Let me say this first, not one person is perfect. People are going to have different beliefs and feelings about everything in life, and sometimes that makes our world a better place.
And sometimes it doesn’t.
Over the past few days, I’ve been watching a discussion around Terry Crews. At first, I thought, no way could someone we were rooting for say such divisive comments. Maybe these people are blowing up a situation that isn’t as bad as we thought. But it was.
Making the generalized statement that every child needs a mother and a father in order to succeed doesn’t bode well. Especially for someone like me.
You see I’m a parent. My son has two moms – two loving parents.
So let me say to you Terry Crews that your generalized definition of family is outdated. For you, having a mother and a father in your life was good, but commenting and then doubling down that everyone needs both is disheartening, disappointing, and damaging.
There are a lot of people who are stuck in similar heteronormative views. My wife and I still get asked who the father of our son is and we do our best to help them understand the difference of a father and a man who biologically gave us the ability to have a child. We aren’t trying to cancel what the concept of a father is. We are just trying to change the narrative that love from a parent – no matter what gender, how many, if it is a family member or found family, or adoptive, or foster – is important.
And trolls have already come out of the woodwork saying those who are arguing against Terry are trying to invalidate men. But Terry didn’t say a male role model. He said a father figure. They are two very different things.
This narrative that parental responsibilities are gendered and essentially stereotyped is old fashioned and outdated.
There are plenty of people that were raised by single parents. Plenty of people who were raised by same-sex couples. People raised by family members. Each one has a unique story and perspective.
And that is what I am speaking too. My family and my experience doesn’t mean that I can generalize every same-sex family. And when people in a position like Terry say words that invalidate my family – I’m going to speak up. We can no longer continue to let people say things that devalue others just because they are one person. People listen to him. They act on things he says and does, just like how people act on things that Vice President Pence has said or done.
Changing the narrative is something we should do anytime we see an injustice.
We have platforms like Twitter that young kids are reading. They go on there to feel seen and not alone, and when someone tweets that kids without a father figure are less worthy than those who do – how would that make them feel?
I have made sure that my son has positive role models in his life, both men and women. He is learning how to be kind, generous, compassionate, patient, and confident from people in his life like his mother, godfather, aunt, grandfather, and great-grandmother.
For instance, some might see strength only as a masculinity trait, but truth be told I know some pretty strong and amazing women who are raising boys to become great men. Others might only see kindness as only a feminine trait, and I can tell you that there are plenty of kind men who are raising girls to become fantastic women.
Traits should not be defined by gender. That doesn’t invalidate fathers or mothers. But saying that a child can only be amazing if they have a father and a mother does invalidate the experiences of queer parents, single parents, and children who have grown up with either.
The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day the gender of the person raising the child does not affect the content of their character. So sit down Terry. You aren’t canceled but maybe it’s time you listened.