JoJo Siwa Says To Young Fans ‘You Can Be In Love With Whoever You Want’

Siwa said she’s glad to help fans see they can love whomever they choose

JoJo Siwa presented at the GLAAD Media Awards this past week, during which she raved about her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, and sent an important message to kids about loving who they want to love.

The 17-year-old YouTube star and former Dance Moms star took time during the show to remind young people that they can be whomever they choose and that she feels incredibly proud that she can help her fans feel comfortable with their sexuality.

“I think it’s really cool now that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome,” she said.

Siwa continued:

“If you want to fall in love with a girl, if you want to fall in love with a boy, if you want to fall with somebody who is a they, them or who is non-binary, that is incredible. Love is awesome. You can be in love with whoever you want to be in love with, and it should be celebrated. And amazingly, now today in the world, it is.”

Siwa also took time to fawn over her girlfriend who she credits with making her so happy.

“I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy,” she said while presenting the award for outstanding children’s programming to The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo. “That is all that matters.”

Siwa revealed in February on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that she was in a relationship. Just a few days later, she made it Instagram official.

“I was on FaceTime with [my girlfriend], and we were just talking about all the love that came in, and we were both like, ‘Technically I still haven’t confirmed it,’” she told Fallon, telling him her close family and friends knew about her sexuality, but that she wasn’t officially “out” publicly. “I was like, ‘I kind of just want to post this picture on my real story.’ She was super encouraging.”

Siwa was met with a ton of support after coming out out in a series of posts on TikTok and Instagram back in January. She teased the news with a lip-sync of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and a visit to the TikTok crew Pride House LA — then made it very clear with a “BEST GAY COUSIN EVER” T-shirt on Twitter.

But Siwa admitted she’s also received a lot of ignorant hate from strangers as well that she’s had to reconcile after Googling herself days after she came out.

“I never should have done that. I was thinking that all the comments were going to be nice and supportive, and they weren’t,” she said. “A lot of them were, ‘I’m never buying your merch again. My daughter’s never watching you again.’ I couldn’t sleep for three days.”

Regardless of the haters, Siwa is continuing to be open and honest about her feelings for her girlfriend and her hope that kids of any age can be comfortable with who they are and who they love.

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The Creator Of The 5 Love Languages Is A Homophobe And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages that humans use to communicate “heartfelt commitment” to one another. Proposed in 1992, his five love languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and touch. Supposedly, everyone has a primary language that dominates over all the others in terms of making them feel most appreciated and cherished.

Since he published his first love languages book for couples in 1992, Chapman has gone on to publish 10 more books on the concept. The original book alone has sold over 12 million copies and has been printed in 50 languages, making Mr. Chapman a millionaire many times over and changing forever the way people all over the world talk about relationships.

Not 10 feet from where I now sit typing, a copy of Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages for Children” is nestled on my bookshelf between “Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child” and “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” As recently as last week, I forwarded a tweet to my partner about their “love language.” When I think about showing my partner I love them, I do consider their love language. I try to be cognizant of the gestures they appreciate most, and to do those things — to always show them how much I love them in a way that feels most meaningful to them. And my partner does the same for me.

Even for those who have never read a single word of any of Chapman’s books, the concept of “love languages” still weasels its way into their lexicon. It’s useful to have precise language to talk about the ways in which we love. Most of us who’ve at least dabbled in adapting our behavior to better suit a loved one’s emotional needs have benefited from these ideas if only tangentially. I certainly have.

Because, ultimately, Chapman’s ideas are supposed to be about empathy. Figure out how the person you love ticks. See their point of view. And love them accordingly.

Sadly, it has recently come to light that Chapman has printed some blatantly homophobic material.

From his website:

Q: “My son has recently told us that he is gay. I’m having a very hard time dealing with it. How can I help him with this and still show love?”

Gary Chapman: Disappointment is a common emotion when a parent hears one of their children indicate that he/she is gay. Men and women are made for each other—it is God’s design. Anything other than that is outside of that primary design of God. Now I’m not going to try explain all the ins and outs of homosexuality, but what I will say is this—we love our children no matter what. Express your disappointment and/or your lack of understanding, but make it clear that you love them and that you will continue to love them no matter what. I would also encourage you to ask your child to do some serious reading and/or talk to a counselor to try to understand him/herself better while continuing to affirm your love.

Another excerpt from his website:

Almost all parents – even those who say we should tolerate all lifestyles – will feel shock and deep pain if one of their children announces that he is homosexual. The initial reaction is that they have failed their child in some critical way. The fact is that research has failed to discover the causes of homosexuality. We simply don’t know why some people have “same sex” attraction. So what’s a Christian parent to do? The example of Jesus would lead us to spend time with them, communicate with them, and demonstrate love for them, even though we do not approve of their lifestyle.

Note how Chapman adjusts his language here so that empathy is no longer the goal. Note how now the concern and empathy is placed wholly with the parent who feels conflicted about their love for their child. Chapman admits he does not know why “some people have ‘same sex’ attraction,” but he hypothesizes about what Jesus would do. He says that “even though we do not approve of their lifestyle,” he thinks Jesus would “demonstrate love.”

Not “love them.” But demonstrate love.

In the previous example, where he offers advice to a concerned parent, he suggests the parent express their love but also be sure to express their “disappointment and/or your lack of understanding.”

This is the most insidious form of homophobia. It’s subtle, and it’s so thoroughly and meticulously couched in “demonstrations” of love that you almost miss it. Indeed, Mr. Chapman’s homophobia flew under the radar for years. The advice to the mother concerned about her gay son is from 2013, and last week was the first time I’d heard of it.

Here’s the thing that Mr. Chapman doesn’t seem to comprehend: You can’t love a person while denying their identity. You just can’t. No matter how earnestly a person may believe in their own love-despite-disappointment, the love is now stained by disapproval. It is no longer love.

There isn’t a way to argue this point with people like Chapman who sincerely believe in their own good intentions. Because while we are expressing our frustrations with their conditional love, they are stuck in the mindset that sexual orientation and gender identity are behaviors. They don’t see their love as conditional. They see a behavior that can be modified if one only tries hard enough. Do some serious reading. Talk to a counselor.

We queers feel cut to the core when someone comes at us with “I love you, but I don’t approve of your lifestyle.” Because to us, this is not a lifestyle. It’s who we are. To love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin folks, they are loving while disapproving of a particular behavior, the way a parent might love an adult child but disapprove of them having an affair or being a Democrat. Behaviors can be modified!

The argument is impossible because we’re not even having the same conversation.

And while I can grasp all of that on a cognitive level, in my gut, I’m still enraged. Gary Chapman made millions of dollars teaching people how to love selflessly. He taught that words of affirmation, for many, are the primary method by which a person feels fully seen and cherished.

And yet, the advice he gives to the parent who is literally asking him, the expert, to give them permission to love every part of their child, is to love them with a caveat.

Love is not supposed to come with caveats. That is NOT affirming.

If you feel hoodwinked by Chapman’s teachings like I do but you would still like to keep working on being the best partner, parent, and friend, consider instead following the teachings of Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottmans use similar concepts of simply paying attention to the kinds of gestures that are most meaningful to your partner and demonstrating your love accordingly. However, they note that a person’s primary “love language” likely is not fixed and is often context-specific. Sometimes words of affirmation are most important, and sometimes a thoughtful gift is more appreciated than anything else. They also point out that some of Chapman’s singular languages, like “quality time,” are critical ingredients in every relationship.

I won’t demonize Mr. Chapman’s ideas about love languages. I have found the concept of love languages useful, even in my extremely queer relationship upon which Chapman would likely frown. But I sure as hell will never spend another penny on his books.

Mr. Chapman, along with everyone who continues to hold and propagate these outdated, hurtful beliefs about “loving the sinner but not the sin,” needs to be called out. Enough of this. Love is not a sin. Who you love is not cause for “shock,” “disappointment,” or “deep pain.”

Love is cause for celebration, full stop.

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Dad’s Emotional Testimony Against Transgender Sports Ban Goes Viral

Brandon Boulware spoke in front of the Missouri House of Representatives, asking lawmakers to think again about a proposed transgender sports ban in schools

In life, there are few certainties. Chrissy Teigen will always dunk on trolls. Never start a land war in Asia. Mess with their kiddos, and parents will square up. Every time.

The latter happened earlier this month when Brandon Boulware gave his testimony as a loving parent in front of the Missouri legislature. Boulware spoke to the legislature in an effort to ask the body to nix a proposed transgender sports ban in the state’s schools. His daughter, Boulware said, was “absolutely miserable,” the attorney told the Missouri legislature earlier this month.

The ACLU shared the video on social media.

The attorney told those gathered about how he and his wife allowed his transgender daughter to wear the clothes she felt most comfortable in, grow her hair out, and play on girls’ sports teams. The father of four urged lawmakers not to pass a bill that would force his daughter to quit her tennis team, dance squad, and volleyball team by making students play on teams based on the sex listed on their birth certificates.

In a passionate speech, Boulware begged the legislature to rethink its plan. “I ask you, please don’t take that away from my daughter, or the countless others like her who are out there,” Boulware said. “Let them have their childhoods, let them be who they are. I ask you to vote against this legislation.”

Kristen Johnson said Boulware’s speech gave her chills.

“My child was miserable. I cannot overstate that,” Boulware said. “Especially at school. No confidence, no friends, no laughter. I can honestly say this: I had a child who did not smile.”

The pleas of a parent to consider their child touched the internet. Dwayne Wade weighed in with an Instagram post.

Boulware explained to the legislature how he came to his point of view. He told the galley about how his daughter had put on one of her older sister’s dresses and asked if she could go play with neighbors.

When Boulware told her no because it was time for dinner, his daughter’s answer rattled him: “She asked me, if she went inside and put on boy clothes, could she then go across the street and play? And it’s then that it hit me. My daughter was equating being good with being someone else. I was teaching her to deny who she is.”

At that moment, Boulware said, he and his wife never asked their daughter to act like a boy again.

Is there anything better than a parent who totally has their kid’s back? Jennifer Lopez appreciated the love in Boulware’s remarks.

“The moment we allowed my daughter to be who she is, to grow her hair, to wear the clothes she wanted to wear, she was a different child,” Boulware added. “It was a total transformation. I now have a confident, a smiling, a happy daughter.”

Boulware said the bill’s supporters incorrectly claim that transgender athletes who play on girls’ teams have an advantage over their biological female teammates.

“That is not really the situation,” Boulware said in an interview with The Washington Post, stating that some transgender children receive hormone therapy which lowers the level of testosterone in their bodies. “What these people are trying to do is score cheap political points at the cost of kids.”

Boulware told The Post he was amazed at how viral his statement went. The proud dad hopes his candor about his own experience as a father might influence lawmakers in Missouri and elsewhere.

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To All Of The ‘Why Do We Have To Label Everything?’ Commenters

Anytime I or another, usually queer, writer, tries to explain a topic or term that is lumped in and under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, someone, usually not queer, likes to chime in with these sentiments: Why do you have to label everything? Just be who you are! Or the comments are defensive and flippant: Stop making such a big deal out of everything. No one cares!

Some people claim to be too tired or confused to be respectful of others’ identities, so instead of trying, or actually reading the educational article I or someone else provided, they plead ignorance and ask for forgiveness when they make mistakes. That’s not how this works. I respect your name, pronouns, identity, and whatever you call yourself in connection with whatever sports team gets you horny on game day; you can do the same for me. I don’t understand what it’s like to be straight or a Yankees fan, but I’m still comfortable with one’s use of those words to describe themselves because it doesn’t change who I am. For all of the identities and labels you don’t understand, here’s why they exist and are necessary.

Folks with identities outside of heteronormative boxes often look for words that help them see themselves in the world. I don’t identify as straight or cisgender, but that is the default setting society places on people when they are born (tragic gender reveal party anyone?) so those are the terms I got. But the setting was incorrect for me and many others so it’s up to us to “fix” the wrong. That’s why people need to come out of the closet. That’s why people embrace labels. Yes, I’m a human being, but I’m not an assumption; I describe myself using words that give me a sense of pride and self-acceptance. I’m queer and nonbinary and my labels invite solidarity and community. My labels are an act of rebellion and a declaration of independence from rules and expectations.

I wear pronoun pins and rainbow flags because I’m proudly providing representation, but I’m also trying to explain myself because that seems to be the role of those of us who are “othered.” This is really exhausting though. If you are a true ally, take that label you aren’t sure about and put it into a Google search instead of playing the ignorance card. Or read the article before deciding someone else’s identity isn’t valid.

Labels are personal and can be fluid and change frequently, and that’s amazing too. No one owes you an explanation for the words they use to describe themselves. My labels allow me to find other folks who also identify as nonbinary so we can share our experiences, support one another, and give and get advice on how to navigate a world that tells us we aren’t allowed to have an accurate box to check. Labels allow me and others to feel seen. Because language is evolving, new words emerge that allow people to live with a better understanding of themselves. Finding the word nonbinary was the label I needed to feel like I had a home; I needed it to feel less lonely.

Those of us who live in the margins with LGBTQIA+ labels are up against more than just clueless commenters on social media. We face real and terrifying discrimination, hate, and abuse. When we look for safety and opportunities, we look for institutions, organizations, and businesses that are actively looking to support us by declaring their commitment to protecting LGBTQIA+ people. Equity and social justice work exists to benefit those of us who have dared label ourselves something that doesn’t fit neatly into society’s ideas about gender, gender expression, and sexuality.

I have been a part of the queer community since I was a closeted elementary school child. I am an activist and an educator and I have a solid understanding of terms that fall outside of the straight, cisgender heteronormative narrative. However, I don’t speak for all queer people or all nonbinary people. Nor would I ever claim that I know what each term and label means for each person who claims it to be theirs. I can tell you the general definition of what it means to be asexual, but that is not my lived experience, so if an asexual person tells me that the word means something different to them than the meaning I understand, I listen. That’s the bare minimum I and anyone can do. Shut up and listen.

When you are quick to say people are just people and we should just live and let live, you are showing your privilege and ignorance. Your explicit and implicit biases may not seem hurtful, but to deny someone their ability to speak freely and comfortably about their labels is to deny them the right to live comfortably too. It’s not lost on me that many of the people who claim there are too many labels these days are the same ones who get very offended if they are assumed to be gay or if someone misgenders them. If we’re all people, then what does it matter? Why do you care that someone repeatedly called you ma’am at the grocery store, Chad? You should really relax and stop focusing so much on labels.

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Niecy Nash Opens Up About Falling In Love With ‘Hersband’ Jess Betts

Niecy Nash opens up about falling in love with her spouse Jessica Betts

Niecy Nash, star of Claws, Reno 911! and the amazing early-aughts decluttering series Clean House, jokes that she “broke the internet” when she announced her surprise wedding to singer Jessica Betts back in August 2020 and now in a new interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Nash talks about falling in love with her spouse and why she doesn’t “label” her identity or feel that she has to “come out,” because coming out would mean she was hiding.

DeGeneres congratulated Nash on her recent nuptials to Betts, to which Nash quickly corrected DeGeneres with a laugh, “You called her ‘my wife’ but I lovingly refer to her as my ‘hersband.'” Nash acknowledged the public’s surprise when she got married and said she didn’t know how to react when people said to her that she “came out.”

“A lot of people say that, like, ‘Oh, you came out!’ and I say, ‘Well, from out of where?’ You know what I mean?” Nash said. “I wasn’t anywhere to come out of. I wasn’t living a sexually repressed life when I was married to men, I just loved them when I loved them. And now I love her.”

“I understand that, I get that,” DeGeneres told her.

Nash also talked about how they met, saying she and Betts were friends for about four years before they decided to start dating.

“We were probably friends for about four and a half years,” Nash told DeGeneres. “I was already divorced and we were still friends, and we went to go eat crabs.”

“Ah, that’s it. That’s the gay thing,” DeGeneres joked.

“It’s a gateway people. If you don’t want this life, don’t go eat crabs,” Nash said with a laugh.

Long before they were a couple, Betts actually shared this video with Nash all the way back in 2018 when Betts had a small role on Nash’s show Claws, and lovingly captioned the video, calling Nash a “woman of God…anointed and appointed.”

Shortly after the wedding, Nash told People that “[My marriage] has absolutely nothing to do with gender and it has everything to do with her soul. She is the most beautiful soul I have ever met in my life…I don’t feel like my marriage is my coming out of anywhere, but rather a going into myself and being honest about who I love. And I’m not limiting myself on what that love is supposed to look like.”

This new Ellen Show interview also just serves as a reminder that Niecy Nash has one of the most delightful personalities in Hollywood and should be on more shows and more screens all the time. What a legend.

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Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Donates His Childhood Home To Help LGBTQ Kids

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons just donated his $1 million childhood home to an LGBTQ+ organization

Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and his wife Aja Volkman just donated his childhood home in Las Vegas (valued at a million dollars) to a Utah-based advocacy group that supports LGBTQ+ youth, who will be using his home as a community center and all-around safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families and yes to more good news like this!

Reynolds donated his childhood home (which he bought from his parents) to Encircle, an LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group that offers safe spaces where young people can come and join friendship circles, sign up for therapy for themselves and their families, and join in on other fun community-center activities.

According to a statement by the group, “Encircle has served over 70,000 individuals and funded thousands of family and youth therapy sessions, providing a lifeline to those facing suicidality, isolation and depression, helping them build local community and forge a path forward.”

Reynolds’ home will join the group’s “$8 Million, 8 Houses” campaign, which will establish eight new Encircle youth homes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz basketball team, have also donated to the “8 Houses” campaign.

Why a house, you ask? Because Encircle’s motto is creating safe spaces, “that felt like home and carried one powerful message — no sides, only love.”

Encircle was started in Utah by members of the Mormon church, an institution not exactly known for being welcoming to queer individuals. Reynolds, who also identifies with the Mormon faith, said he was drawn to this organization, knowing that LGBTQ+ youth who come from the LDS church face an even greater uphill battle towards acceptance within their family and church community.

“I’ve watched, throughout my life, the difficult path that LGBTQ youth have, especially coming from homes of faith,” the Imagine Dragons frontman told Good Morning America. “With my mom and dad’s blessing, I was able to purchase the house from them — it’s going to be the first Encircle home in Las Vegas, that’s powerful for me.”

Though he identifies as “heterosexual,” Reynolds says he feels compelled to use his privilege, his wealth, and his rockstar status to advocate for the queer community, especially in light of his Mormon upbringing and how he watched his friends struggle to lead their authentic lives within the faith. Citing the record number of suicides in Utah that many believe are a result of LGBTQ+ youth who don’t feel safe being out in the Mormon community, Reynolds wrote an op-ed about his commitment to ally-ship in Rolling Stone in 2018.

“To our LGBTQ youth, especially those who are within the walls of an orthodox faith, I love you and accept you. I will fight to be a true ally for you…” Reynolds wrote. “If the leaders won’t change the doctrine, then I will fight to change the culture. We as Mormons, or people of faith, cannot stand by for one more day and support these harmful teachings that are literally killing our youth. That is not Godly. That is not love.”

Here’s to more good news like this in 2021!

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Anderson Cooper Reveals He And His Ex Still Live Together While Co-Parenting Son

Anderson Cooper and ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani still live together while raising son Wyatt Cooper

Anderson Cooper announced last May that he had become a dad, welcoming his adorable son Wyatt Cooper. Shortly after his son’s birth, Cooper said that he and his ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani would actually raise Wyatt together as co-parents and now Cooper just released that the two exes actually still live together.

“We actually still live in the same house, because we get along really well and…yeah, it’s weird but it works out,” Cooper told Ellen DeGeneres during a February 11, 2021 interview.

Interestingly, Cooper said that Maisani’s reluctance to have kids probably contributed to their breakup, but Cooper now says “[Maisani] came around to the idea. Now he is such a great parent.”

“We went to take Wyatt to get some vaccinations, you know, the regular course that kids get..[and] I turned around when Wyatt got his first shot, and Benjamin is weeping! He’s become this, like, big softie. It’s really sweet to see,” Cooper told DeGeneres.

Cooper and Maisani broke up in 2018 after dating for many years and now that they’re living together and raising Wyatt (and considering Maisani’s apparent change of heart over having kids), DeGeneres asked if they would ever get back together, which Cooper said with absolutely certainty, “No, that’s not gonna happen.” DeGeneres joked that at the very least, it’s a great sitcom premise waiting to happen.

Cooper told Howard Stern in May 2020 that he and Maisani were co-parenting Wyatt together. “I don’t really have a family,” Cooper stated. “So my friends become my family. And this is somebody that I was involved with for 10 years. He’s a great guy.”

“We didn’t work out as a couple…but when I was a little kid, it was just my mom and my brother. But it was my mom and she was not the most parental person. I wish some adult, after my dad died, had stepped in, and just been like, you know what? I’ll take you to a ball game, or let’s go out to lunch every now and then, and let’s just talk. No one ever did that,” Cooper told Stern.

“So I thought, if something happens to me or even if something doesn’t happen to me, if more people love my son and are in his life, I’m all for that,” he explained. “My ex is a great guy and it’s good to have two parents, if you can.”

Cooper says he plans to go by “dad” or “daddy” and Maisani, who is French, will be “papa” to Wyatt.

Wyatt is certainly one lucky little dude with two very cool dads.


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8-Year-Old Girl Expelled From Christian School For Having A ‘Girl Crush’

An 8-year-old girl was kicked out of her private Christian school for telling a female classmate she has a crush on her

An 8-year-old girl was kicked out of a private Christian elementary school in Owasso, Oklahoma, after she told another female student that she had a crush on her. Despite the fact that young boys historically love to taunt their female counterparts when they have school yard crushes on them — this young girl, and her siblings and family, were asked to leave the school because this second grade girl made it know to her pal that she had a crush on her.

Delanie Shelton told CNN that her 8-year-old daughter Chloe Shelton, a second grader at Rejoice Christian School was pulled into the Vice Principal’s office for **gasp** having a girl crush.

“Before I was even called, the vice principal told Chloe that the Bible says that women can only have children with a man,” Delanie told CNN. “[The vice principal] asked me how I feel about girls liking girls and I told her that I see no issue with it.”

“I said ‘If we’re being honest, I think it’s okay for girls to like girls’ and she looked shocked and appalled,” Shelton also told a local Fox affiliate and said she is raising her family to not judge and love whomever they want.

Chloe was expelled for several days until the school told Delanie that they are “ending their partnership” with Shelton’s family, which means Chloe’s younger brother was expelled too.

It’s not shocking that a Christian School is homophobic, but to expell a student and her brother because the girl had a crush!!?

“I was so blindsided. I was angry, hurt, betrayed, sad…so many different emotions. I just couldn’t believe it,” Chloe’s mom said. “I asked [the Principal] to have a sit down meeting to discuss it and process it better and he refused, saying that ‘nothing more needed to be discussed.'”

The school simply stated that the family’s “beliefs” didn’t align with the school’s and stated that if the Shelton family had read the school handbook they would see that the school forbids “any form of sexual immorality” including “professing to be homosexual/bisexual.”

Some asshats in the YouTube comments of a local news video have said that the parents should have read the school’s handbook before sending their kids to school there. Sure, but also…how about private Christian schools stop being so damn homophobic?

Now, poor Chloe is dealing with the fallout from the expulsion and has reportedly asked her mom if God still loves her. The only bright side is that young Chloe has reportedly received over 150 messages from people all over the U.S., saying how proud they are of her, and how much they — and God — love her.

“She’s feeling so loved and supported now because of so many amazing people that have reached out to us,” Delanie said. “She’s excited for a fresh start at a new school.”

Happy for Chloe to get the hell out of that school and into a new one that supports her.

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How ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Helped Me Come To Terms with My Sexuality — And Find Myself

“Schitt’s Creek” is something of a cultural phenomena, and for good reason. The six-season, Canadian comedy series is captivating, compelling, witty, funny, and chock full of talent. From the cast and crew to those in the writing room, the show is brilliantly developed, created, lit, and shot, and with lessons on love and loss to learning how to properly store wigs, “Schitt’s Creek” is motivational and educational. It is an inspiration. It’s also award-winning. In 2020, Schitt’s Creek” broke several Emmy records. But Daniel Levy’s character, David Rose, changed my life. Scratch that: David inspired me to live my best life. He also helped me come to terms with a label that I — a married mother of two in a heterosexual relationship — had been struggling to embrace.


I was, and am, queer.

Of course, I had no idea the effect the show would have on me when I first tuned in. Like many viewers, I went in blind, looking for a good quarantine cope. See also: I love Catherine O’ Hara and Eugene Levy and needed a solid laugh. But during episode 10 of season one, I found myself crying fat, ugly tears. The kind that cause your face to contort and leave you gasping for air. The reason? Daniel Levy’s character was talking about wine. (Yes, really.) And his words struck a chord with me. His conversation with Stevie — played by Emily Hampshire — about Chardonnay and cabernet left me feeling seen and heard. I finally felt understood. The reason? Because wine was a metaphor for David’s sexuality.

He famously admitted he loves the flavor, not the label.

For those unacquainted with the scene, let me paint a picture. David and his friend Stevie are shopping for party supplies when they are forced to make a tough decision: Do they bring red wine or white wine to the party? The new friends (who recently slept together) are trying to better understand what happened between them — are they just friends, or something more? — and Stevie is trying to understand David’s sexuality because, up until the moment of their tryst, she believed he was only attracted to men. 

“Just to be clear, I’m a red wine drinker,” Stevie tells David. “I only drink red wine. And up until last night, I was under the impression that you, too, only drank red wine. But I guess I was wrong?”

David, aware of the conversation’s subtext, assures her that he does drink red wine. “I do drink red wine. But I also drink white wine,” he says. “And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé. And a couple of summers back, I tried a merlot that used to be a Chardonnay, which got a bit complicated.”

I like the wine,” he adds. “Not the label.”

And that line hit me like a ton of bricks. I too had been struggling with my “label.” For years, I couldn’t figure out who I was or what I wanted. I never felt like I belonged, or that one sexual preference was the one for me. But when I saw that scene in the wine store, a light went off in my head — and my heart. It didn’t matter what I was. Not really. What mattered was that I was true to myself and happy.

What mattered was that I enjoyed both my life and “the wine.”

After watching “Schitt’s Creek,” I came out to my psychiatrist — and found a (new) therapist. I admitted I was struggling and needed help living an authentic and fulfilled life. I spoke with my husband, telling him I was queer. Gay. We began navigating this new place and state. Our new normal. I reached out to some of my LGBTQ friends: for help. For advice. For love, understanding, and support. And I contacted the New York City Pride Center.

I’m in the process of getting aid and assistance.

I am working to connect with a peer counselor, attend meetings, and gain additional support.

Ironically, I still live a (somewhat) closeted life. I mean, a few close friends and family members know my true identity. They know my tastes and wants. My true desires. But I struggle with confidence. My sexuality is still a source of anxiety. I am very, very afraid. But thanks to shows like “Schitt’s Creek” — to characters and people, like David Rose and Daniel Levy — I am embracing my true self one second, one minute, and one sip of Chardonnay at a time. 

If you or someone you know needs help coming out or simply need general LGBTQ support, call The Trevor Project hotline at 1-866-488-7386, connect with someone at the LGBT Foundation helpline, and/or find your local pride center

The post How ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Helped Me Come To Terms with My Sexuality — And Find Myself appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Making Friends As An LGBTQ Parent Is Not Easy, And COVID-19 Doesn’t Help

Friendships are hard to come by at any age, but especially right now. Some of my closest friends are the ones I have from college, a very small circle of people. The other group of friends I have are the ones I’ve acquired from various jobs over the years. Since becoming a parent, I’ve been very intentional about keeping a small friend circle — a group of people in my life who understand the intricacies of being a gay parent.

With COVID-19 promising to stick around for some time, maintaining my friendships is now accomplished mostly through text messages. And now, as we try to maintain some normalcy for our kids and help them keep up their friendships, I’m asking myself if it’s worth putting energy into trying to make new friends of my own, to befriend the parents of my kids’ friends. I don’t know, and I am far from figuring it out.

It’s exhausting to make new friends and even more time consuming to maintain said friendships. Parenthood can be a very lonely endeavor from conception. When my kids started daycare, I thought I’d perhaps make friends with the parents of their toddler friends as we crossed paths at drop-off or afternoon pick-up. For me, that never happened. There is a huge part of me that feels like I am putting undue pressure on myself to make new friends simply because of the isolation we’ve all been in — and then, there’s the fact that I am an introvert.

A simple internet search of “how to make friends with other parents” points to a helpful New York Times article that gives clear advice on how to make friends as a parent. The top three ways, according to this article, are: “start close to home,” “make the first conversational move,” and “find an online parenting group that’s right for you.” It reminds me of online dating, and how awkward it all feels at first until you find your groove or that person who you enjoy talking to. But COVID-19 makes that even more challenging.

Mom of one, Anrielle George, says she and her wife haven’t made any new parent friends since the pandemic began. “There is nowhere I feel safe enough to gather,” she told Scary Mommy. “Even at drop off or pick up at daycare, our daughter is taken at the exterior door and brought to us at the door. We have never seen inside the building, let alone the classroom. I think this plays a huge role; interaction with everyone is different and limited. Maybe gaydar isn’t as effective through masks?”

Perhaps Anrielle is onto something here; safety plays a role in how far we can push the possibility of making friends. Our “gaydar,” she reminded me, is less effective when we cannot see the entirety of someone’s face. Body language is interpreted differently, and we must find new ways to assess the intentions of strangers — the way that we, as gay people, keep ourselves safe and our kids safer by observing their behavior.

And then there’s step two — to initiate conversations and be the first to do so, which is hard enough in normal times. We must use our words (something we also teach our kids to do) to not only make friends, but to understand the kind of person we are dealing with. This can be nerve wracking for anyone, but it’s even more so if you’re gay; will they be a closed-minded bigot? Just as importantly, how will their kids react to yours? Add the pandemic into the mix, when social distancing is a necessity, and easing into a comfortable conversation is nearly impossible.

One of the pieces of advice in the New York Times article that stuck with me is to initiate conversations free of expectations. Melanie Dale, author of “Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends” and mom of three, states in the article, “If another mom tells you she can’t hang out, she may just be busy or maybe she was burned from her last friendship and she’s nervous.” In other words, we shouldn’t try to predetermine where a potential new friendship is going to lead, so we won’t be disappointed (or take it personally) if the conversation ends up going nowhere.

I don’t have time to invest in others when they do not have time to invest in me. As a gay parent, I have high expectations for the people I let into my life. But perhaps if COVID-19 is teaching me anything, it’s that I should expect nothing and be more flexible not only with my expectations, but how I make friends — if I make friends.

The post Making Friends As An LGBTQ Parent Is Not Easy, And COVID-19 Doesn’t Help appeared first on Scary Mommy.