Sandra & Denise

Sandra & Denise

L to R: Sandra, Denise

My daughter once asked me, “Mom, do we know every gay person in the world?” I told her, “No, it’s just that the gay people we do know are comfortable and are out of the closet with us. We just choose to live in a community that’s racially diverse and that includes gay people.”

I had gay relatives in both foster families that raised me. When I had kids of my own I never assumed that they would be gay or straight and I never wanted to say anything that would make them feel that they would not be accepted by me if they happened to grow up to be gay. That meant not saying to my daughter, “When you grow up and date boys…” My children took this to heart early on. One of my gay male friends worked at the day care where my kids went. One day I saw my friend and he said that my son made sure that to embrace him in front of his friends so that they would know not to say anything to make fun of him.

I am lucky because I work in the human services field and I don’t usually have to hear people making homophobic remarks. Even so, we can all get better at being considerate and inclusive of each other.

I used to sit on the Wisconsin Community Fund board and I went to a conference where I heard a lesbian woman from the South talk about what it was like to live with her long-term partner and have to hide their feelings for each other. It was right at that moment when I was able to put myself in her shoes and think about what it would be like to repress your feelings, to hide your love for another person. She also asked that we straight folks not talk about how straight we are all the time.  So if you look on my Facebook page you’re not going to see my sexual orientation. Anybody who knows me already knows, and in most cases it’s not even relevant.