Our children - and now our grandchild - have paid a certain price for having gay (grand)parents. Back in the '90s, my daughter was directly confronted, taunted, and ostracized about it. Today, our granddaughter hears gay-bashing on the bus, on the playground, in the lunchroom.
So why, our friends sometimes ask, do we choose to live in rural Wisconsin - a blue state with a lot of red rural areas, a place known for having large pockets of extremely conservative folks? We choose to live in Wisconsin because this is where my partner is from, her family is our family, and we didn't want to miss out any longer on being part of that.
Now, here's why we didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin. We didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin because of Harvey Milk. We didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin, because people fear what they don't know, and the only way to dispel that fear is to make the unfamiliar familiar. We didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin, and now we're just known as "the girls who live on the hill." We know people in the small towns around us, and they are always warm to us. Their children come over and play with our granddaughter. They come into our house for a cup of coffee and to share the local news.
We didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin, and we didn't change the world. But we became familiar to a few dozen people who may not have known any gay people before. We didn't choose not to live in Wisconsin. And we're very glad.
1 E. Erie St.
Suite 525, PO Box 2036
Chicago, Illinois 60611