Thanks to ABC Family’s new series The Fosters for sponsoring this post. Click here to see more of the discussion. Also, watch the series premiere of The Fosters on Monday, June 3 at 9/8c only on ABC Family.

I wish I could explain to you how wonderful the Internet has been for me. If you’ve lived any part of your own life online I’m sure you’re probably familiar with how many wonderful people are out there, teaching others about acceptance through their own examples of wholehearted living. One of the kindest emails I received after Vivi was born was from Kim in Texas. I had lost touch with her in 2009, the year that seemed to be terrible for everyone. We had somehow found each other on Flickr in late 2008, and have followed each other on and off through little snapshots of our daily lives. She congratulated me and offered me the most simple blessing in regards to raising these two little girls of mine. Kim has three children of her own, the oldest is now 23, and her daughter takes the on the role of big sistering as seriously as Addie does.

Our family dynamic, as doodled by  Addie, on a napkin.
Kim is a cross dresser, Monday through Friday she works in a professional occupation as a man. He has been married to his wife for over two decades and has three children, two of the three are grown and out of the house. Come Friday night through Sunday he becomes Kimberly, dressing in smart women’s business wear and various well kept wigs. She’s got much better legs than I do, loves heels and looks amazing in pencil skirts. If you click on any of her photos you’ll see she is well loved and respected within her flickr community. The compliments from others are abundant, ranging from “Where did you get that amazing skirt?” to “Your hair has never looked better, Kim!” It was because of her kindness and the support around her I was able to ask her about her lifestyle. Had I seen her on the street over the weekend? You betcha I would have judged. Now that I have had the opportunity to talk to her and understand more about her and her lifestyle? My whole outlook has changed.

So often we’re guilty of thinking of different as “weird” or “gross” when that simply isn’t the case. I fantasize about lying in a bathtub full of cats and one of my life list items includes having my makeup done by a drag queen. I also happen to be a part of a very peculiar religion, but it’s what works for me. More importantly I understand that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone. While there is a stereotype around Mormonism that we are polygamists, I dare you to find a mother who hasn’t wished for a sister wife at one time or another. The logistics may be a little strange, but the premise of having more support in our roles as wives and mothers? Not too shabby.

Blissdom '11 (Friday)
I’ve been tossed around in the past for my views on equality, especially when it comes to marriage. Absolutely everyone deserves happiness, for me my happiness comes from my family. The idea of denying anyone the family they want because of gender differences? Oy. I grew up with amazing neighbors, Karen and Deb, it never mattered that they didn’t have kids or lived together. It only mattered that they let us come over to play and had lots of cats. It was never an issue to my parents that they were lesbians, the difference was never even pointed out to us as children, they just were who they were and that was it. It was also never strange to me that my cousin liked making my sister and me clothes, doing our hair and makeup and writing scripts for fashion shows. When ‘gay’ was brought up as an issue in school I never understood why it was hushed up as such a bad thing, I simply thought of my neighbors and my cousin — all amazing people. So what if they were gay?

The Internet can teach us so much about other people without even having to ask. Blogs are tiny little windows into the lives of others where love is everything and so many of us are just trying to do our best. Only a handful of times has someone found out I’m Mormon and verbally gone running in the opposite direction. *shrug* I guess they’re going to miss out on all this awesome.  I met Polly of Lesbian Dad backstage at the community keynote at BlogHer in 2008. Polly gave me a hug that changed my life that day and I’ve carried it with me always. The love she has for her family absolutely vibrates out of her. If you ever get the chance to meet her ask her to tell you about her wife and kids then ask her for a hug, you won’t regret it. (Although she may regret me telling everyone to hug her.) The other most amazing Casey on the Internet is the same way, her blog is one of my most favorites to read and she is one of the kindest and funniest people on Twitter.  If you have mixed feelings on marriage equality— read her blog and get back to me, those three were meant to be a family.

Polly (Lesbian Dad) looove.
I would never be friends with these women and their families if it weren’t for the Internet. There are so many things I wouldn’t understand the way I do if it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of different stories being played out online through stories, photos and blogs everyday. The world is so much sweeter when you have a thousand truly unique people in it everyday, even if they do live in your computer most of the time. I tell Addie constantly how boring the world would be if we only had two types of ice cream to choose from for dessert. Just like there is a dessert for everyone, there is a family for everyone as well — be it the equivalent of vegan macaroons or double chocolate fudge brownies with ice cream.

Who are the people on the Internet who have most changed your point of view on ‘different?’

 

Comments

  1. Well said!

  2. I have quite a few friends who are cross dressers. I just think anyone willing to embrace who they are and what they really want in life…it’s just magical.

    Speaking of 2009…my husband almost died that year from liver failure. Yea…not a good year, indeed.

    And if it weren’t for the internet, my husband and I never would have met. That boy is far too shy and suffers from too much social anxiety for us to have ever met in person. Yay internetz!

  3. Casey,

    I cannot put into words how much I love you and am so grateful that you are my friend. I am glad that I can feel safe enough to tell you things that I would have to keep secret otherwise. Thank you for being there for me when I know all others would abandon me.

  4. Love everything about this. As much as I see hate show up on the internet…. I think love and understanding grows a LOT more than I can even fathom.

  5. I have a long, hard history with religion. It hurt me a lot. When I met you last year, I instantly liked you SO MUCH. You’re so fun and lovely and kind and hilarious and I was so excited to get to know you more. And then I got home and looked you up. I found out that you’re Mormon. I was terrified. I immediately second guessed our first meeting. I was worried. But then, the internet. It’s a different place here. You are everything I thought you were and SO much more. And you are nothing of what I was afraid you would be. And that has helped me shift a lot of the hurt and fear I had of religion. Because now I know there are people like you. Lots of you. And it’s not worth it for me to close my eyes and run away in fear of being hurt because I would miss out on THIS. And THIS is so good. Thank you, Other Casey. You rule.

  6. Charlene says:

    Casey,

    I love what you said everyone needs to be loved.

    Speaking of love I just witnessed my sister marry the of love her life which was female. Seeing her smiling and her partner so happy has gave me warm fuzzies all day.

  7. Lisa Vielee says:

    This. Thank you.

    My grandparent changed her/his gender the same year I was born. I grew up with a loving, wonderful grandparent but also with a web full of lies and half-truths because of her/his fear of being judged. I never understood how anyone could judge my wonderful Poppy. I’m so glad there are more people every day who are accepting and loving. Hopefully, we can all put the half-truths and fear away for good sometime soon.

  8. Kristin says:

    You rock, and you’re making the world a better place. Thank you.

  9. Thanks for saying so well what I think and have a complete inability to express :) Loved this post!

  10. Similar to what Other Casey commented above, I have had a difficult relationship with religion. I was raised,against my will, in an alternative commune(read: cult). Much of my family later became devout Christians leaving a divide between us.
    Strangely enough, when I first found blogland, the blogs I read were Christian writers. I found myself noticing the similarities instead of the differences. It made a pretty big impact on me that those women were also willing and able to put aside the differences.
    Your blog has been that for me as well. Your faith seems matter-of-fact and a part of you. I never feel judged or less than. That means a lot to that unheard and unaccepted kid that still lives inside me.