On April 26, Zach Wahl’s new book “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family” hits bookstores. With a written introduction by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, the story gives Wahl’s personal account of being raised by his two lesbian moms, Jackie Reger and Terry Wahls.
Zach Wahls is no stranger to the public. For the past year, Wahls has attracted national attention, most notably for his poignant speech to Iowa lawmakers in Jan. 2011. The 19-year-old Wahls, in an effort to discourage Iowa from banning gay marriage, praised the parenting efforts of his two mothers. Eloquent and straight from the heart, Wahls touched the hearts of many Americans that day with his words. Through the help of YouTube, his video reached over 18 million viewers.
Not one to sit on his laurels, Wahls has immersed himself in advocacy for LGBT parenting. Just this past month, Wahls was named as co-leader for “The Outspoken Generation,” a responsibility he shares with Ella Robinson, daughter of gay bishop Gene Robinson. Formed by The Family Equality Council “The Outspoken Generation” is an organization that gives children of gay parents a space to express themselves and participate in advocacy work through conferences, workshops, media events, speaking engagements, and legislation.
The Impact of “My Two Moms”
“My Two Moms,” a book Wahls is dedicating to his younger sister, Zebby, is one of the few real-life stories written by a child of gay parents.
Yes, fictional stories such as Jodi Picoult’s “Sing You Home” have opened the eyes to LGBT parenting and gay marriage. The book focuses on two gay women, Vanessa and Zoe, who marry and want to raise a baby together through a frozen embryo fathered by Zoe’s ex-husband.
The movie industry also raised LGBT consciousness when “The Kids are All Right” hit theaters in 2010. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore played two gay spouses raising two teenagers, created through artificial insemination.
Both works are great portrayals of LGBT families. Yet, hearing the personal story from the son of gay parents is powerful and goes a long way to promote positive change. Some people may realize that LGBT families are just as normal and healthy as families headed by heterosexual parents.
Gay parents and their children who read Zach’s personal journey will probably identify with him, his experiences similar to their own. It is human nature to want to feel a sense of belonging, acceptance, and to be understood.
Last night, Wahls discussed his book on “The David Letterman Show.” When the talk-show host asked Wahls why people cannot understand gay families or same-sex marriage, Wahls responded, “I think on a very fundamental level, we still have this homophobia. And I don’t mean that in a hateful way, but in a fearful way. I think if you look at it, a lot of people try to imagine their own childhood growing up without a mom or a dad. But in fact, it’s the best line that the other side uses: Do we really want to live in a world where kids don’t have the right to a mother or a father? It (that question) forces you to look back on your own childhood and take an eraser to that and try to re-imagine your life without a mom or a dad. It’s hard.”
Wahls will fight hard for LGBT parenting when he meets with Capitol Hill lawmakers on May 17-19. Also look for him as a panel speaker during “Family Week in Provincetown” from July 28 - Aug.4.
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