I Often Forget that I’m a Lesbian.

Seriously, and you should too.

Taking a leisurely stroll down Main St. in a small town in the DC/MD metro area, I stopped for a moment to consider my family dynamic. Two smiling, somewhat spoiled kids aged 3 and 7, and two adults who love them. Hand-in-hand my girlfriend and I chatted about life, and as I paused from a thought, I noticed eyes. It wasn’t a passive stare- you know, the ones that happen as you meet eyes while walking in the opposite direction. This was a full-on, you’re different and we don’t like it stare.

My first thought was, “What the hell are you looking at?”

We were dressed appropriately for the tricky “fall” weather, which goes from a balmy 70 to a chilly 40 in a matter of days, and weren’t being loud or weird (at that time). My kids were laughing, picking up leaves and sticks and admiring the season’s changes. We were just a normal family, enjoying a Saturday out in our neighborhood. Aside from my loc’d hair being a pale shade of red, there wasn’t one thing that I could immediately pinpoint that would elicit such a response.

And then I remembered that I’m a lesbian, holding a masculine-identified woman’s hand, with two young kids that we could not have possibly made together who has called me Mommy.

I’m different, and somehow the idea that my way of loving is wrong or strange makes me so. What was so disconcerting in that moment was not that I came to said revelation, but others, who are somehow offended by my innate preference and family composition.

I knew that I was a lesbian at the age of 12. Aaliyah’s tomboy flair affirmed my love of androgyny and masculine “butch” women, but instead of embracing my affinity to women I chose to shame myself. I believed that my preferences were disgusting, weird, and not what society and nature intended. I forced myself straight, having dates, relationships, and more with men. I had two children, naturally conceived, but never quite got to a place where I could honestly embrace a heterosexual relationship because men never understood me.

When I’m awash with regret for diminishing the fullness of who I am to fit into societal constructs, I remember that I have two stellar kids that I had the pleasure of nourishing in my tummy.

Why anyone would forget that love, companionship, and mutual interest is the basis for all relationships boggles me. Who cares that said love comes by way of same-sex pairings? When he looked at us, the passerby with the quizzical glare, I wondered if he pondered how our family was made (were the kids inseminated or adopted?), how hurt I was by a man in my past, or how messed up my kids may be with having “two mommies.” Because, according to a male’s ego, typically there’s no other reason for a fully-functioning feminine woman to choose another woman unless some horrible man hurt her so. And according to society, kids with same-sex parents will definitely be gay (let’s just forget that most homosexuals have been created by heterosexual parents).

I wouldn’t have chosen to be a lesbian if I didn’t feel innately and spiritually tied to the female form, mind, and intelligence. I wouldn’t have selected voluntarily to be subjugated for my preferences, as I didn’t when being born Black and a woman.

While we’re slowly making a gradual change for the better, at some point we’ll all forget that this is a thing and let love be normalized for all gender expressions.

Until then, I’ll just continue to let my family be the ‘new normal.’