I’m Jamie, a stay at home dad. I live with my husband Paul, a real estate agent, in beautiful Seattle with our adopted son. Here, Daddy & Dad invited me to reflect on life as a family with two dads in modern America.
"Trump 2016!" a 20-something-year-old yelled from his truck at my husband and me as we loaded our 2-year-old son and our wares from Target into our car. While this sort of interaction is more rare in largely-liberal Seattle than it might be in other parts of the US, it still happens nonetheless and underscores how increasingly uncomfortable (to put it mildly in many cases) it is to be a minority in Trump’s America.
Being a gay man, and now married father of one, has not always been easy, but I’m lucky to have rarely felt unsafe because of who I am. But with Donald Trump in the White House and the growing surge of white nationalism, many minorities (ethnic minorities perhaps most of all) may not feel as safe or welcome in America, once known as the great melting pot.
Many supporters of our current president feel emboldened by his rhetoric and that their hate or intolerance is now acceptable, but this is not the case - not in the US and not abroad where nationalism and hate for "the other" is growing, too.
Rather than cower or hide, though, we must stand strong, not just for ourselves and our families, but for those who feel the hate and exclusion from the far right. What they want is to scare us into submission, push us back into the closet or to cause us to live in fear because of who we are, whether that is gay, transgender, Muslim or maybe even a combination of those. But we cannot cower and we cannot back down, or they have won.
While some may choose to fight fire with fire, which is sometimes the most effective defense, we can also choose to live and love openly. When I think about how to survive and thrive as a minority in the current political climate, a popular quote from MLK Jr. comes to mind:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.
This is what we teach our son on a daily basis - compounding hate and pain with more of the same isn’t the solution. Our son is mixed race, so he is likely to encounter prejudice in his life unlike I have experienced as a white man, and the fact he has two dads is likely to come up as well.
We teach him to lead by example, showing kindness to others, helping when he sees someone in need no matter what they look like, and being accepting of everyone.
I know we are all fighting back against intolerance and hate in our own ways, and I’m eager to hear from you about how you and your families do that. We are all in this together and if we can lift our brother and sisters up (no matter their religion, gender or what their family may look like), we can be all the better for it.