Gay pride is the positive stance against the discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights. LGBT Pride Month is celebrated in the month of June to honor the Stonewall riots in Manhattan that resulted from a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969.
Growing up as a Baby Boomer, I did not know any gay families and did not have any gay friends or relatives (that I knew of) until college. I am now fortunate to have many gay friends, many of whom have children. Times have certainly changed in the past 30 years as more gay couples are having kids, and LGBTQ rights have been established, even legalizing same-sex marriage in June of 2015.
In May, I flew to Texas to celebrate the 18th birthday and the high school graduation of both Madison and Allison Hohenstein – beautiful twin girls raised by two moms. Madie and Allie, as they are affectionately known, were born in May of 1999, with one mom delivering and the other looking on – and yes, filming parts of it! The girls grew up outside of Dallas in Collin County supported by their two moms, godmothers, loving relatives and many caring friends, neighbors and teachers.
In honor of Pride Month, I talked to Madie and Allie about what it was like to be raised by two moms. Both told me that growing up with two moms has been an awesome experience, and as kids they never realized they were being raised differently. It wasn’t until middle school that people started asking questions about their dad. Allie admits at first she’d say, ‘”Oh they’re not together any more or something else just to shut down the question.” But eventually her two closest friends learned about her home life and those two girls remained her best friends throughout high school.
As Allie and Madie became their own people, they were more open about their two moms and met a lot of other students who came from blended families. Madie says, “As I got older and people understood, nobody viewed me or treated me differently. Many people were curious about my parents and asked questions, but they never judged me.” Allie feels she could be more open about it because it felt as if her generation became more open-minded about it. Although she has never had a friend who has treated her differently, she chooses to only tell friends that she hangs out with outside of school.
Being a retired teacher, I had to ask about their teachers. Madie says, “My teachers were very accepting and treated me equally.” Allie admits, “My teachers never knew, but I think my tennis coaches figured it out when I had a huge line of females lined up at my matches.” (Her mothers, her two godmothers and many family friends often attended her tennis matches and tournaments.)
Both sisters feel blessed to have such beautiful lives. They have been fortunate to have traveled to different places throughout the U.S.A., but their fondest memories are of going to the ocean every summer. One of their aunts has a house in Bethany Beach and they think of it as their home away from home. Allie says she loves “walking the boardwalk, Thrashers fries with vinegar, frozen custard, crabs and of course, Grotto Pizza.” Madie reminisces about “being with the whole family and learning to boogie board.” She adds, “When we are all together, it’s nothing but laughter.” I have to add that I still laugh hysterically every time I think about parasailing and jet skiing with the girls last summer in Ocean City.
Madie and Allie appreciate how supportive their moms have been – always encouraging them in their current pursuits and in their dreams for the future. Allie played tennis throughout high school and is now into CrossFit. This fall she has her heart set on taking prerequisite courses for nursing at Collin County Community College in McKinney, TX and then plans to transfer to Texas A&M University or Texas Woman’s University to finish. She then aspires to continue her education to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or a nurse practitioner (NP).
Madie reiterates, “Both of my mothers have let me follow my own passions no matter what. They always support me and my decisions.” Madie has long pursued a career in modeling. She competed in the Miss Teen Dallas pageant the past two years and this year won Best in Evening Gown. She recently signed with The Campbell Agency in Dallas and will model for them for the next three years. While fulfilling her contractual obligations, she plans to work on a degree in business or marketing with an emphasis on fashion.
Both Madie and Allie cherish their life with two moms and would not change a thing about the way they were raised. Madie believes, “People overthink this topic way too much. Love is love and it doesn’t matter the race or gender. Be proud of the person you love, and don’t let anything hold you back from that.” Allie adds, “I love my two mothers.”