Each week the Honey newsletter includes a column from women and LGBTQ folks in the South, in collaboration with See Jane Write. This month it’s all about bodies and how they’ve carried us and helped us tell our stories. We’re always looking for more stories from you. Click here to learn more about how to get published.
By Leslie Anne Frye-Thomas
I’m a writer, wife, and adoptive mom with an unapologetic passion for Black queer stories. I’m also a Florida resident, and as a mother of school-aged children, I couldn’t be more concerned about the state of our state. That’s why I’ve penned this open letter to my children, Imani, 10, and Legend, 4. So, kids, settle in for a little LGBTQ+ history lesson and trust me, you’re going to need it because, at the rate Florida is banning books, curriculum, and queers, you won’t be learning any of what I’m about to tell you in school.
Happy Mother’s Day, Imani and Legend!
I know well wishes typically go the other way around, but since the start, our family’s been anything but conventional. So this year, instead of fingerpaints, arts, and crafts, I’m honored to present you the gift of knowledge, for it not only breeds power, it’s the precursor to empathy. And ultimately, the fuel you’ll need to succeed in this wild ride we call life.
First off, thank you. Mommy and I are so grateful that God made us a family, especially during such historic times. From getting to know each other via Skype to our Zoom adoption, our path to full-on family was one mommy and I never imagined.
In fact, reality was way scarier. The universe gave us a global pandemic and Florida paired it with nursing home scandals, under-reported deaths, and a string of laws targeting our very existence. While there’s a lot to love about our life in South Florida – the biking, the beaching, the flip flops and tank tops— not everyone loves us back. I don’t mean to scare you, but bottom line, our rights are under attack.
At the present moment (spring of 2022), there are nearly 30 states that have introduced anti-LGBTQ+ bills. And closer to home, just this March, Florida’s Legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education Bill, better known as the Sunshine State’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” Bill— a blatant attempt to make LGBTQ+ families like ours appear as taboo members of society, unworthy of mainstream representation.
Here’s the Good News…
We’re family, no matter what. Now, granted our transition to Frye-Thomas, party of four has been about as smooth as a porcupine’s behind; my more experienced friends (and Google) swear looking at your kids and being at a complete loss is totally normal! And so, as we continue to give ourselves both the grace and time needed to uncover the intricacies of our young family, please know that mommy and I commit to pouring our very best into you. Forever.
So, this Mother’s Day, we promise to uplift and guide you the best we know how. To sow seeds of faith, perseverance, kindness, empathy, and creativity in hopes that you live each day authentically. Despite bullies and bad guys, opinions of man, or even laws of the land, Imani and Legend, be brave enough to make good choices, especially when you think no one’s looking. Lead with integrity. Blaze your own path.
And always be yourself.
Mom & Mommy
Leslie Anne Frye-Thomas is the author of the novel Pum Pum Rock and an Emmy-Award-winning writer, wife, and adoptive mom with an unapologetic passion for Black queer stories. She grew up in the South and lives with her family in Florida.