Next Families are the New Normal

Alexandra Temblador

the new normal

By Alex Temblador

Despite the gains being made in the past year with the marriage equality decision that has allowed for more same-sex couples to adopt and become foster parents, there is still a struggle that exists for many same-sex couples with kids: being considered “normal.” The Next Family was created in mind to redefine the definition of family and to show that the “traditional” family, of a straight white couple with two kids, is no longer applicable. There are now more “next families” in the world and they are the new normal.

The YouTube channel, NaturallyNette, features a two-mom family, Nette and Jazz, and their baby son, Lane, who live in Louisiana. After fostering Lane for 10 months they adopted him and created their own beautiful family. They recently released a wonderful video called “Our Normal Gay Life,” where they discuss what makes them normal.

At the beginning of the video, Nette explained that they decided to make the video after many people began asking about their lives. “They just want to know if we’re normal. I don’t know why they think that our gay lives is just not normal,” says Nette.

Nette said that Jazz thinks it’s because they are “weird” or what others would consider “weird.”

Jazz said, “We’re weird because we still don’t have any typical female-male [roles] in our family.”

Nette goes on to explain what she finds weird—People’s reaction to them as a family:
“I think it’s just kind of funny how people think that because we are a same-sex couple that we don’t go through the same struggles or the same ups and downs that straight couples go through.”

People ask Nette: “Do y’all fight? Yeah. I’m mad at her now.” Nette gives Jazz a knowing-look.

They then went onto explain how they are normal.

Nette said, “We’re so normal! We have our child and we have our niece, Marlee. We do regular family stuff. I don’t know if people think that we are not normal because we are not what society says is normal.

“We are the new all-American family. I know the all-American family has always been a man, a woman. A little boy, a little girl. We are the new all-American family. We are the normal family. Normal American family. We have a house, we have careers, we have degrees, we have a car—a couple—cars. We have a backyard, we have a fence. We don’t have a picket fence, but we got a privacy fence. We eat dinner together. We do everything together.

We tag team like a normal couple. She sometimes cooks breakfast. I sometimes cook dinner. I usually cook everything to be honest.”

At one point, Jazz interrupted Nette to point out that Lane is chewing on string. “I’m not sure it’s safe for him to be chewing on this string. “

“See we mess up as parents, too!” Nette exclaimed.

Jazz and Nette explained that even though they are a normal family, they have to deal with things that straight couples do not face.

Nette said, “I think Jazz and I spend most of our time together because we have a couple of issues being a same-sex couple. We have some struggles…that I think lots of straight heterosexual couples don’t encounter. One being that we don’t have lots of friends. Lots of straight friends.”

Jazz added, “We’re too gay for straight people and too straight for gay people.

“No. It’s we’re too gay for straight people and not gay enough for gay people,” replied Nette.

Nette continued, “We all want friends. We all want that support. We hang out every once in a while with straight couples but it’s not the same.”

“Our other struggle would be would be a church home. We don’t have a church home which sucks because now we have a baby, and we want him to grow up in church and have a relationship with God. However, it’s very hard to attend a church where you feel like you’re being condemned every time you walk in. Or you feel like you can’t advance in your—

“Faith,” Jazz said.

Nette explained why it’s hard to find a church home, “It’s because we live in a small conservative community. We’re just different. Different in their eyes as far as what normal is. We can’t go to the couple’s ministry because in their eyes, we’re not a couple. “

Jazz said, “It’s a true struggle. But we’re going to church tomorrow.”

“We are?” asked Nette. Jazz smiled.

Despite these struggles, Nette said, “It doesn’t stop our lives. We keep on moving.”

At the end of the video the couple shares home footage: a 3rd anniversary trip to Miami, getting Lane ready for his new class, Lane laughing and playing on a mat in the kitchen, their niece, Marlee, talking about making popsicles and eating crawfish for dinner (she’s the most polite little girl ever), disciplining Marlee, Lane’s first birthday, Lane eating, and more.

With the home footage, Jazz and Nette sought to show viewers that their home footage is no different from any family’s home videos. Every family has videos of their children laughing and playing or videos of their kid’s first birthday. Every family has anniversary trip videos or videos of the family at the dinner table. Every family has these same home videos which only goes to show that families with gay parents are normal. They are just one of many types of families that make up the beautifully diverse all-American family.

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