I am the minority.
When I am with other parents, other like-minded citizens, and other people my age, I am different. I am queer. I don’t look like the other women or moms. My clothes mirror the men and dads around me, but my frame is much smaller and my face has much less facial hair.
I can always stand on the edge of a group and be a party of one.
My family is the minority.
My marriage to another woman is usually the only gay marriage in the room. My kids are usually the only ones around who are shouting for two moms. My transgender daughter is the only transgender kid in all of the locations we occupy.
We can always stand on the edge of a group and be our own island of five.
We live our lives in the mix of the majority, but we are always the minority. We blend in because of our similarities to other parents, other married folks, and other people trying to make sense out of it all.
But I and my family are the ones who are different, and I am always aware of our differences.
And it’s okay if you notice them too. It would do us a disservice if you didn’t notice them.
To truly respect and accept and love us and all LGBTQ people and families, you need to first see and respect the differences between you and us.
Please don’t just say, “We’re all the same! You deserve the same rights! Love is love!”
While those are fine things to say and believe, and I want you to say and believe them, I need you to do something more.
I need you to understand that in order for me and you to be in the same places, living and loving parallel lives, I and my family are always the minority. We are always on the fringes. We are always the ones who carry the knowledge of being different.
Sometimes that knowledge is scary. Sometimes it’s no big deal. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But it’s always there.
Please want and demand and expect equality for the LGBTQ people in your life.
But do not forget that you are wanting and demanding and expecting something for us that you have always had.
We cannot be the same until our differences are seen.
A cake is a cake until you cut it open and see what it’s made of.
Please see us.
We are the same but made up of different stuff.
Do not discount our differences. It discounts our experiences as we continue to live in the minority.
This post originally appeared on Facebook. It has been reprinted with permission.
Amber Leventry is a writer and advocate. She lives in Vermont with her partner, the kids, and their attention deprived dog. Her writing appears on The Next Family, Scary Mommy, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Babble, Ravishly, Her View From Home, Huffington Post, Longreads, and The Washington Post. She also runs Family Rhetoric by Amber Leventry, a Facebook page devoted to advocating for LGBTQ families one story at a time. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.