Blogging for #LGBTFamilies: Cheryl Moch

LGBT parenting blog Mombian, which received a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Blog, is taking Monday, June 3rd to show the world for the 8th year in a row that LGBT families are just as loving, supportive and valuable to our communities as straight families.  Mombian is asking LGBT families, straight allies and all other supporters to write and submit to, a blog post on any topic relating to LGBT families. 

Cheryl Moch is the author of the first ever gay marriage play-- Cinderella, The Real True Story which has recently been made into a musical by Holly Gewandter. 

It was when I became pregnant that my mother could no longer deny that my “living situation” was abhorrent to her.  I was her daughter but I was also something that she abhorred—a Frankenstein that she herself had a role in creating: I was a pregnant lesbian.  In 1992, who had ever heard of such a thing?

Poor Mom.  She thought she was a liberal.  Born the year that women got the right to vote (1920), she was a feminist of sorts.  She loved her gay hairdresser. She didn’t mind when black families started moving into the neighborhood.  She always voted a straight Democratic ticket.  But this?

She could easily explain away my partner who she did not like—that was easy, there was a word for it: roommate.  No one questioned it.  But now, what could she tell the relatives?  There I was at my uncle’s funeral, with my baby bump (although we didn’t call it that back then).  In the manner of pregnant women since the dawn of time, I placed my own hand protectively on my belly. She swatted it off, her face contorted by shame and anger. 

But even Mom’s extreme hostility could not make the baby go away. She must have struggled with her own feelings of disgust and desire for this baby, her only granddaughter.  When Hannah was born, she got on a plane and came to help.  She cradled the infant in her arms, and sang sweetly to her in Yiddish as her own mother must have sung to her.  She was rude to my partner who was in turn, warm and patient with her.  Speaking to her friends, she reduced me to an eccentric—oh that Cheryl, you know she always does things her own way.  Alone with me she raged—how could I do this to an innocent baby?  What chance did she have of a normal life?

My mother died before the changing tide of social history brought gay marriage to states across America, Presidential support for gay rights, Ellen dancing her way into the hearts of middle America, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s skim milk marriage comment.  My daughter had just graduated elementary school when my mother died; now she's just finished her junior year in college. Mom has missed a lot.

How do you recover from hostility and rejection from your own Mother?  Maybe you never really do.  Maybe the scars just heal over and you try to bear them proudly, souvenirs from another age, when the rage of Mother tried to shame you into living someone else’s life.  I was a lesbian and a mom, and you know what?  It all seemed to turn out fine.   


Cheryl Moch, her daughter, Hannah, and her daughter's other mother, Dr. Cheryl Morris