The privilege to feel safe: GLAAD's President on why equality for #LGBTQfamilies is personal

On Monday, June 2, 2014, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer bloggers, their family members, and allies from across the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the ninth annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. The event, developed and run by the award-winning LGBTQ-parenting site Mombian, and sponsored by Family Equality Council, aims to raise awareness of LGBTQ families, their diverse natures, and how current prejudices and laws have a negative impact on their lives and children.

By Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD

It was the seventh inning stretch and the Mets were up 4-2 at Citi Field. My wife and our five-year-old twins were singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the rest of the stadium and I smiled: The new normal. 

There we were! What a sight it was! A happy, gay family enjoying a game of baseball, America's national pastime.

For much of our nation's history, my family's attendance at a Mets game would have been considered by many to be "an insult" against the values upon which this society was constructed. 

But bringing my wife and our two kids out in public felt so natural to me. I even saw another family with gay parents just a few rows down from where I was sitting. What a concept to feel safe doing things straight people have done for decades.

Reflecting on that day, did I take for granted the safety I felt? Do all gay parents feel as safe as I did bringing my family out in public? The answer is surely "no." Around the world and throughout the country, families like mine are at risk of violence, verbal assaults, refused service, social exclusion, and legal inequalities when they step outside every morning. Even in our own city of New York, children and their parents are often confronted with these hurdles.

When I was little, I would march proudly with my parents in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, celebrating our Irish roots as a community, up and down 5th Avenue. Today, Kate, Thomas, Kristen, and I would only be allowed to do so if we agreed to hide who we are—a family, and a proud one at that.

On that afternoon in Queens, though, we were lucky enough to just sit back and enjoy the game.

In 2005, Kristen and I started building a relationship just as any other couple does and, after quite a few heartbreaking attempts at conceiving, Kristen and I both became pregnant on the same day.

As our children began to grow, Kristen and I grew with them, and it was beautiful (and, of course, exhausting at times). I was able to share the experience of being a new mom with the woman I love most in this world. Then, too, I felt safe.

It's taken our community a long time to be able to feel safety, and we have a long journey ahead of us to protect our safety, and to make sure every one of us can share in it—but I'm up to the challenge. Being a mother encourages me to push the limits of what's possible for people who are LGBT because I want my family to live boldly and loudly, without fear. Being the President and CEO of a national non-profit makes it, quite literally, my responsibility to make living life proudly and safely a reality for families like mine, for people like me.

I can't help it; working hard to make changes. It's in my nature. And, for my wife, our children, and I, it's personal.

Did I mention the Mets won that day?

 

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As a Major League Baseball umpire for the past 29 seasons, Dale Scott has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is also the first out active male official in the MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL, and the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active.