For Addison’s second birthday, my Auntie Debbie gave her a set of Fisher Price Little People. It was a bride and groom with a fancy carriage and wedding cake… and a second bride and groom, because she wanted Addison to be able to mix and match – two brides, two grooms, or a bride and groom. (Yes, my Auntie is awesome.)
As my auntie found out when shopping for Addison’s present, when your family is not embraced by the mainstream, it is often hard to find toys for your children that reflect their reality. Sometimes you have to be creative.
Children’s books featuring LGBT families present a similar challenge. Nowadays, we have more options than the classic, “Heather Has Two Mommies,” but not all that many. Before Addison was born, I went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up books that feature lesbian moms. I came home empty handed. Undeterred, I scoured the Internet and bought every single children’s book with two moms – all three of them. There were also a handful about different family structures, two dads, or kids who fell outside of traditional gender roles, so I bought those too.
When we found out this past December that we were expecting twins, I went back online to buy Addie books about being a big sister. None of them feature a two-mom family, so every time I read the books, I change “Dad” to “Mama.” My haircut makes it an easy switch – she just assumes the character in the book with short hair is the mama; but it will not be long before she figures out my trick.
Though it seems trivial to bemoan the lack of LGBT-inclusive children’s toys and books in mainstream stores when we are still fighting for nationwide marriage equality rights, equal protection in the workplace, and access to myriad other rights, I cannot help but long for the days when my children will be able to walk into a bookstore and find a plethora of books that reflect their two-mom family. That will be a true sign that America has embraced our families as one of its own.