This is a safe space for us to better understand the LGBTQ family experience by reading, writing and sharing letters.
A Homofamily of Our Own

A Homofamily of Our Own

Dear Penis,

Welcome home. You and I, we used to spend a lot of time together in this, the bedroom of our adolescence. It’s been seven years since we lived here full-time, but lying here, it’s easy to forget those years have passed, especially because my sister is home for Hanukkah too, and she’s blaring a Harry Potter audiobook in the adjacent room, just as she used too before I left for college. She's been listening to those books on repeat pretty much nonstop for the past dozen years, so I’m used to the soothing, wall-muffled tones of British voice actor Jim Dale coaxing me to sleep. 

As I lie here, looking around the room at my few surviving childhood wall decorations, I’m reminded of some of our more awkward moments together. Remember when, around age 13, you and I had a little too much fun for the first time, made a big mess on the duvet cover, and, mortified that the moms would discover the stain, snuck out to the mall on a bike to buy a fresh new cover with my precious dog-sitting money? And then how, when a concerned mom saw us alone at the mall and called home, we ended up having to discuss our masturbatory habits with the moms anyway? 

It's funny, given how close I am with the moms, and how many topics are fair game in our relationship, that somehow it's still awkward to talk about you and other "guy things" with them. Especially because I know they'd love to know more about my crushes and romances. But somehow, I can't get past this mental block I have against talking about you with them. And the more years I wait to break the ice off that topic, the thicker the ice seems to get. 

It’s certainly not for lack of trying on their part. I remember when Mom L sat me down as a tweenager and delivered a very direct Birds and Bees speech. That speech ended with an awkward offer to connect us with the dad of a neighborhood friend if there were any "guy things" that we would feel more comfortable discussing with another penis-toting human. I never took her up on that offer. And although I'm sure they'd known for years, it wasn't until the winter break of our sophomore year of college that I blurted out that you and I were in search of other penises, tagging the admission onto an unrelated conversation about my college friends, and then refusing to go into any details. Ever since then, they’ll occasionally make casual inquiries into my dating life, which I usually sidestep, and they don’t belabor the topic.

Gay marriage just became legal here in our home state a couple months ago. After years of telling themselves and us, their children, that the legal recognition didn't matter, that it didn't stop us all from being a "normal" family, the attraction of the tax benefits and the elusive “wife” label was too strong to pass up. Just six days ago, on the second day of Hanukkah, my moms stood under a chupa and were married by their rabbi in an intimate ceremony, attended only by my sister, myself, and a couple synagogue administrators who served as witnesses. Despite the intentional lack of pomp and circumstance, it was a powerful moment for all of us, formalizing in the eyes of our religion and the law a relationship I'd taken for granted for 25 years.

The ceremony got me thinking about the likelihood of my own future gay family. Whenever anyone from the hetero world asks about what "it was like" growing up, I toe the party line. I say all the right things about how "normal" it was and how I had everything a straight family had, and never wanted for lack of a parent with a dick. But it's not 100% true. Some things were different. Very different. Different enough for me to question whether I would want to subject my children to the same differences. 

But these differences, even the ones I still see as disadvantages, are the reason I am who I am, for better or worse. I believe being raised by Jewish lesbians in North Carolina made me a more empathetic, understanding, and generally world-savvy person. It also made me pretty fucking weird. Heck, it may have even made me gay. And in that moment, watching my moms circle each other seven times, in a freshly modified version of the traditional wedding ritual, in an era when gay families are increasingly accepted as “normal” by the mainstream world, I pictured myself standing under the chuppah with another man, planning a homofamily of our very own.

Not that there any realistic prospects for my future gay nuptials at the present moment. I seem doomed to keep attracting casual romantic friendships with men, not actual long term relationships. So tonight, Penis, we're going to sneak out of our childhood home and borrow my mom's car to pay a visit to a very friendly nursing student I met on Grindr a few days ago. He's all alone for the holidays, and needs a hometown Jew to keep him warm on this chilly Christmas Eve.

Forever yours,


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