Living with Two Moms
By Jessah Castro
Georgetown, Texas in 1995 was not exactly the most “warm and fuzzy” place to grow up when your family was far from straight and right-wing conservative. Growing up in a non-traditional family has always come with its own unique set of difficulties, but when your county “bleeds red” such as Williamson County did in the ‘90s, I felt those difficulties ten-fold.
The first time I felt the direct sting of prejudice against my non-traditional family was in the fourth grade. I made friends with a girl in my class, which led to play dates outside of the classroom. After a few visits to her house, I wanted to invite her to mine, as it was imperative that I show off my very impressive Barbie collection. The day after I extended the invitation, she sadly informed me she would not be allowed to play at my house, but that I was welcome at her house anytime. Perplexed, nine-year-old me wondered why she was not allowed at my house. Perhaps my dog was too big? Was my sister too annoying? When I asked her for a reason, she informed it was because I had “two moms.”
My mother had always done a stellar job of making my sister and me aware and a part of the LGBT community growing up. We attended church at MCC Austin, marched for gay rights on the Capitol with a rainbow bumper sticker on our wagon, and attended COLAGE events. But this was our Austin life. Our Georgetown life was one where a feeling of unwelcome hung in the air.
I never again wanted to feel the way I did on the day my friend was not allowed to come play at my house. I grew up wary of opening my home and my life to friends at the risk of being leered at. I even begged my mom to take the rainbow bumper sticker off of her car. I did not want more ammo to be used against us.
It was such a frustrating feeling, knowing in my heart that we were a family. Why couldn’t the rest of the world understand it? In all the ways that mattered, we were a family. We had family vacations, dinners, and jokes to prove that. But my mom’s partner would have to make sure she had permission in writing from my mom to take us out of school or to the doctor. We didn’t share a last name. I always envied my friends who would sign their holiday cards from “the Smiths.” I always wanted to be a part of a “the.”
A sense of belonging is so important to all of us, especially when those looking in from the outside tell us our family is somehow less than just because it consists of something other than a mother and father. While we had the big things that make up a family, there were some legal details that were missing and didn’t have to be. At CHA Law Group, we’d like to help fill in those missing pieces. Whether it be a second-parent adoption, a legal name change, or a will and estate planning package, we have the ability to give your family the legal protection and sense of unity it deserves. Let us help present your family to the world so that you can sign your next holiday card as part of a “the.”