from a very close minded and unsympathetic place. I knew there was something wrong.
It took me many years of struggling to get past all that I had been previously taught, but I eventually managed to pull myself out of all that hateful mentality and learn to accept and love people as they are, no matter their sexuality.
So, I give a damn today because I am absolutely outraged at having been taught so wrong by my very own educators. I give a damn because I felt so betrayed when I finally realized how wrong my parents and my teachers had been, intent on showing me how to hate and discriminate instead of showing me how to love and accept and include.
I give a damn because I know that many other kids are being taught all the wrong things at home and at school, just like I was, and it is important for the media, both television and the internet, to show them otherwise. Hopefully, this way all those kids will know better both when they treat their gay peers in high school and when they grow up and become educators themselves.
I’ve become aware of the ‘give a damn’ movement and concept only in the past couple of days and I think it’s incredibly worthwhile. I rotate through my favourite CDs in my car to listen to as I drive my five year old daughter and I to work, school and all the other various activities of our lives. Coincidentally, what we’ve been listening to non-stop lately is 12 Deadly Cyns. The song True Colors came on and after singing along, I was prompted by the Give a Damn campaign to turn down the volume and initiate a chat with my daughter about the song, and its message of acceptance, love, and valuing of the self for who you really are.
Mind you, she’s only five so I wasn’t quite planning on expressing myself in quite those terms! When I talk to her about important things like this, I like to start with a question, to leave it open to her interpretation and not put preconceived thoughts in her head. So we’re driving along and the volume goes down and the conversation goes something like this, ME: ‘So Leila, what do you think that song was about?’ LEILA: ‘Colors. Colors that are true and colors that are not true. And it doesn’t matter if you mix up all of the colors up together because you’ll still make a beautiful painting’.
Well, she may have missed the mark a little (or did she?), but it was still so interesting to hear her take on it. The innocence of not really understanding that intolerance and hatred exist and reading something totally different into the song – that it was simply about colors and not about love, support and friendship in difficult times.
But, for such a simple conversation, it reminded me of my obligation to her to impart what I value in life. Equality, love, non-judgmental attitudes, and caring because it’s the right thing to do, not because of some hypothetical otherworldly reward. I am straight, I do not have any gay family members (that I know of), but I do have gay friends. I’ve never felt compelled to lie to my daughter in any way about the nature of their relationships. That would be betraying everything I say I believe in and support. I don’t know what I can do to help.
Hi, I’m Mary, a parent to a 8 year old biological son Tristen, who has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Tristen believes internally he is a female. He has been struggling with this identity issue since the age of 2. He has been in therapy for approximately 4 years now. I want everyone to know I love and support my son 100%! And yes, I give a damn how the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community is treated.
I too feel a passion to protect and educate others who do not support the LGBTQ community. I have witnessed first hand the discrimination and ridicule of my son because he cross dresses. I know and feel his pain. I (as well as Tristen) have also experienced HATE and HATE CRIMES. Enough is enough!
Recently, my son was hospitalized for 5 days at the University of Toledo’s Kobacker Center (mental institution) for threatening to harm himself and others. My son struggles with depression and has very low self esteem due to neighborhood kids bullying him and ridicule at school. Tristen is not a freak. He is not crazy. He is just a confused boy because his gender doesn’t match his sex and his inner self tells him he is a girl.
I truly feel, as his mother, I need to allow my child to express himself and let him be happy doing it. I will love my son regardless and we need to erase societies ideals of the male/female binary roles. It’s ok to be different, there is no such thing as normal! So, EXPRESS YOURSELF and LOVE LIFE.
On a beautiful morning in November, 2006 I awoke at 5 a.m. to my partner telling me, “Get up! You need to take me to the hospital, I think this is it!” She was 10 days overdue in her pregnancy roller coaster and it was the moment we had been patiently waiting for. I grabbed our “baby bag” helped her down the stairs and sped carefully to the hospital.
My partner and I started dating when she was 3 months pregnant. We had met 2 years earlier but never kept in touch. It didn’t take long to decide we were ready to be a couple, and I was certainly ready to help parent this child. We took Lamaze class, set up the baby room, shared nights of feeling the baby kick, and took pregnancy pictures as a couple…everything you dream of to prepare for a new baby.
The biological father was out of the picture before my partner even found out she was pregnant. They dated for a couple months and even with birth control, she managed to get pregnant (something I considered meant to be). He was contacted, but then deemed unfit to have any rights to the child. He seemed to have no problem with this at the time.
Three years passed from that beautiful November morning, and our adventurous, spontaneous little daughter had grown into every parent’s dream. She was learning to read and ride her bike. She was in swim lessons, dance lessons, and anxiously awaiting preschool. My large family had taken her in from the very beginning. My Mom and Dad were “Grandma” and “Papa.” My label of “parent” was never a question to anyone around us except my partner’s mother, who refused to be in the same room as me and termed me “it.” That, however, was something we counseled weekly for and took the positive edge on.
My parents are gay. They are gay now and they were just as gay when they decided to have me in 1980. I was an arrangement of sorts. Strange by most standards, but wonderful to me. My mom wanted to have a baby, so she called the only person she could think of, my daddy. My dad also happened to be her best friend and agreed to father a child with my mom because he wanted to be a father too.
When I was a young child, I would hide my parents sexuality because I was embarrassed. When I was in 5th grade, a friend got mad at me and told everyone at school that my parents were gay. The result was teasing and physical abuse. I was shoved, had my hands slammed in a locker, I was spit on and called names. My personal favorite was “Test Tube Baby.” We moved out of state and when we got to California I guarded my “secret” very carefully out of fear.
Then, when I was a junior in high school, there was a student at the school who was brave enough to write to our school newspaper that he was gay and proud of it. The controversy was insane. Though his letter was signed anonymously, it wasn’t long before everyone knew who it was. He was treated horribly and it seemed like every day I was hearing another horror story of what he was going through. I knew the guy in passing, but I didn’t know him personally.
Dear Cyndi, I wanted to thank you for all you do for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. My sister and best friend is the bravest person I know by being true to who she is and living in a world of ignorance, judgment and hate.
She lives in a small town in Wyoming and has gone through so much hatred. Her and my sister-in-law opened their home and hearts to two girls that had gone through horrible sexual abuse and neglect. They supported them and loved them through the foster system, hoping to give them a permanent home. Tragically, the system failed to protect these girls, placed them back at home with the father who abused them and the mother who allows this to happen. They have been abused again, and have been taken and replaced back home repeatedly.
This community openly would rather place these girls in an abusive home rather then allow them to be raised by a lesbian couple. It is reasons like this that your mission is so important, and the need for education and acceptance for the GLBT community needs your support. THANK YOU FOR BEING A VOICE, A BEAUTIFUL ONE AT THAT!!
Being a parent is the greatest gift that any man or woman can receive. But, what does one do when the “powers that be” tell you that because you share your love and life with a person of the same sex that you are not fit to be a parent. Well, I am single straight parent and I GIVE A DAMN…there are so many children who are left on door steps or are in homes where they are being abused, and instead of placing them with a loving home, they are stuck in a system that is really only thinking about their own morals and beliefs.
If I was in a situation where I could not take care of my child, then I would rather them be in a loving home, no matter the sexual orientation of the people, that would be willing to take my child.
It really bothers me that all the government really cares about is, oh my god, two men or two women are going to adopt a child..SO WHAT THE HELL..let them. Who are we to tell someone that they shouldn’t adopt or have child because they are not the “traditional” family. Well guess what America, gay and lesbians with (or without) children are starting to become the new tradition. If America has no problems with single moms or single dads, why should they have a problem with two dads or two moms.
All any child really knows is that “I have a parent or parents that really, honestly love me” and that sexuality is not a issue at all. Bottom line is this – a parent is a parent, be they gay, straight, lesbian, or transgender. Also, LOVE IS LOVE.
I’m 41 years old, have been married twice and have two wonderful children, one from each marriage.
I found out at the age of 18 that my best friend, from age 11, was a lesbian. I didn’t understand, but of course I accepted her. She was my best friend and wonderful with both my children, which are both girls. After my second divorce, I became involved with another man, who was also wonderful with my children. We had a lot of problems after about 9 years and ended up separating.
After that, I became close friends with a woman I worked with and ended up in a relationship. This by no way had any adverse effect on my parenting, it never changed. Both my children graduated with honors and my youngest started college dual enrollment while still in high school. I still live in a family neighborhood with very religious people around me. They treat me, nor my children, any different because of my relationship with a woman.
People are very ignorant and I wish they could see that no matter what your sexual orientation may be, you can still be a wonderful parent, maybe even a little better because you can relate to obstacles in life no matter what they may be, and realize that people can be and act ignorant just because they don’t have the realm of capacity of understanding anything outside “Their Box”.
Children need to learn this strength and it will help them go a long way in life!
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According to The Houston Chronicle: "A Houston judge entered an order on June 24 which prohibits a father from leaving his children ...Author:
Approximately 500,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care. And more than 120,000 children languish in the public child welfare system—all while responsible, nurturing adults are prevented from adopting them.