Leaning into my queer identity has changed the way I parent

  • I’m queer and fat, and sometimes I feel pressured to wear things I don’t want to, like heels.
  • I’ve identified as queer for almost a decade, but my life was very straight until two years ago.
  • My queer community loves and embraces my children.

I’m obsessing over what I’m going to wear to an event in a few days. I have a few options lined up and when I start looking for what shoes to wear, my mind keeps swimming around the words “must” and “heels”.

I’m queer, and I’m fat. But sometimes I feel pressured to present as pro-feminine even when I know that doesn’t reflect who I am. I don’t want to wear stilettos. I want to wear my combat boots with the dress I’ve chosen. “Wear what feels best,” my partner tells me. He is right.

The event we will be attending that weekend is a queer venue. This fact helps me to separate myself from the idea that there are things I should wear and instead wear whatever makes me feel inside my body.

I don’t want to wear heels because I “should”, and I certainly don’t want to wear heels to make myself more palatable as a fat person. But if I’m being honest, if the event was in a predominantly heteronormative venue, I would have leaned more towards the heels and probably would have been hesitant to choose them.

In the end, I chose the outfit that gave me the most euphoria about gender and style, knowing that where I was going I felt good and safe enough to do so.

I lived a very straight life

While I have identified as queer for nine years, I have not been in predominantly queer spaces, relationships, or friendships until almost two years ago. Although I might publicly say my sexual orientation is queer, I was married to a straight cisgender man and my life was very straight – from my friends to the art I hung on my walls.

I felt smaller, and while some of that smallness was self-inflicted, it was absolutely a byproduct of living in a heteronormative world.

My queerness has brought me and my children into a close and loving community

Now my partner and tight-knit group of friends are queer. These are the people I get together with often, but specifically once a month for the Big Queer Dinner, driven by our love of food and community.

This also means that my young children have their own experiences in the queer community and the ways we show up for each other. We joke that we’re all parenting my kids together – I’m the only parent in our group so far – and while we laugh, it’s true. They are my chosen family, the people I call first, the people who hug my children and celebrate their birthdays with me. My kids see first hand what queer love looks like and feels like, and it has become the norm instead of the exception.

None of this is to say that closeness and intimacy or euphoria of style or feeling grounded can only be accessed through queerness. That’s not to say straight people can’t access community the way I do now, but my own testimony of how queer life has given me a whole new lens.

Becoming exploratory in my queerness has brought me more queer friendships, love, and community—and a lot of Big Queer Joy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *