Monday, February 2, 2009

Family Bowling

Last week, kid, partner, and I joined a bunch of other gay parents and their kids for a bowling outing in North Raleigh.

We had about 23 people attend. I organized the event through the Triangle Families Yahoo group and the Gay Dads subgroup.

It was mostly gay dads and their children, but there were a couple of lesbians (sans partners) and their kids.

The kids all got to bowl on one lane with bumpers, while the adults split into groups and took two lanes. Eventually we split the kids into two groups, too.

Children in general are agents of chaos, but when you add in the noise and activity of bowling, you get a sense of what true madness is. Still and all, it was a fun time, and despite the occasional hurling of a ball across lanes or climbing on top of the electronic scoring podium, everyone survived unharmed.

Three things of note:

  • I was referred to when I was setting up the meeting, and I discovered that there are several gay groups in the Triangle area that are listed there. I posted this bowling event to the Raleigh/Cary Gay Parents Meetup group and got several new folks to respond.
  • At least half of the people who came were totally new-to-me, and three sets of new folks were gay dad couples with kids. All three of the couples had had children through previous marriages (to women!), but had then come out and were now in a gay relationship and time-sharing the kids with their previous spouses. "How novel," I thought, "these nouveau gays having kids the old-fashioned way!"
  • When I called the bowling alley, Buffalo Lanes North, near Triangle Town Center, I asked about space for a group of gay parents and their kids. The two people I spoke with, one young women and one guy, were helpful and friendly. They were completely blase about the fact that we were gay parents with kids. Similarly, the folks I dealt with in person at the bowling alley were also the picture of respect and helpfulness. No one blinked an eye at gay families being out and having fun.

In addition to bowling, there was also much talking and soclializing (including comments on bowling's fashionable footwear), as well as mass consumption of soda, fries, and pizza, and lots of video game and air hockey playing.

As a kid, I never would've imagined there being an outing like this. It was one small meeting for a group of gay parents, but it was indicative of a great leap forward for all family (and "family") kind.

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