Being the year 2017, there are several things that are becoming more widely accepted that used to be seen as more taboo or controversial. Since the US legalized same-gender marriages in 2016, there has been an overwhelming amount of same-gender couples who are starting to feel more comfortable expressing themselves.
However, for several years this was not the case. Couples had to date in secret, and they were often shunned by society and even their own parents. People have so many internalized negative opinions about same-gender couples, especially when they decide to start a family together.
For years people have been making stupid assumptions about children who are raised by same-gender parents. They think they’ll grow up to be non-heterosexual as well or will not develop correctly without a parent of each gender.
Zach Wahls is a 25-year-old activist who is the son of two moms in a same-gender relationship. Growing up, he experienced bullying and comments towards his parents’ relationship, some people even refusing to associate with him. This lead Zach to become an author and an activist for LGBT equality.
When Zach was 19 years old and a student at the University of Iowa, he spoke about his family and upbringing during a public forum on the House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives.
As the son of two mothers, he was actively arguing against the House Joint Resolution 6 which would put a stop to civil unions in Iowa.
Zach started off his speech saying that when his biological mother Terry had first become pregnant and told her grandparents about it, they didn’t even acknowledge the fact–it wasn’t until he was actually born that they began to get over their issues. Unfortunately, neither of them were alive long enough to see her marry her partner Jackie in 2009 when same-gender marriage became legalized in Iowa.
He also explained that he has a little sister who has the same monogamous donor, making them full siblings ‘which is really cool’ for Zach. He expressed that his family really isn’t that different from anyone else’s.
When he’s at home, his family goes to church, goes on vacations, and eats dinner together–just like any other Iowa family.
However, as most families do, they have also experienced their fair share of difficult times. In 2000, Terry was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which put her in a wheelchair. ‘We’re Iowans,’ he said, ‘We don’t expect anyone to solve our problems for us, we’ll fight our own battles, we just hope for equal and fair treatment from our government.’
Zach talked about how the subject of same-gender marriage often comes up in conversations at school. He explained that it usually comes down to the questions ‘can same-gender couples even raise kids?’ At this point, he would raise his hand and share that he was raised by two moms and is doing just fine.
Zach is an eagle scout, scored in the 99 percentile in the AST, and he owns and operates his own business. ‘If I was your son Mr. Chairman, I believe I would make you very proud.’
There really isn’t any difference in Zach or his family, other than the way others view them. Zach stressed that family isn’t about a piece of paper–but it’s about the commitment to each other.
‘It comes from the love that binds us, that’s what makes a family,’ he said. ‘What you’re voting here isn’t to change us, it’s not to change our families, it’s to change how the law views us.’
Zach’s passion began to rise as he told the room that for the first time in Iowan history, they are voting to ‘codify discrimination’ and that this vote is telling Iowans that some people are ‘second class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love.’
As his speech concluded, he acknowledged that he was sure they were about to hear a ton of reasons as to why same-gender parents can be damaging to kids. ‘Will this affect my family? Will this affect yours?’
To further that note, he shared that in his 19 years of life he has never met someone who independently realized he was the son of same-gender parents.
‘You know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character,’ he said before concluding. The room burst into applause.
As well as being an LGBT equality activist, Zach has also written a novel entitled My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.
To find out more information on his work and to read more of his thoughts and opinions, you can check out his official website. One of his most recent projects was the completion of a deck of cards featuring women who have changed the world which he co-created with his sister.