I am a contributing writer for Gay Moms Club. This article was originally published there. If you are a mom in the LGBTQ+ community, I encourage you to join!
When our older son was just a baby, my wife and I eagerly shared our journey as lesbian parents with the world. We reveled in the joy of talking about our family, celebrating our love, and championing the cause of queer families. Our story found its way into a local queer glossy magazine, and we even graced the pages of Philadelphia's esteemed daily newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer.
After our family expanded with the arrival of our second son, we found ourselves standing on a stage on Independence Mall in Philadelphia at a PrideFest event in front of a crowd of hundreds, where my wife passionately spoke about marriage equality and the significance of embracing queer families. It was a moment of pride and empowerment that we happily shared with our community.
With the advent of social media, we embraced the opportunity to showcase our happy lesbian family on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. My mother-in-law in particular was thrilled to get almost real-time photos and updates of her grandkids. We delighted in sharing our parenting journey, proud of our boys and the unique individuals they were becoming. Fast forward to the present, and our kids have reached the age of majority.
Our younger son has embraced the world as a circus performer, showcasing his talents and passions to the world. On the flip side, our older son has grown more private. To our surprise and concern, he expressed dismay at the widespread sharing of his childhood images on social media. He requested that we refrain from posting about him ever again. It was actually pretty devastating – our intention was never to cause him pain.
Naturally, we respect his wishes and now find ourselves in a position where our online presence is dominated by posts about our circus-performing son. Yet, as parents, we grapple with a unique challenge – we love both our sons more than anything and want to ensure that our online narrative reflects that love.
This experience has prompted us to reflect on the journey we've undertaken as parents, respecting our son's wishes, demonstrating our pride in both our boys, and sharing our parenting experiences authentically. It's a delicate balance, one that requires navigating the intricacies of online parenting, especially when your family is proudly part of the LGBT community.
While our sons harbor no personal concerns or embarrassment about having lesbian parents, all four of us recognize the broader landscape in which our family exists. LGBT parents must be attuned to the potential risks of homophobic backlash that can target our families. Being aware of these potential challenges allows us, as parents, to navigate the digital space with a nuanced understanding, ensuring that our children's online experiences remain as positive and supportive as possible. Our family's journey underscores the importance of fostering an environment that celebrates love and diversity while remaining vigilant against the realities of a world that may not always share the same inclusive values.
In light of our own journey, here are the top 5 considerations for LGBT parents when it comes to sharing their minor child's photo online:
It is a journey to develop a connected, loving, lifelong relationship with your kids. Whether they are 2 or 22, coaching can help. Want to discuss? Book a free session!