Guest Post: Without my two moms, I would not be the man I am today

Editors' Note: This post was written by Dan Pologe, a student at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Dan grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was raised by his two mothers, Wendy Pologe and Mary Thoreson. Wendy and Mary shared their story and photograph with Shall Not Be Recognized, a photo portfolio and exhibit by Will Fellows and Jeff Pearcy from Fall 2007 focusing on why marriage matters in Wisconsin. Freedom to Marry revisited the exhibit and checked in with the couples earlier this year. Here, Wendy and Mary share an essay their son Dan wrote about growing up with two mothers. 

As a child, it never occurred to me that my family was different.

Like a lot of kids, I grew up with two parents, who were devoted to my every move and always wanted the best for me in life. It just happened that instead of having a mom and a dad I had two moms. My mothers are the two strongest women I have ever met. Without the support of their families they persevered as parents making sure to raise me with morals of justice and equality. I admire them for their resilience, courage and ability to combat adversity. To me they are revolutionary, making the decision to start a family in an era where society does not recognize their relationship, a problem that persists to this day.

The question I’m most often asked when I share my story is simply what do I call my moms: Mary and Wendy or mom and mommy. How did my family differ from other families? I learned from an early age the importance of putting the toilet seat down. Oh, and Mother’s Day is just as significant a holiday as Thanksgiving or the 4th of July. Most importantly my mothers raised me under the guiding principles of non-violence, honesty, and respect for humankind. These values are not based on color, creed, or socio economic status; rather, it came from the concept that as human beings we are equals and the choices we make in life define who we are as people.

Having two moms wasn’t always easy. Things were especially difficult in elementary and middle school. There were times I wished I didn’t have two moms. But the reason I had these thoughts wasn’t because of my moms - it was because of how other people reacted to my moms. There is no inherent problem with having same-sex parents. It’s about whether or not you are accepted or rejected by your community.

I dealt with homophobia like others deal with racism or sexism. Indeed, my mothers’ love gave me hope and also the determination to understand that who I am is defined by the choices I make, not the genders of my parents. The path I have followed and love I garnered from my parents is what matters, not the sexual orientation of my biological parents.

I was able to overcome all this adversity by taking the love and acceptance that my parents instilled in me and sharing those values with others. For me, having two mothers makes it easier to not be biased, or to realize when I am and how to change that. Issues of race and class became my points of passion. I sought to empower and educate my peers, working for collective change. I wanted to level the playing field and make sure those who fight a similar uphill battle were not alone. 

Yes, it is true my upbringing might be different from the "norm," but the love I received and strong values that have helped to define who I am today was not. Here is a reminder of the power that I have, the power we all have is evident in our ability to shape the narrative that describes the human condition of love. My moms have told me that they see our generation as the hope of the future, and attending a liberal institution such as Clark has reaffirmed this notion.

Together, we can challenge convention and conquer any obstacle- no matter how difficult it may be. The fight for equality is my fight and your fight is just as important. Together we can make strides for a better future and be a part at changing the course of history.

I owe everything to the love and support of my two moms. Without them I would not be the man I am today.

This article was originally published by the Clark University Office of Intercultural Affairs. Reprinted with permission by Wendy Pologe and Mary Thoreson. 

Read more stories from Wisconsin couples and the Shall Not Be Recognized exhibit HERE. And learn more about Shall Not Be Recognized HERE.