This is an excerpt from Jesus Has Two Daddies: Two Dads, One Family by Tom McMillen-Oakley (2 Moon Press, 2012). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Chapter Seven: Going to the Chapel
For many, weddings are an exciting time. For me, they are a reminder of my second-class status as a gay man living in the United States. Many of the dreams that are readily available to our heterosexual counterparts don’t come easily for those of us who are gay.
When I first came out to my family back in the 80s (I was 16 years old), some of the first comments and criticisms from my folks were that I would never have a family, nor give my parents the coveted grandchildren they so desired. It would seem that by being gay, my life would be one big orgy of self-indulgence and debauchery. I will admit that for a young man without many role models in my life, their rather glum forecast did seem to be my destiny. I knew a few older men who were gay, many of whom became mentors and role models in my life. Some, however, never made it out of the 80s because of illness or suicide.
Then there are those who disappeared, for whatever reason. We didn’t have a high school group (aside from Thespians) that connected us, and many of the bars that we hung out in together are history. Yes, Facebook provided me with some great reunions, including my first boyfriend. But searches for many of my friends have turned up nothing. It’s saddens me that they are gone. I have some pictures, but for the most part, they are hazy memories floating in my head. So yes, I mourn with my folks and their losses, but I hold a candle that has been burning for almost 30 years in my heart for the lives that ended much too soon.
I miss you all.
I would hear about a family member or a friend getting married, and I would flinch at the thought of sitting through yet another ceremony full of all the trappings that make the perfect day: horrible music, hot churches, bad dresses, and the receptions. Oh sure, you could score some free drinks, but the whole concept of a reception makes me dizzy with disdain. While the wedding party is off getting their pictures taken or driving around town in a limo consummating their marriage, you are hustled down to a church basement, K of C Hall, or some ballroom in a hotel off the freeway.
For those of us without kids, or the ability to legally marry, these events can cause great strain and stress. The stress is caused by the desire to strangle all the kids running around and the wish to choke the DJ to death with his mic cord. Would it kill them to play some Madonna? The strain comes from clutching the chair legs every time one of the parents chirps about how cute the kids are and then tucks back into their drink or third piece of wedding cake, oblivious to the carnage those little monsters are bringing to the hall.
In 2005, our friend Michelle invited us to her nuptials east of Detroit, so Tod and I had time on the lengthy drive over to discuss a whole host of subjects. One thing I love about Tod and our relationship is that we can talk about anything for any amount of time, or we can say nothing at all and be completely comfortable with the silence.
On the drive home after the ceremony, Tod and I began a lengthy and exciting discussion about expanding our family. We were in a new house, one that called out for more than two inhabitants. We bounced questions off of each other and grew more and more excited as we headed home on the freeway.
We had been told that we’d never find love, marry or start a family. However, on the ride home after the ceremony, the defining moment came when we decided that this could be a possibility for us.
Jesus Has Two Daddies is now available in Kindle and paperback.