Ramifications of a Coming Out as a Gay Dog Mom

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Gay women

I am a gay married woman who just so happens to love dogs more than the air I breathe. So I made a career out of that love. I’ve been with my wife for over 20 years. There are ramifications that occurred after coming out as a gay dog mom.

Three things happened after coming out here, on this blog:

A) 95 percent of my readers were extremely supportive.

B) A small percentage said nothing because either :

a) They could care less

b) They were annoyed and didn’t want to say so

C) A few people wrote to tell me they would no longer follow my blog and/or they could care less about my lifestyle (which it isn’t a lifestyle, and I despise that notion – more about that later). These people told me they come to this blog to read about dog news.

I can pretty much only address the (C) grouping and I will say this: The blog is called Fidose of Reality. How real and true would I be if I didn’t embrace all of my dog-loving life’s path? How real and true would I be if I didn’t include the struggles those of us in the LGBT sector who so happen to raise dogs the same way non-LGBT folks do?

Carol Bryant and Dexter

A really amazing thing has happened since I formally came out. People are sharing their stories with me and I have a new following of folks who either identify as LGBT or are straight allies. And last night a woman named Ada sat down at his computer and took time to write this to me:

“Hi. I just read your post about coming out and your dog’s other mother. Just wanted to say that I go through what you did and was very happy to read your post. Being involved in the pet world in India – having 3 animals -my dogs are always seen as mine and my partner is seen as a friend who is a caretaker sometimes – vice versa for the cat. Appreciate your coming out – gives strength to others like me- though I cannot dream of coming out here. Best, Ada.”

Ada’s message has stuck with me all day: She cannot dream of coming out there. I cannot even begin to fathom the cultural stigma, shunning, and harm that can come to Ada and her significant other if someone in India were to find out who she really is; you know, a human being.

I also had the opportunity to meet gold medalist, Olympic diver, and role model, Gregory Louganis, and tell him in person how he served as one of the inspirational people for my coming out. Over and over telling people that my wife is my sister just became downright creepy to me – and with such an icky aftershock internally every time I said it. He was so glad to hear what I did and we took a snapshot soon after meeting….at the Westminster Kennel Club Agility Show – another first – where Greg was the on-air announcer.

greg_louganis

I wonder how many folks who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have a fear of being who they are, and they take extra comfort in knowing their pets are nonjudgmental.

I wonder how many Ada’s are reading this and thinking, “I wish I could finally tell my  ________ (co-workers, friends, family) that I am gay,” but they realize how much they have to lose for simply being who they are.

I wonder how many times we have to see picketing and hateful protests and how many times LGBT allies will help drive them away, as happened in Moore, Oklahoma this week.

I wonder how many kids are being bullied and the word “gay” is being tossed around like used napkins.

I wonder how many times someone has to fake a date, attend a company function with a “friend” and pretend he or she is a significant other.

I wonder why I waited so long to be true to all of who I am.

Then I read a Facebook post from a fellow pet blogger, Jen DeHaan, who in response to Ada’s news, says, “Wow – so incredible, and what wonderful inspiration for writers. To write from the heart, and make a real difference to people. I spent a month in India learning training/behavior, and met some wonderful behaviorists from India (though most were from UK/US). But the real value (apart from learning more about dogs of course) was learning about the differences between our countries, and there are many. Some wonderful, but on others like this (and for women in general), not so much. A few real eye-opener experiences on the gender front. And on a lighter note, many differences when it comes to dogs! But what a beautiful thing to reach out, and perhaps over time the positive influence of posts like yours will help open minds… and we’ll find more acceptance in the world.”

brides

And then I am reminded that maybe if I just continue to give people a dose of reality and continue to be real, including the LGBT life path into posts, perhaps there will be acceptance.

I realize that I waited so long to share all of myself with my readers, my friends, my co-workers, and hell, the world for that matter because I was afraid: of being judged, chided, humiliated, fired, picked on, abused, harmed, ignored, laughed at, and most of all, losing those I truly care about.

Aren’t we all afraid of those very same things in some way, shape, or form at some point in our lives? I honestly could care less who someone marries or has a relationship with as long as it is consensual and no one is hurt.  There is a portion of society that feels the need to judge and point fingers and judge, chide, humiliate, pick on, harm, laugh at, and put down those of us who are not seen as their equals.

I wonder why dogs don’t care about stuff like that. It is in those moments I am reminded why my heart beats dog, why this blog is called Fidose of Reality, and why I will never stop being true to who I am ever again.

dog_bunny

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Comments

  1. First of all, I commend you for writing this post. Second of all, I cannot believe the people who emailed you to tell you they wouldn’t follow you now. I think it’s a disgrace that these attitudes still exist in 2014. My best friend is in a lesbian relationship, so I’ve seen first hand how difficult it can be to openly admit you’re gay, even if the vast majority of people you tell don’t care- they just want to see you happy.

    Congratulations on having the courage to do this :)

  2. Good morning! I will start with this, because I have been meaning to comment on some of your pieces: I always enjoy reading your articles. You are a very good writer!!
    My mind is going in a million different directions, so before I forget I would also like to say (as we all know) ANIMALS ARE AMAZING! They love you unconditionally no matter what race, sex, age, sexual orientation, etc. if only human beings could have so much love and compassion. You made me literally laugh out loud at the “lifestyle” line. Ignorance.
    Congratulations to you and your wife for 20 YEARS!! What an accomplishment. I’m not sure if people even grasp the meaning of marriage anymore. It is taken for granted, and we should celebrate people who have real love in their lives.
    I cannot imagine how Raj (or you!) have felt. It is so upsetting to think that people are afraid to show the world who they really are in 2014. And I don’t say that in a way to imply anything negative, I say that in the view that this world is a dangerous place and you can be sentenced to death or be in danger in some countries by even talking about being gay.
    I hope that things will REALLY change with the future generations. I had so much pride when my eight year old niece came over after school talking to me about Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement. How can we treat anybody different after looking at our world’s history including segregation and the holocaust?? I wish when we talk about “Equality” for all, that it really means EQUALITY FOR ALL!!
    Sorry for rambling… I’m always told I get off subject :)
    Great article. I am going to cuddle with the dogs for a few minutes before I have to get ready for the day! I hope you and your family enjoy your day as well! -Lilly

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Lilly, This really started my day on such a fabulous note. I love that your rambled. How cool about your niece sharing the Civil Rights Movement and talking about MLK, Jr – the times they are a’changin’. Thanks for the comment!

  3. As always,proud to be your blogging buddy. Wonderful post, honest and well written. I’ll always have your back Carol!

  4. Bravo, good for you! Thanks for speaking your mind in this excellent post, I hope it inspires others to do the same!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I have learned that we all have to come out (or not) on our own terms and own time. I hope others see how very normal it is to be who I am so they can be who they are, too. I hope that just made sense because I need more caffeine right about now. ;)

  5. Good for you! No one should have to hide who they are to make other people feel more comfortable. Hopefully … one day, it won’t even be an issue. This video shows that progress is being made!

  6. When I wrote my story about me and Baby one of the reasons I changed it a little was to protect Baby and Me and the other was I did not want to deal with people who would bitch or point a finger at us. Yes I am out, have been for over 30 years, when I started the business I decided that from day one it would be an LGBT business also as the bottom line is we all love animals, whether, dogs, cats, rats or whatever and clients and fans would have to accept me for who I am or unfortunately go somewhere else, there problem not mine.
    I admire Raj for emailing you knowing how hard it is in other countries and cultures to be out, but they are fortunate that they can reach out and chat with others in other countries today thanks to social networking as it does ease life in the closet a little.
    Carol, Layla and I are proud of you, proud that you did come out this way, because by you doing it you have opened the doors, showed others, especially the younger generation who are still hiding in the closet, that life is life and its ok.
    Thank you once again for doing that,
    With Pride
    Layla and Lesbian Mom, Shelly

  7. Don’t you EVER, EVER, EVER stop being “true to YOU!!!” Yes, this blog’s name is ” Fidose of Reality”….a DOSE of reality, if people can’t take it, that is THEIR problem and NOT yours! You are right, no matter what our sexual orientation is, we ALL are fearful of many of the things that you mentioned, has nothing to do with our preferences. If people want to find fault with someone, they will always find SOMETHING, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are being your OWN, UNIQUE, AUTHENTIC AND SPECIAL YOU!!! Yes…I AM yelling! With support, love and enthusiasm! xoxo

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I hear you loud and clear and I love that you are yelling. Thanks so much – dose indeed – reality indeed. <3 xoxo

      • I agree with Caren! Be true to yourself, no matter what.
        We are all unique and special and should not need to feel shamed, no matter what our difference/specialness is – race, sexuality, health, “disability”, age, beliefs, marital status, career, offspring, etc. A good human is a good human, period. Animals, of course, are supreme :) Animals are pure honesty. When they love, they love unconditionally. We would all do great if we were to copy our animals.
        Hugs,
        Pepper

        • Carol Bryant says:

          I love that you said “animals are pure honesty,” and that is the truth. Thanks a bunch, Pepper ;)

  8. All thumbs and paws up here — thank you!

  9. Carol, this is such an inspirational post! I am so proud of you for being such a strong woman. I bet that more readers than you know will find strength in everything you write. An article you wrote last year was one of the first I had ever read that basically explained that it’s okay not to have human children, and instead be a dog mom. You opened my eyes and really gave me the opportunity to realize my full potential as a dog mom. Now I embrace it and realize I am not alone! Thanks for all you do!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Amanda, that means so much to me. I know as a fellow writer, you can relate to wondering if your words touch someone. Knowing they do is the greatest gift I could ever receive, so thank you so much for that.

  10. Carol, I’ve been reading your writing here and in magazines. I’ve never been touched by someone’s writing more than you. You know exactly how to put into words what others are thinking but don’t know how to express it. It’s because of you that I finally came out to my friends and family over Christmas. I couldn’t be happier. I never thought they would understand or accept me, but they did! If only I did it years ago, but then again, I wouldn’t be who I am today. THANK YOU! I can’t imagine how many lives you are changing in all walks of life because of your writing.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Diane, well now that I have tears streaming…..I have no idea what to say except way to go in being true to you. Your words have touched me deeply. Thank you and happiness always.

  11. Beautiful! People should never have to hide who they are and how they feel about someone else. I grew up with a gay brother and watching him grow through his relationships was a beautiful thing to see. And yes, I love dogs with all my heart and they love me right back, no judging, they are truly angels and so are you Carol!

  12. Pawsome post! Keep being true to yourself and being an inspiration to others.
    Roooo two of my best dog buddies have two mummies each and they are all totally pawsome too! *waggy tail*

  13. Dear Carol –
    - I searched for your blog because you were so kind and friendly to me when I met you briefly at BP (2013)
    - I read your blog regularly because I appreciate your humor, relate to your subject matter, and learn so much from what you share.
    - I understand about being different, I wear it everyday :)
    You will always have furrends here in “Doodleville” – do you girlfriend, do you!!!!

  14. I am so proud of you…and so sad for poor Raj. I can’t imagine living in a place where I didn’t feel comfortable being myself. This is an unbelievably strong and empowering post. Thank you.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I feel that same level of sadness anyone living in silence for fear of their life and safety. I appreciate the comment.

  15. You are such a remarkable woman. Congratulations on 20 years of love and I’m glad that you are no longer pretending. It is ridiculous that anyone would quit following you for such an asinine reason. Humans should be more concerned with people spewing hate and hurting people, than caring who others choose to love, don’t you agree? I think you are AWESOME!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I could hug you for this, “Humans should be more concerned with people spewing hate and hurting people, than caring who others choose to love, don’t you agree?” and I will in 25 days ;)

  16. You go, girl(s)!!!

  17. I’m guessing the C group cared more than they wished to admit and were looking for an excuse to express unneeded (and unsolicited) objection. When you write so personally about your life it is only natural to want to mention those other people in it, even if the focus is mainly on the dogs. I write about my spouse and my kids and how they relate to the pets because that is life, all of it. It all matters. They matter.

    I imagine it would be like trying to write a book and having to go back and edit out certain bad words for worry of offending people. By doing so, you validate their assumption that this is a topic worthy of being considered objectionable, and how ridiculous that you or anyone are made to feel like someone else’s delicate sensibilities are more important than your own life and happiness. So I’m so happy you have allowed yourself to present your family in its entirety with the worth you all deserve, no edits needed. We all think you’re pretty amazing just the way you are.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I am very honored to have you stop by, as I know what a busy life you have. Thanks for the kind words, and the C grouping really did surprise me.

      I am one of your biggest fans and so I appreciate your comments, Dr. V.

  18. I can’t believe that people would stop following such an awesome blog on those grounds – that’s just plain stupid! Congrats on being true to yourself and on a 20+ year strong relationship, that’s quite an achievement! Thank goodness our pets are non-judgmental and love us for who we are – gay or straight, fat or thin… Looking forward to meeting you at BlogPaws! xx

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Ditto – I am in awe of you and I am learning so much about cats thanks to your posts. SO excited to met you as well! Safe travels!

  19. Carol, I am inspired and in awe of your courage. Good for you for honoring yourself, your wife and the love you share with one another by no longer pretending or hiding it. It saddens me that we still live in a world that does not leave us free to live and love as our hearts dictate. I am sorry you have lost a few readers, I suppose it would be easy to say they aren’t the readers you should want to have anyway. So instead I will say, it is my prayer that they will be replaced tenfold by readers who will be inspired by you, to follow their own truth, thus inspiring others.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      That means more to me than you can ever know. So beautifully stated, and thank you so much, Felissa. <3

  20. When we share our stories, we share our strength. We empower not only ourselves, but everyone we love and so many people we may never even meet. I’m new to blogging and I used to consider myself an intensely private person…but the blogs I am drawn to the most are those that not only those that have a topic I am interested in , but those with a personality genuinely infused into them…there are a lot of good blogs out there , but it is a blog like yours Carol that inspires me to start blogging about topics with more depth and personal experience and meaning. When I read your posts, like this one, I know for me and for many people, you cast a very large net of kindness and there can never be enough of it. Don’t ever stop. Your blog is a great balance of dog parenting and the real life of being that parent. And both matter. xo

    • Carol Bryant says:

      WOW, did you start my Monday off on the right paw. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Amelia. That means more to me than you could ever know. ((((Amelia)))

  21. 20 years? That’s fantastic, congratulations!

    The lifestyle choices of consenting parties are not my business. So many people have a hard time being true to one another, finding love, being happy….we can only judge our own happiness. Love is love, and it should be celebrated, not spurned.

    I’m glad you’re comfortable telling us you’re a gay dog mom. And you’re right, dogs don’t care at all!

  22. Count me in the 95 percent of fans of yours! And wow – Louganis! Hope we can meet at a future conference. Happy writing!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      That means so much to me, Jan. Thanks a lot. Greg was an absolute doll. I hope we can meet, too. TY kindly!!!

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