“which is the dad and which is the mom?”

My mother likes to think of herself as a wonderful ally in the
fight for equality. In her mind, she thinks that she really
understands this struggle and all that it encompasses. But in
reality, when I introduce to her to a lesbian or gay couple, she
says things like, “Is he the man in the relationship or is he the
woman?” It’s very clear she doesn’t truly “get it”.

More recently, as I’ve become more involved with LGBTQ families,
that question (both from my mother and many other well-intentioned
individuals) has evolved to, “Which one is the mom? Which is the

How do you even begin to answer a question like that? It’s a
question loaded with the baggage of a heavily gendered society,
where dads cook on the BBQ and moms clean the house. This is a
society where dads enforce the rules and moms are nurturing and
comforting. There are so many gender stereotypes for moms and dads.
But I don’t buy any of it.

It’s clear to me that accepting (or rejecting) gender roles is a
choice. Mothers can choose to be nurturing, or they can choose to
be strict. Mothers can choose to do the laundry or they can choose
to fix the car. By virtue of our anatomy, we’re no more or less
inclined to do or be any of these things.

I have seen many gay dads and lesbian moms prove that our anatomy
doesn’t need to define the parenting roles we fulfill.

Many non-LGBTQ parents (my mother included) that have bought into
gender roles will find this a difficult concept to swallow. But,
it’s an important conversation to have. And maybe if I have it
enough, some day it will sink in, and my mom will understand.