This past March Break, we travelled as a family to a small island off the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres. We love going to Mexico when given the opportunity. We enjoy the weather, the food, the beaches, the people. One day in the far-off future when it’s time for us to retire (we’re talking like many, many decades here!) we hope we can retire somewhere in Mexico.
We always find Mexico to be very accepting of same-sex families. Isla Mujeres is very kid-friendly and the locals seemed to be accepting of our family. When we travel, we have to take this into consideration, not only for Milo’s safety, but ours as well.
As much as the locals are open and accepting of same-sex families, some of the tourists were not. On a few occasions, we were walking by the pool, and we would see this one family whisper, stare and point at us. The second time we saw them do this, we decided we would stop and say to them, “Hi! Yes, we’re gay!” They quickly turned around and didn’t make eye contact with us again.
We have travelled many times with Milo, and have been stared at, but this was the first time that we felt we were being made a spectacle of. Normally we receive stares as we walk by, or when we both play with Milo. We don’t think too much of it. We look at it as opening up people’s minds and educating them that there are different kinds of families out there. Our friends, Jason and Dan, were visiting Cancun with their son, Theo, and they had similar experiences at their hotel of people staring and whispering.
We need to not only normalize families like ours, but all families that don’t fit into a very narrow definition of what makes a family.
This family who was staring at us happened to be from the United States. Perhaps in their community, same-sex families are not that common and they felt the need to point us out to their family and talk about us. Or perhaps they pointed at us because he wanted to say, “Look at that fabulous couple there!” (We are going with the latter.) By the end of the vacation, two of their children were playing with Milo in the pool. It doesn’t matter that Milo has two dads — he is well-adjusted and mischievous, just like their little girls were.
When you look at our family, you see the same thing as any other family. We spend our days trying to keep our two-year-old happy, occupied and fed, all while trying to have a cocktail or two and a relaxing time. This is why it is important for same-sex families to be visible and vocal. We need to not only normalize families like ours, but all families that don’t fit into a very narrow definition of what makes a family. As you know, we define family on something very simple… love. Love is what makes a family.
We are parents, just like any other family — traditional or otherwise. We raise our child with love, we teach him to be respectful and inclusive. We raise him to laugh and embrace life. Most important, we are a family.