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?
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.
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.”
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.
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