Meet the Co-founders Part 2: Erin Margolin

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Me & my dad, July 1981, New Orleans
www.gaydadproject.org

Hello everyone, Erin here, coming to you live from the Land of Oz. I wish I lived closer to my cohorts, Amie & Jared, but the good news is that all three of us will meet in person over Labor Day weekend in Oakland. If you missed our last post, it details what we’ll be doing.

Anyways, it was a dark and stormy night in 1991. Actually, it was morning. And it was only dark and stormy in the metaphorical sense.

I was 15 when my dad, ever the lawyer, paced before my brothers and me with a legal pad, making his opening statement in our living room. We were the innocents in the jury box.

“This is about honesty, integrity, respect and my love for all of you,” he began, somewhat formally. He went on speaking, but I only remember a few other things he said. After announcing that he was moving out, he cleared his throat and said, “Your mother and I are getting divorced because your father is a homosexual.” He couldn’t say “I,” he couldn’t own it, the secret he’d just spilled from his lips.

Story time with my dad, April 1979

We were all stunned and in shock, never having suspected a thing.

Soon after, I went to the now defunct Waldenbooks and asked a saleswoman for help finding a book about having a gay parent. After stifling her giggles, she led me to the children’s section and handed me a copy of Leslea Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies (which is for preschoolers, yo). I vowed then and there that someday I would do something to help other kids of gay parents. It’s been a long time coming even though I have blogged about it pretty freely over the last several years.

It doesn’t matter that I’m 35 now. Most days I still feel like that timid teenager in the bookstore. Talking with Jared and Amie has been incredible for me (as have years of therapy and various anti-depressants) and together we are going to change the world for the better. No one should have to go through what I did at that bookstore; unfortunately, there are still a lot of ignorant people out there.

We want this to be a safe space where others may share their stories and where anyone reading can reach out to one (or all) of us. I wish I’d had a community like this when I was younger. The coolest part about this project is that Jared, Amie and I have had such varied experiences with all of this, and I think it’s safe to say we’re at different places in our thoughts about it all because our families are so diverse.

We’d love to hear from you. Please know you’re not alone. We have our own stories, but underneath there’s a common bond–a gay parent.

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Comments

  1. I just feel so strongly that you are ALL changing the world for the better. That you were called to this, now as a group to make a difference. Because as you said no one should be the teenager in the bookstore being handed a children’s book. I honestly feel that even for the children who grow up with the gay parent being out their whole lives there should still be a resource for them. And you are all providing that. Bravo. Please let me know how I can help.

  2. Bill,

    Yes I do, and I am with you—I hope one day there will be no need to a blog like this or for anyone to have fear or apprehension about being gay. WIsh us luck on our documentary. Wish you lived closer so we could meet in person! Thanks so much for stopping by and we appreciate your support and any help spreading the word.

  3. By Word/ Nichole,

    Thank you dear one. You are a treasure. I am ready for this. I hope they will come in droves. xoxo

  4. wcdameron says:

    Erin, You already know how closely our stories are related, I just happen to be the parent in this case. This will be such a wonderful resource for children attempting to understand and relate. I say this with so much respect for what you are doing, hopefully one day in the future, this will be a non issue and parents will never have to come out, because they will have always been out.

  5. You, so very proud of you and this project of yours. You will reach so many hearts and speak to their souls. A blessing indeed xxxx

  6. Gigi,

    Thank you for visiting and reading…and for the well wishes and hugs. I also appreciate being able to share my (other) story at your place today. xoxo

  7. Thanks, Amie!!! I am on Cloud 9 for my trip to Oakland to meet you & Jared. This is getting me all fired up—ready for action!

  8. Tara,

    Your comment, your heart, have moved me so much. Thank you for reading this and for your support. xoxo back to you!

  9. Deborah,

    Thanks so much for sharing your brother’s story–I’m heading over to read it shortly. I hope your nephew never encounters any unpleasantness as a result of his parents/upbringing/non-traditional family. I appreciate your stopping by and telling us about this!

  10. Jackie,

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You are a doll!

  11. deborah quinn: what a wonderful story about your brother and his son/your nephew. we’re here if he needs us but it sounds like things are great – which is nice to hear. :)

    To everyone else: the support is overwhelming. it’s so wonderful to see all the encouragement and i’m so excited for the road ahead!

  12. Bravo to you, Jared and Amie. This is such an important effort, filling a void that I’m sure so many children step into when their ears hear the words that you did when you were fifteen. I wish you guys all the best with this endeavor. ((hugs))

  13. Thanks, Alison! I hope we can get the word out so that we can be of help to anyone out there…. sometimes? It /we feel very small…

  14. Sheeps Eating Me / M,

    Thank you so much for coming by…I am sorry again for the way I acted the night we met…there’s just been a lot going on. And I’m guilty of joking around about gay stuff, which needs to stop.

  15. GDRPempress,

    That is in my dream world, too. And still a dream that I can do this up on a stage as well….sigh. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for commenting and sharing this. xoxo

  16. Erin, your post was awesome! This project is awesome! The love and support from everyone who has read, commented, and begun the interaction is awesome! I’m very happy to be part of this project! And, like many people have said above, I too believe that we are gonna do big and wonderful things with the work we’re doing. So glad we’re doing this. It is needed!

  17. I’m not gay but my brother is and many years ago, he made a donation to a sperm bank that resulted in a child with whom he eventually made contact and then, last summer, legally adopted. My nephew still lives with his (single) mom in one state, but my brother visits all the time, and we consider this boy to be a wonderful addition to our family. The boy is, however, growing up in one of those red red RED states, and now he’s a teen-ager. I don’t know if he’s ever caught any grief from his serious double-whammy of a non-traditional parent, but websites like yours provide a fabulous resource for him, should he have questions, problems, or just want to hear other people’s stories. My brother’s story: http://mannahattamamma.com/2011/08/whose-family-values-are-they-anyway-happy-adoption-day/

  18. Pete, you have responsibility but I feel like we, as a society bear so much responsibility, too. Every anti-gay joke, slur, comment, fable made you stay in the closet. If we lived in a more accepting world, you wouldn’t have had to do things that were deceptive that ended up hurting the people you loved.

    Here’s to a world where people can be who they are and express their sexuality in a way that is open and honest and where that is okay.

  19. Ally,

    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Your feedback made me smile! A part of me can’t believe that here in 2012 there still exists such bigotry and lack of understanding and respect for differences. Sigh. Maybe I’m naive to think we can change things…but I’ll die trying!

  20. Angela,
    You are such a wonderful friend. Thank you for the extra hug—I can always use one! I love how you put it in your 2nd line: “make sense of a new normal…” Your support is greatly appreciated! (p.s. I’m off to make strawberry lemonade popsicles!)

  21. Aw Erin, you know what I love? That young girl that you describe – she’s found her place, found her outlet, found her way to reach others and help. I’m so happy you’ve all found each other and this project. I’m so proud of you, Erin.

    You are right, no person should ever have to go through what you did in that bookstore. And no person should have to live a false life because the world won’t accept who they really are. I truly hope this project brings peace not only to you all, but to others going through what you’ve been through.

  22. i love reading through all the kind words of support, love, and encouragement. this is great, erin your post is great, and i’m so happy that we are all doing this. :)

  23. In my dream world, you are reading this as a hand written notecard, while holding an armful of two dozen red roses that I’ve sent you.

    My sincere words in this little black box will have to do.

    I hope you hear the strength in my voice as I tell you, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU ERIN MARGOLIN.

  24. Thanks, Erin. I’m glad to read this and understand a little more of what it’s like. I can’t imagine dealing with my parents divorcing and my dad coming out all at once. How overwhelming. So happy you all are doing this.

  25. So proud of you for doing this. You will help so many who need the support, knowledge and just hands to hold.

  26. this here? this call to active love. to active understanding. to active asking of support. this is how we will change this world for the future generations. We may not see all of the hate erased in our life time, but through projects like this – by being open and truthful and willing to work towards love even when that means work through hurt – will lead us closer to the world we want our children to live in. big squeezes. ultimate support. unswerving love and respect to you all. xo

  27. I love seeing this! I love that you’re going to reach out and help those who need it. I love that you’ll be here to support anyone who needs it.
    I wish you all the luck in the world and I’ll be here to support you guys!

  28. I am so proud of you (all of you, of course, but you as my friend get an extra hug). You are going to truly help so many people struggling to make sense of a new normal for their lives. xo

  29. Julie,

    No no no. That’s not how it goes. You are MY hero. Being brave isn’t always easy and I certainly don’t FEEL brave. But I’m putting on my game face. xoxox

  30. Have I told you lately that you’re my hero?

    Strong and brave (even when you’re feeling the opposite), you open your heart to everyone with your words.

    You welcome the world and tell people they matter.
    No matter what.

    It’s a gift. You’re a gift.

  31. Pete,

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I’m looking forward to meeting you, and especially for you to meet my dad and his partner. I hope we’ll have some interesting conversations and get to know one another well over the Labor Day weekend. P.S. Your daughter is amazing!

  32. Elaine,

    Thank you, dear one. I appreciate your compliments, especially since they are coming from YOU, someone who really knows me. Thanks for spreading the word. Love you!

  33. Dberonilla,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and leave us some feedback. I hope you’re right. We appreciate your support more thank you know!

  34. Vicky,
    Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing the post on Twitter! We need your support and we appreciate it more than you know. HUGS!

  35. Lance,

    Hush. Your congratulations brings tears to my eyes.

    I, too, am appalled by the bigotry that still exists. I also want people to realize that while we support our dads, we need support too. There are so many kids out there who have never had a community that felt safe and welcoming. We want them to know they’re not alone and that that they deserve love and kindness and respect. Some kids have to keep it a secret. Some are bullied because of it. It’s a shame.

  36. Lindsay,

    Thank you, sweet friend. That means a lot to all three of us! ;-)

  37. It gives me chills to read this because I KNOW how many people you are going to help and make feel better with this. And that is because you are SUCH an amazing person and friend, Erin. Much luck and love to you and your partners as you begin this amazing journey!!! xoxoxoxo

  38. dberonilla says:

    Erin, I think that you are so brave for sharing your story here to help others.
    The three of you WILL make a difference. I can feel it.

    You are awesome.

  39. Vicky Kulikov says:

    You three are going to make a difference, Erin ! Happy for all of you

  40. Erin,

    I’m reading this with tears in my eyes–again. I’m Amie’s dad. For so many years I felt that the struggle, pain, and fear were just mine as tried to live two lives, hiding one and pretending to live another. I am just starting to realize how much my life has affected the lives of so many others, and the overwhelming feeling is that I have hurt them and damaged their lives. I’m sorry for the pain that you, Amie, Jared, and so many other children have endured because of your dads’ lives.

    I hope that by sharing our stories here we can resolve some of that pain and find what is positive and good about being who we are. I hope that we can be proud of who we are and be proud that we have reached this point, where we can talk about our experiences openly. I hope this will make the future a better place for all of us.

    I am looking forward to meeting with all of you in Oakland in a couple weeks.

    Pete

  41. Proud of you guys and the work you’re doing.

  42. Wow

    I know it’s maudlin to congratulate someone on an honest blog post, but congratulations.

    I’m still struck by the fear and loathing so many people our age seem to have for homosexuals especially if they’re related to them. I’m so happy you’ve supported your father. This project reflects the love you have for him. Thanks for doing this.

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