By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com March 20 2014 11:41 AM ET
One of the things I didn’t anticipate about being a gay parent is the perception others would have of me. I’ve never been one to really care about other people’s opinions, but there is a distinct difference now that must be pointed out. Let me preface by saying that I’m not a big old queen, despite my brassy Twitter persona. I’m also not going to claim to be “butch” or “straight-acting.” I consider myself just a regular dude. Of course I have my gay talents here and there, and dress a little more on-point than my straight counterparts, but overall I come across more masculine than not. Regardless of this, there are still people who have been keen to pick up on my gayness. It doesn’t bother me — in fact, I appreciate it because I don’t have to out myself. Since I’ve become a parent, it literally confuses everybody.
The first time it happened was at the mall. My son was a baby, and I was proudly escorting him around in a denim Bugaboo. As if that wasn’t enough, he was wearing head-to-toe Burberry. Every clue was there, but when I went to purchase him a handful of carefully coordinated outfits, the saleslady said to me, “Oh, he’s adorable — do you stay with him and your wife works?” I quickly replied, “Yes, I do stay with him, and it’s not my wife, it’s my husband.” Clearly she was a homophobe, because from that point forward she couldn’t even look me in the eyes. I didn’t give a shit, just ring me up and don’t make small talk with me. From that point, there have been countless times this has happened. When people see me with my son, they just assume I’m straight. That is, except for when I’m checking out a cute guy’s ass and he busts me.
On the flip side of this, when my husband is with me and it’s the three of us out together, everybody knows we’re gay. People are really quick to put two and two together (or is it two and one?) and realize we are a gay family. Whether it’s the waitress in the small local diner or the teenager working the mini golf counter, people either have the “Oh, how cute!” expression or the “Oh, how gross” look. There’s no middle. Those who are brave enough will pry a little more and perhaps ask how he joined our family. Personally, I feel this is a rude question unless you actually know us, but we proudly say that we adopted him. When the three of us are out in public, we are instantly coming out of the closet to the world, and fortunately I’m 100 percent OK with it.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.