The Shriver Report – Equality in My Home

Special Edition

Equality in My Home
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I have two children – Michael and Scott.  Michael is a junior in college and Scott is a junior in high school.  Michael is a member of the LGBTQ community.  Scott is not.  It is so strange for me to articulate that.  To me, they are simply Michael and Scott.  I love them both.  I want them both to find a path that fulfills them and brings them happiness.

Michael tells us that he has friends with heartbreaking stories about when they came out to their families.  He knows people whose parents rejected their children.  He knows people who have had to keep who they really are from their loved ones.  He has listened to his friends tell stories about feeling uncomfortable with the people who should be their safe place in this world.

Michael’s friends have asked him about what happened when he talked to us about his sexuality.  He tells his friends that he does not have a story of rejection.  He has two parents who were worried about his health and safety in a world that can be cruel.  There was no rejection, only love.  Michael has told us that he is grateful for that.

We do not differentiate between my two boys based on their sexual preferences. Though I am very vocal about many things, my husband and I have made the conscious decision to begin our advocacy for equality by living it.  We are committed to leading our lives and to parenting in an atmosphere of total acceptance.

People have asked me about Michael’s sexuality. They are relieved when I say that we are aware.  I have been aware for many years.  We just don’t make an issue of it.  We do not have labels for my children.  We do not make announcements about Michael, nor do we make announcements about Scott.  Their lives are their story and they are entitled to tell it themselves.   I have written this essay with their approval.  They agree that we are, in some ways, unique.  I find that sad.

We would not be discussing equal rights for the LGBTQ community or anyone else if they truly existed.  Marriage would be for anyone who loves each other without the label “gay marriage.”  Sexual preference would not be the topic of news stories.  Parents like us would not have to be afraid for our children’s safety because they choose to be authentically themselves.  I watch Michael, comfortable with who he is, and wish that all young people could just be themselves without judgment.

“Equality means there is no difference.”Equality means there is no difference.  In our home, living equality doesn’t only apply to my boys.  My husband and I are equal partners in our marriage.  We both work.  We both have responsibilities in the upkeep of our home.  Our responsibilities are determined by schedule and not by gender.

If women were truly equal, our rights wouldn’t be a discussion either.  We would be paid equally at work and have every opportunity to succeed.  The same can be said for all races and creeds.  My family is comprised of people from different religions and races.  We learn from each other’s life experiences.  We meld our world views.  We respect what everyone brings to the collective group.

We need to consider the messages we send into the world when we continue to differentiate that which should be treated as the same.  As a parent, I believe that we need act with intent and without hypocrisy.  I try so hard to live what I say.

I believe that all things – including equality – begin in the home.  I want the world to see my children as equally deserving of opportunities and respect.

And so I will restate my opening paragraph in a way that is so much more authentic and comfortable for me: I have two children – Michael and Scott.  Michael is a junior in college and Scott is a junior in high school.  I love them both.  I want them both to find a path that fulfills them and brings them happiness.


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Cindy Terebush is a Reporter for The Shriver Report.
Cindy Terebush, a school director and mother of two sons, has spent more than 15 years working in the field of education. She has experience teaching and directing in daycare, preschool and school age programs. Cindy is the author of the popular blog “Helping Kids Achieve with Cindy Terebush.” Her blog provides information and insights for parents and educators. She has been interviewed by and been a guest writer for The Asbury Park Press newspaper and The Patch online news source throughout New Jersey.
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