If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I went to Sydney’s famous Mardi Gras last weekend on a rare child-free night out. It was my debut of what has been dubbed “Gay Christmas Day”.
I didn’t do fancy dress but I did wear sequins as a nod to the colourful flamboyance of the evening, however, through my joyous cheering and constant smiling I was surprised to find myself crying.
I found Mardi Gras extraordinarily emotional.
From the moment the parade began and the Dykes On Bikes thundered down the street to be greeted by an overwhelming roar of whistles, cheers and clapping, I was choked.
There were women of all sizes and colour, some unashamedly topless, hands in the air and the wind through their hair, all with beaming smiles, eyes wide and shining, so happy, free and proud of who they are.
And it struck me that I’ve never felt that elation of freedom for being accepted for who I am. I have happily (and perhaps ignorantly) been able to live my life without fear of being judged for something that is beyond my control.[Tweet “Mardi Gras opened my eyes. I’d never experienced so much diversity in one place before.”]
Yet despite the huge differences, everyone’s choices were embraced and celebrated. Watching the floats of positive messages and calls for change made me realise that as a society we still have far to come.
I’ve many gay friends who’ve filled my life with love and laughter – and many a fun night out – in my eyes they’re no different to me. So, I’m embarrassed to say I’d never truly considered their challenges in society, probably because their choices have never been an issue to me and my sexual orientation has never been an issue for others.
But I’m now a mother and Mardi Gras has bought these issues closer to home. You see; it could be me – or you.
So, let’s consider for one moment that your child is gay.
- Would you want your child to be accepted for who they are?
- Would you want your child to fulfill their big, bold career or sporting dreams without discrimination preventing them from reaching their potential?
- Would you want your child to get married or have children if they choose?
- Would you want your child to be a parent and for their children to be accepted, irrespective of the gender of the parents?
Yes, I would.
I’ve heard the arguments about same-sex parents and biology, about children being bullied or disadvantaged. But is it not more important that children are loved and safe than the gender of their parents? And is it not our job as parents to raise our children to have empathy and acceptance?
I’ve heard the arguments of nature vs. nurture, and no this will not stop me from gender-neutral parenting: my son will have a childhood filled with experiences of dolls and trains, superman outfits and handbags, dancing and rugby, and whatever else he wants to explore, whether it conforms with society’s rigid gender traditions, or not.
I don’t want my child growing up in a society that is anti-diversity, homophobic, sexist, racist – or anything else that is not accepting of differences.
For this is not written as a parent of a gay child, my child has only just turned a year old; I have no idea yet what his dreams are, let alone his sexual orientation.
This is written as a mother whose wish is for her child to be accepted and to have acceptance of diversity in others, to have the same rights to marriage and parenthood, and for the absence of discrimination in the office and on the playing field.
Let’s be the change we wish to see so that our children can grow up in a society of freedom, equality and acceptance without judgment, hate, ridicule or discrimination.
#sharethelove #equality #onelove #genderneutralparenting
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