It's not the first time the couple has gotten dirty looks. As they board the plane people stare, some try to hide their disgust and displeasure, while others make no pretense and openly roll their eyes in disapproval. Some shift nervously in their seats trying to hide their "Please don't sit next to me!" look, while others go so far as to change seats. This awkward scenario is not confined merely to airplanes. They've experienced this same attitude before in restaurants, stores, public events and even some churches. There are sadly even some businesses with policies that openly discriminate against them, restaurants with signs reading "not allowed" and "unwelcome." Even in a city like Portland, Oregon that prides itself on tolerance and acceptance, this happy couple still faces the daily looks and public ridicule simply because of who they are.
Some people have thankfully become more tolerant, and some more welcoming and affirming of couples like this realizing that they didn't choose to be this way. What right does anyone have to deny them a happy and fulfilled life? What right does the government have to interfere or businesses deny services? Why are they so often despised by others around them simply because they have a different identity? Shouldn't they have the same rights as everyone else?
Such is the life of parents of small children.
I'm coming out proudly today. I'm a parent. I didn't choose to be a parent. I was born with a strong and powerful desire to have children, raise them, love them, care for them and see them become mature adults. It's my "orientation." It's my insurmountable natural desire to have children.
I first noticed this desire when I was a just a child. At first I didn't understand these feelings and emotions, but as I grew I became more aware of who I was inside. Throughout my college years many around me talked of "living free" or would say things like "I'm never having kids." I would sometimes go along with them fearing ridicule if I were to let them know that I hoped to have five or six kids one day. But I finally had to come to grips with who I was. I was a man who wanted to get married and have lots of children one day. I wanted little kids sitting around a family table eating bowls of Cheerios. I dreamed of Saturdays playing in parks followed by ice cream afterward. I smiled thinking about one day traveling with my family on trips to different places, pushing them around in shopping carts at the store, homeschooling them, and lots of kisses at night.
Today, even in the year 2013, people like us are still facing discrimination. The scowls grow more and more each day. Simply entering a public venue with a kid in tow can illicit looks of ashen horror on the faces of others as they anxiously ponder the possibility that the child might do something disgusting and offensive like make noise or cry. And heaven forbid if a couple dares have more than three children. At this point society feels obligated to dictate to such parents what they should do behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes. A society that dares not tell others what they should and shouldn't do in their bedrooms, suddenly can tell such couples that they "have too many kids" are "contributing to overpopulation" and that homeschooling their kids is "dangerous" and "narrow minded."
No, I didn't choose to be a parent. I was born this way, and what right does anyone have to deny me the fulfillment of my happiness, to be who I really am?