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Hey Friends, Fam, and Rad Folks!
Thanks so much for stopping by my fundraising page for an organization near and dear to my heart: Equality Virginia.
It is because of Equality Virginia and the organization sharing my heartbreaking story about a situation that occurred with my birth mother and her anti-LGBTQ actions that I met the person I know refer to simply as "Mom" as well as my "Papa" -- or what many queer folks call their chosen parents.
Six years ago while brushing my teeth my wife came into our bathroom and said that she never wanted to see or speak to my birth mother again. Her face was bright red and she was seething.
I stopped brushing, and with toothpaste dribble running down my lip I looked at her and asked,
“Uh oh, what’d she do now?”
At the time, two extremely important arguments were being heard at the Supreme Court regarding marriage equality, and thousands and thousands of people had shown their support in numerous ways. Some held signs in front of Court buildings, some wore pro-LGBTQ+ clothing, and some changed their Facebook profile picture to a red equality sign — at the time signifying support for the right of LGBTQ+ folks to legally marry.
My birth mother had changed her Facebook profile picture too. She changed it to a little black square that read, “I support the Biblical Definition of Marriage” with a giant white cross, and a pink & blue equal sign.
My first thoughts were not unlike my wife’s. After seeing the hateful image, I wanted to never speak to my birth mother again. After all, this was yet another incident of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ actions in a long line of painful actions on her part (comparing homosexuality to bestiality and likening queer people to pedophiles to name two other instances of homophobia.) She did other much more egregious and harmful wrongdoings, of course, than just posting these hateful public social media posts, this was just the match that ignited a fire of action on my part.
She claimed her chosen facebook profile image wasn’t hateful and that she was simply stating her opinion on the issue. I couldn’t — and still can’t — fathom how a person can say that denying me and my wife the same rights as numerous straight American couples isn’t hateful. This wasn’t just about a piece of paper; it was about my being equal to any other American citizen.
My birthday had occurred just shortly before this whole debacle, and for my birthday my birth mother had sent me a check. After this incident, I took the funds from that check and donated them to Freedom to Marry, an organization working towards the legalization of “same-sex marriage”. It wasn’t much, but then I shared my story on my Facebook page, and others shared it, and then Equality Virginia picked up my story and shared it. And over the course of a couple of months, because of my story and my birth mother’s hateful words and actions, over $3,000 was donated towards LGBTQ+ equality.
And…guess who read my story?
My chosen mother. She donated, offered words of support, and invited me and my wife for donuts and coffee. And hugs. So many hugs.
Six years later, she is my child’s “MomMom,” and my love her is as strong as any child’s love for their mother.
And maybe our child-parent relationship didn’t happen like most everyone else’s, and maybe there is a lot of pain that comes with our story, and maybe it’s a teeny bit hard for strangers to grasp why me and my wife both refer to the same person as “our mother.” But, that doesn’t make it any less true or valid.
My mom, time and time again, just shows up. She shows her love in ways I’m extremely unaccustomed too — literally a form of love that is alien to me (but as time passes I grow to believe I’m deserving of it and trust it’s not going anywhere).
I wanted to take the pain from the situation with my birth mother and use it fuel something positive. What I'd started as a fundraising campaign to raise funds and awareness for marriage equality resulted into something so tremendously valuable, that my life is so much richer and brighter. I gained a new mother and (and a bonus Dad!) that not only love me for who I am -- they're some of the most fierce fighters for LGBTQ+ rights. I am forever grateful that Equality Virginia shared my story, and that my Mom & Papa saw it and were inspired to reach out to me to offer support.
In addition to this, Equality Virginia does important work throughout the state to help create a more inclusive Commonwealth for LGBTQ+ citizens -- from advocating for pro-equality legislation with elected officials to working with local schools to implement nondiscrimination policies to protect LGBTQ youth and school employees in Virginia.
Please help me support the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign by making a contribution to my fundraiser for Equality Virginia and sharing my story and this page with your family and friends! Every single dollar I raise and that YOU help me raise will help Equality Virginia's important mission to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ Virginians!
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of folks just like me (and Jesse too!)