Being a Queer Parent is Terrifying Right Now

On trying to get one tiny child through a culture war unscathed.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
4 min readApr 22, 2022

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An umbrella, protecting someone from… I don’t know, sun? It’s not raining.
“Rainbow umbrella” is a cheesy photo choice, but the other result for “protection” was “barbed wire prison camp,” which sends a less-than-nurturing message. Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

I’ve run out of things to say about myself during therapy. This is not to say I don’t still need it. I now spend my sessions talking about one and only one thing: My kid, who is preparing to enter kindergarten. Specifically, I talk about my fear that I have fucked up my kid’s life forever by coming out.

If you were to ask me why I transitioned when I did, I’d probably tell you that I did it to be a better parent. I’d point to the studies that say kids do better when their parents are happy; I’d tell you that I had a mentally ill parent who drank to numb his pain, and that I vowed never to be too depressed or dysfunctional to take care of my own kids. At a certain point, I realized that transition was the only way to get my shit together. Maybe, if I were alone, I would have found a way to put it off, but I had a child who depended on me. I had to play it safe.

There is, of course, nothing “safe” about transition or queer families in 2022. Every day, I see or hear something that reminds me how unsafe it is: I read about the gay couple who had to shield their young children from an enraged man screaming “they stole you, they’re pedophiles;” the boy with two moms whose teachers called him “dirty.” I go online…

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Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.