Last year we went to the White House Eggroll with lots of other gay families organized by Family Pride. It was supposed to be kept quiet, at least until after the eggroll, I think, with a statement issued afterwards about our families’ participation. Unfortunately, it got leaked. I think Drudge posted it, and from there the usual right wing groups picked up on it, and it was all over the news.
Well, we did it again this year, and for the most part it was a quiet event. Aa I said to the Washington Post, that’s a good thing.
This year, in colorful leis once again, they and the other families said they felt accepted. “And I hope it continues until we’re not newsworthy anymore,” said Heath, a computer consultant.
Another quote didn’t make it into the story. A woman standing next to me said, “Last year were were the story, this year we’re part of the story,” and I finished by adding, “and maybe after that it won’t even be a story. Maybe by then we’ll even have someone in the White House who’ll won’t be afraid to stick around and greet us.”
Well, maybe. The current crop of candidates seems a little iffy on our families, and only slightly less so than the Republicans.
But it was a good day. And a good thing that there was less media. Even the other side didn’t bother to show up with protest signs as they did last year. (My guess is that they figured out that standing waving signs and yelling through a bullhorn at an even with children didn’t look all that good on them.)
Last year, Family Pride’s presence at the annual Washington tradition caused quite a stir with people who said that gays did not belong at a family event. A few protesters even showed up, although they could not be seen from the lawn where the eggs were rolling.
This year, Chrisler said there was much less interest, which suited her fine. No protesters surfaced, and some fellow egg-rollers even asked where they could find the rainbow-colored leis Family Pride members wore to identify themselves. Chrisler said her group used these questions as an opportunity to educate other families about their families. Even some of the National Park Service Rangers guarding the event gave them a subtle thumbs-up of support, she said.
We got a few questions about our leis as we were standing in line, and I explained what they were for. But one of the wonderful things about Parker being a little older is that there’s a lot less to explain. We don’t have to out ourselves. He does it for us without much effort. Just his going from my arms to the hubby’s arms, and chattering with Daddy & Papa while we were standing in line was enough to give anyone the information they needed to at least figure out that we were a family.
It was the low-key approach I think Family Pride wanted last year but didn’t get. In that sense, it was the low-key approach I think Rainbow Families wanted last year, but didn’t get; the one-to-one, family-to-family interactions that help educate people about our families. When the reporter asked me why we were back this year my answer was basically that people hear a lot of misinformation about our families, but never actually see our families. By going and being visible as families, we help change that a little.
And we get to have a good time with our kids too. Parker enjoyed himself probably even more than he did last year, being a little older. All he wanted to do was participate in the egg roll and get his easter candy. We eventually did that, after listening to a performance by Elmo from Sesame Street and getting a picture taken with Clifford the Big Red Dog. I knelt at the end of the lane and snapped pictures while the hubby cheered Parker on as he rolled his egg down the lane and yelled “I won!” when he reached the end.
After that, we went to lunch, and headed home.
Last year, I think I got interviewed four times. This year, I spoke to one reporter. And if we go back next year, I hope I don’t get interviewed at all. Because ultimately, we’ll have made a difference when our families are no longer news, because of course there are gay families at the Easter Egg Roll. Why shouldn’t there be?
After all, it’s no big deal, right?