Couple Erik and Douglas Alexander admit it's hard to be gay parents living in a southern state. They are doing their best, however, to shatter the stigma on same-sex parenting and raise adopted daughter Allie Mae positively despite people judging their lives.
The Alexanders live in Louisiana, in a town a few miles off New Orleans. The few minutes' drive to their house from a liberal city like NOLA, however, draws a stark difference from where they live.
People in their hometown glare when they see Erik and Douglas around malls or the movies. They are the town's lone gay couple and people judge them for being different, as per New Now Next.
It does not matter to the townsfolks that the Alexanders are legally married since 2015, as per Babble. Among the challenge of being same-sex parents is in finding a daycare center for Allie Mae because most sites operate with the backing of the Catholic church.
"Catholic churches will not accept a gay family into their daycare," Erik said. "So, that was a bit frightening."
Erik, who grew up the southern state of Mississippi, experienced judgment and bullying as a child because of his sexual orientation. Thus, he went through difficult years in overcoming his insecurities. That insecurity, however, returned when he became a same-sex parent with Douglas.
The dad, however, said he has to face the challenges of being a gay parent headstrong for his daughter. "The last thing I would want to do is allow her to realize the pain that I am feeling because of society around us," he said.
Now, whenever he loses confidence or when he senses people's stares and judgments, he hangs on to Douglas' words. "Let it be a teaching experience for them. Don't read into their stares," his husband usually reminds him.
The Alexanders run an Instagram and blog on what it's like to be same-sex parents in the south. Check out NolaPapa for their life stories, parenting insights and homemaking tips.