[Micah]: All the thoughts and opinions of the performers and creators are theirs and theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the queer or the queerspawn community.
[song: "Harry goes to War" by Decoration Day]
[Micah]: Hello and welcome to the show. I’m your humble host Micah Champagne. I’m so glad you could join me today. This is going to be a follow up show to the short story I wrote a couple years ago for the queerspawn anthology called Spawning Generations. The piece was called “My Life is a Play” and it’s on page 42. This show is going to be a little different in both style and format, from the first piece. But don’t let that deter you. Today we are going to have an interview with my brother, a deep examination on the queerspawn experience with some wonderful music. But before we get to all of that. Let’s do a recap.
I was born in 1993 to two women, named Jan and Lois. I was conceived through artificial insemination by an anonymous sperm donor. I add this detail mostly for the queer parents in the audience. Shortly after I was born, my family was in a very bad car accident in which my mother Lois was killed. I was a baby at the time of the accident, so I have no memories of it or of Lois. My first memories are that of my mother and me living in a small women’s co-op in Toronto.
When I was 6 1/2 years old a young boy moved into our co-op. I crashed his 7th birthday party with one of the other boy’s from our neighbourhood. The new boy’s name was Josh. And after forming a very quick and strong friendship, our mom’s met, and within a year we were living together in one apartment.
A couple years later, in 2001, our mothers Marium and Jan got married in a small garden of a friend. But by that time, me and Josh were already calling each other brothers for a while. Around that time, I also met Josh’s father Jeff, who was Marium’s ex-husband. After several meetings with Jeff, he welcomed me into his family and into his home. And me and Josh would often spend every second weekend of our childhood at our father’s house. I love my family and I would have it no other way. And this is my family and this is the story I told. I wanted to tell my family story and my story in Part One, because I wanted to showcase what families could look like. And that they are valid and completely like any other family. But it is also the story that I am most familiar with telling. It is the easiest one for me to convey. And I think with this piece, I wanted to tell a little bit of a deeper side to having queer parents into the story itself. I think everyone has a version of themselves that they present to the world. The ones that we practice through retellings, till it’s perfect. And when you come from a nontypical family like my own, I think that there is this pressure to prove that your family works. That it is the perfect version of what a family could be and that you turned out alright because your parents were good parents.
I’ve found that I’ve become… And I’m pushed into the role of the spokesperson for a ll queer families in any conversation. And if I take one wrong step, I feel like I delegitimize queer families in the eyes of the world. And that pressure follows me in most social situations. And it’s always like in small moments. Like when a friend of a friend at a party says, “Oh, you have, like, two moms? Like, they’re your real parents? That’s weird.” And you have to take a step back and not act in frustration, because in that moment you are now representing all queer families. So you always have to answer with grace, to justify your own existance in your family’s existance, and that queer families work. But I didn’t get to choose my family any more than anybody else did. I didn’t wake up one morning, like, “Oooo… A family sampler. How delightful! Oh, this one seems fun. Oh, it comes with a side of homophobia? Fantastic! If I get one for the table, will everyone share?”
I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love my family. I just didn’t choose it. Nobody did. Nobody got to choose their parents, or the circumstances in which they were born. And especially as a child, those things are so far outside of your control. You’re inherent with circumstances. And when you are from a queer family, you inherit homophobia, and the misunderstanding, and the fear. For example, we don’t really talk to my mom Jan’s family. I haven’t seen them since my grandmother died when I was about eight. They made their choice a really long time ago, before I was born. And that carries to this day. We inherit a lot from our family: small habits, humour, preferences for 30 year old sci-fi… And we as queerspawn inherit homophobia. We inherit ignorance. We just don’t necessarily inherit the community. However we inherit the pressure to represent the community.
When we are kids, I think, we are showcased as a product of queer families. That queer families can do anything, as much as a heterosexual family. But when we grow up, there’s not room in the queer spaces for us as adults. And so often, there is a disconnect, or a lack of representation for queerspawn. It’s hard to feel seen in any community, whether it’s the heterosexual community or the queer community. This is just my experience. Each of my three parents and army of grandparents that raised me are some of the most incredible people that I’ve ever met. They’re loving and supportive. But just as my family is a little bit more complicated than most, so are some of the things that we have to navigate.
Thank you for sticking through that rant. We are going to head into our first song break. Stick around, because afterwards we are going to have my esteemed guest, Joshua Zachariah my very own brother, to continue the conversation. All this and more. Here’s Sea Beau with “Human” off the album Ventures, courtesy of Cassius Sounds.
[song: “Human” by Sea Blue]
[Micah]: Well… Hello and welcome! Welcome to the studio, my brother Joshua Zachariah.
[Joshua]: Great to be here. It’s incredible. Thank you for having me.
[Micah]: Yeah, my tiny living room studio. Um… Yeah, I just wanted to start I guess like… At the beginning of this, I did a little bit of a recap of the first project. And, I wanted to start kind of generally at the beginning because I don’t think we’ve talked about it too much but… Like, I don’t think we grew up with the term queerspawn being like a big thing.
[Joshua]: I feel like they got invented by, kind of, our cohort.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah, by our generation of… Yeah. So what’s your opinion on that? Like, do you think that you fit in that umbrella?
[Joshua]: Well… I think growing up I always felt like I didn’t have the same claim on it as other queerspawn did.
[Joshua]: Because… You know like… I think two things. One, having been born to a heterosexual, or couple who at least thought that they were heterosexual at the time.
[Joshua]: And, you know, having both of those parents stay in my life. And then other, which I think… We might talk about this later as well, but, my mother being bi and that whole relationship that I think the whole LGBTQ community has… Different parts of it have had, with being bi, not being as kind of legitimate of a thing.
[Joshua]: So, I think um… Yeah, I felt like, in comparison to a lot of the queerspawn… I didn’t grow up as much in that community I feel like, as much as you did.
[Joshua]: I didn’t have the same connections to that wold, because my mom wasn’t as much of a part of that as say Jan was. But I think… And we’ve talked about this. But that, I think a lot of my feeling that I belonged in that world more legitimately. Because more around like… You know, you get bullied for something. I feel like.
[Joshua]: You know, it gets to a point of awkward…
[Micah]: Yeah. Certainly, yeah… I think that like… I remember the shift because, yeah… Like, I grew up always knowing that my mom was gay. But I remember that there was a shift because my mom was a single mom till like, oh, she finally has a partner. And like, I think people latched onto that and there definitely was a shift to like how much bullying was levied.
[Joshua]: Kind of also… Like, the word spawn I think was a piece of it for me too.
[Joshua]: I wasn’t spawned by queer.
[Micah]: Right. Yeah. Yeah. If you want… I mean… It’s weird because like you were saying, that bi identity is so already contested… But I think that you have a claim to it as much as the rest of us. Right, like…?
[Joshua]: I think so too, but I think that I have an interesting relationship with…
[Joshua]: Yeah. You know… I think you and I both have a number of identities.
[Joshua]: Like, do we get to claim being Jewish for example? Right?
[Joshua]: Another one that’s contentious at best, for both of us.
[Micah]: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And I always like… I think I wrestle too with how queer do I have to be to identify as queer?
[Joshua]: What legitimizes that queerness?
[Joshua]: What acts? Right?
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Totally.
[Joshua]: Like, to me like… Go have sex with someone of the same gender once every…
[Micah]: Yeah, what’s my queer quota? Yeah, for sure. Yeah, yeah… Is the Queer Council going to come down and be like, “I don’t know…. We’ve reviewed your file.”
[Joshua]: You know what’s another interesting thing about the word queer. I feel like there’s lots of scholarly work on the word queer that I’m not familiar with, but like… You know, the word in its original meaning means ‘different’ right?
[Micah]: Right. Sure.
[Joshua]: I think. And, even beyond, like, our mothers… Our family is certainly queer.
[Micah]: Yeah. Sure.
[Joshua]: In the sense of it’s different. [crosstalk]
[Micah]: Yeah, I mean like… Certainly, I think queer meaning also ‘otherly’ and ‘strange,’ right?
[Joshua]: And yeah. We’re certainly not nuclear.
[Joshua]: Even dad, certainly doesn’t bring nuclear-ness into the world, into our world.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I think, like… Just the whole structure of our family… I remember being in grade 10 and trying to explain it to somebody. Like, and having to physically draw it for them because they couldn’t get their head around it.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. Still, still find most people, like, just kind of get lost.
[Micah]: Yeah. I find that they can kind of get the two moms thing. But when they… When you start trying to explain, yeah and then my brother’s dad, who was divorced… We still hang… He’s still a parent and all of his family is my family.
[Micah]: And we go there all the time and I see him all the time.
[Micah]: And when you start opening that door, people lose… Their eyes glaze over.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Well, it also doesn’t help that it's a family by itself. It’s just complicated.
[Micah]: Yeah, totally. And then you start explaining that… Yeah. Well, and like… I think… And this is certainly a thing… I kind of talked about this at the beginning. For all families that are non-nuclear… Families of divorce, or whatever. You were raised by your grandparents. I think that we all have that, like, moment where you have to kind of explain and justify what your family structure is.
[Joshua]: And it’s funny because you think like, how common actually is the nuclear family?
[Joshua]: Right? Like… I feel like, certainly in the world it’s the minority.
[Joshua]: Because, you know most… There’s just so many different ways to have a family that different cultures have.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Joshua]: But I bet, even just because of divorces, or whacky things happen…
[Micah]: Yeah, sure.
[Joshua]: That even in North America, or, you know. in Canada, U.S. have… That would also be in the minority. Ah, maybe not. I don’t know. There are a lot of nuclear families.
[Micah]: Yeah. It wouldn’t surprise me… It wouldn’t surprise me how little it is actually present.
[Joshua]: Yeah, everyone's got their wackiness.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. And certainly…
[Joshua]: Some have a little more.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. I think our family structure… And I think like, certainly, definitly a lot of queer families that I know have that right? Like inherently you have that… A little bit more of a wacky family structure. Especially because a lot of like… You have a lot of family that you have chosen over the period of your life, or whatever. That you’re like, these people are the people that I want to be in my family’s life.
[Joshua]: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. That’s the chosen family as well is a whole other structure to that. Like, you have the friends and stuff that you have around. I’ve always loved how good Jan was at that.
[Joshua]: At picking who her family was.
[Micah]: Yeah. Jan’s my mom. And yeah…. She was always really good at setting that boundary, whatever that boundary was right? Being like, this is exactly what I want it to feel like.
[Micah]: Especially because like, yeah… My mom lost the person she thought she was going to raise me with, right?
[Micah]: And so like… And I think like… She needed that support system to do it. I was like, not an easy kid.
[Joshua]: No. Neither of us were.
[Joshua]: And like, yeah, again to the chosen family… To the degree that we chose each other and constructed that family.
[Micah]: Yeah, totally. Certainly, like me and you definitely chose each other. Like… We, like from day one, we’re like, yeah this is the person. Like…
[Joshua]: To the queerness of our household.
[Joshua]: It’s like, because of that… That relationship was… Adds to the differentness of our family… That we fucking Parent Trapped.
[Micah]: Yeah, we did. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. We’re like, we’re going to hang out all the time and then our moms are going to get together. Yeah. Yeah. I like… I like that “we Parent Trapped” as like… Um… Do you… How often do you think, like, having queer parents effects you now? Like, you’re an adult. Not effects, but you know what I’m saying? How often do you think it comes up in your life?
[Joshua]: In what sense?
[Micah]: Yeah, I mean like…
[Joshua]: Like… It comes up in the sense that I was like, became the person that I am today.
[Joshua]: And that’s every day. But how often do I think about it? How often… Like… Let’s say in like… I would say the most common way it comes up is like… I think both of us…. We’re essentially doing this now to tell our story.
[Joshua]: Right? You know? In a social gathering or something, being like, how interesting we’re are?
[Joshua]: Um… Or at least, I certainly do because you know… Ego problems. And uh, so like, it comes up in that sense.
[Joshua]: Where I talk about it. Um…
[Micah]: And like… You find that that’s a point of pride? Like, that you bring…
[Joshua]: It’s a point of pride.
[Micah]: Right. That you’re like, my family is interesting. And like…
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Micah]: I… I… It’s weird. I often find that I have to defend it. Like, that I’m bringing it up often to be like, “No, it’s fine. Everything is fine. Look how well my queer parents did. I’m okay.”
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I guess I haven’t had… Who do you find that you are defending it to?
[Micah]: Like certainly… It’s always little moments where it’s like, “oh you had two queer parents. That’s, like, weird.” You know? Or it’s like… I find that I am often, like… I make fun of them a lot. That’s just the way we like…
[Joshua]: Mhmm [crosstalk]
[Micah]: I find that like… Sometimes I’ll make a lot of jokes. And basically be like, “My parents are so hippy.” And like… The open, like, circles to just have a family dinner. You know? Like, making jokes. And then someone will be like… Like, take that too far. And I’m like, “No! No! No! No! They’re great!” And like, and I’ve got to back pedal from that.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. I find that I have to do back pedaling around, yeah, ways in which they are strange.
[Joshua]: And things that people kind of don’t get that. Their gayness isn’t often a part of that.
[Joshua]: I don’t think…
[Micah]: Like, if I… Not that I haven’t seen it as a point of pride because I quite like our parents. But I’ve never brought it up being like, this is my family structure… Like, why do you think that that’s the thing that you bring up?
[Joshua]: That’s a good question. It often comes up around conversations around queerness I guess in general.
[Joshua]: And I guess, I use it as a way to legitimize my place in the conversation.
[Micah]: Right. Yeah.
[Joshua]: Like, my own… I’ve always felt that my own bi-ness was inadequate to legitimize my place in the conversation.
[Joshua]: Which is a whole other kettle of fish.
[Joshua]: And then in some ways, isn’t as part of… I’ve often felt there’s a performative piece of my, of my life and my story that I am willing to give people.
[Micah]: Right, yeah.
[Joshua]: They are almost… They being gay is almost part of that, it’s part of that narrative that I am willing to give people.
[Joshua]: Whereas my own queeness isn't as much.
[Micah]: Me too. Absolutely. Like, I definitly, like, I think I definitly lead with I have two gay moms.
[Micah]: And I’m so far, like… “and I’m also queer. And I also identify….” I definitly lead with two gay moms way faster than I lead with my own queerness. I think it’s separation to be like, I’m in the community, and I need you to not talk shit, or whatever. I want to be part of the conversation, but I’m not going to directly out myself.
[Micah]: I think for me sometimes, especially at work, it comes a little bit more from having that queer danger sense… To be like, okay, I’ve got to like, feel out who is going to be cool and who is not going to be cool. But certainly in more social situations I think it’s just like… I don’t know wit you, but certainly sometimes with me, I’m like, it’s none of your fucking business what my deal is.
[Micah]: But like, yeah. Exactly. It’s exactly what you were saying. “But I want to be part of that conversation.”
[Joshua]: Yeah, because we have something to say about it.
[Joshua]: Like… Yeah. Like… I mean, we went through a difficult time because of our parent’s queerness.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Joshua]: Right? Like, kids suck.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah, and I think, like, yeah, you inherit that ignorance. Right? Like, when we were eight, we didn’t have a concept of like, and we are bi… But we still inherited that homophobia. And I think like… A lot like… It’s inherited. Like, a lot of communities inherit that. And certainly like… It’s like… I think… I think it’s… The queer community is one of those that you take on that ignorance for your parents sometimes. Not for them, but because that’s the way the world is. Like, it’s not their fault. To just like… It’s nobody’s fault. We just didn’t choose it, right? I didn’t go one day, like, “Oh yeah, please I’d love the ignorance sampler. I’ll get some for the table; it will be great.”
[Joshua]: Yeah. Right. Right. Got a little bit of everything.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Do you… I definitely think that, in a weird way, that having to deal with homophobia in school, and like, having to deal with a lot of that bullying… Like, has made me better at dealing with it. Like, has made me a little bit stronger… Thicker skinned as a person. And like, I think that’s easy to say for someone who doesn’t deal with…
~ Hello Micah from the future here just jumping in to say that there was a little bit of an audio issue while recording the interview. And so there’s going to be a little bit of a gap and then we’ll jump back into the episode. ~
[Joshua]: You know, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. It’s actually something I was talking about in therapy only this last week. Um… I think there is a general idea around this like… You know, people who ended… Are more interesting as adults, who were bullied as kids. And you know, like… It’s toughened you up. And there’s this like… I don’t know. I wonder how much we excuse shittiness from people on that kind of basis.
[Joshua]: It’s still not… It’s still not okay that we like… That there are bullies and that’s now how you make interesting people.
[Micah]: Yeah. Totally.
[Joshua]: And like… Like, I… Because if that’s the… If we need bullying to get interesting adults… I don’t want to have a kid that gets bullied.
[Micah]: Yeah. Suffering does not equal…
[Joshua]: Yeah, we shouldn’t require suffering of people.
[Micah]: Yeah, totally.
[Joshua]: I don’t think that suffering should be required to become a full healthy individual.
[Micah]: Yeah, for sure.
[Joshua]: Because it legitimizes shitty people and I don’t think we should legitimize shitty people.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. I think, like, certainly for me, it’s like, how do I own, I think, my own, like, bullying, and own like, feeling upset about it. And be okay? And still not legitimize, like, “oh that was cool.” Like… I didn’t enjoy that. That wasn’t nice.
[Micah]: But certainly… Like… I definitely like… To this day, like… You know? I still get homophobic micoagressions and certainly like… I think they’re a little bit more connected to my own sexuality, which is why I think I’m a little guarded about it. But like, definitely, like, it’s connected to our parents as well. And it’s like, yeah… That’s still something that I’m always going to have to put up with that. Which is like… You know? What it is.
[Joshua]: Yeah [crosstalk]
[Micah]: Go for it.
[Joshua]: I… So… I wanted to kind of loop back to like, like, our meeting, and our kind of construction of that you know that family. I realized the other day when I was thinking about it… Do you have clean memories of, say, that first week?
[Joshua]: I don’t either.
[Micah]: Not good ones.
[Joshua]: I kind of have a memory of the birthday party.
[Micah]: I definitely have… And I’m not sure how much that is a memory of the picture, that is all of us on the stoop. Or is it actual memories of that happening? I definitely remember the pinata.
[Joshua]: I have a pretty clear picture in my head of you showing up at the back door with Carl.
[Joshua]: One of the reasons I think it is a legitimate memory, is because it’s… So, I have a lot of memories where I’m not entirely sure if it’s because someone told me a story.
[Joshua]: And then I insert it. One of the reasons why I also thought this was a legitimate one is because it’s from the right height.
[Micah]: Yeah, sure.
[Joshua]: Like, it’s a first person height. So I feel like it might be, actually me remembering it. But then, I go straight from that to essentially you just moving in. There’s… I have this gap in my head sometimes, of that, like… initial friendship.
[Micah]: Me too. I think it’s just… I’ve spent so much time in my brain being like, oh… Josh is my brother, that it’s like…
[Joshua]: I feel like we kind of became brothers even before… Like, there was [?: dotting] to me that I was constantly teased that kind of had to happen.
[Micah]: Yeah. Totally. And I think like… I don’t know. I just… I always, that space is just inputted by… Yeah, we were already there.
[Micah]: And I know there was like… I know there was a period of time where we were becoming friends.
[Joshua]: Yeah… But you know [?: Dylan]
[Micah]: But kids are so… Sure. But kids are so good at that, I think.
[Micah]: About like, that immediacy of being like… And you’re my best friend now.
[Micah]: You know? Like…
[Joshua]: Yeah, like… I think there’s a lot of that that I miss. But like, that incredible amount of trust that like… That we could bring to bear. I don’t know if I could get even remotely that close ever again in my life.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so crazy . The more I talk about like… Because I… The first, beginning of this project was like, four years ago, when I first wrote the piece. And it just gets more and more complicated as I get… Life just gets slightly more complicated as you get older. Which… Yeah. Yeah.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Which [?] notes.
[Micah]: Well kind of.
[Joshua]: [?] did the opposite. Never mind.
[MIcah]: I get what you are saying. It just keeps getting, like, expands. And yeah, I think for kids. It’s like… “Oh, this is the thing? Okay, great.” I just want the thing I want. It’s that immediacy. And like… Yeah and that trust. I think that there was something about our relationship that we both hitched onto because it was so immediate, right? It was very…
[Joshua]: I think that we saw dreamers in each other.
[Joshua]: I mean, not in the ambition sense. But in the… Not being entirely satisfied with this reality sense.
[Micah]: Yeah, totally. And storytellers.
[Micah]: And I think that ability to craft… Going back to that ability to hone and craft the stories that you want to be true about yourself. And like… It’s funny, because every time I do one of these projects, it’s you know… It’s awlays like, how is it to be my relationship to being queerspawn? And it’s like, that’s only one part of who I am as a person. Like, there’s so many other parts. And I think, you know, just the nature of being of… The project being about being queerspawn, makes it about that and not about the million other… You know?
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s… I think you’re… You’ve nailed it on the head. What I find interesting about our lives, isn’t the fact… Like… It is interesting that our mother’s are gay. But, that’s only interesting because society sucks. Right? Right?
[Joshua]: That shouldn’t actually be… You know, beyond just… Two people loving each other is wonderful, but it shouldn’t be interesting.
[Joshua]: Right? That should just be loving… And then everything else… The tapestry that makes up our lives and our story is a good one.
[Joshua]: But you know, that’s just a piece of it.
[MIcah]: Yeah. I mean, certainly like… The thing… Talking about bringing up parts of our family to be interesting at parties… The one I always choose… Because our dad’s house was…
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah, that was just chalk full of…
[Micah]: Chalk full of good stories. You know? Because there were a lot of people coming in and out all the time.
[Joshua]: Sauna guy.
[Micah]: Yeah. Like… And so, like, that’s the one I always bring up for credit… Like, social credit to be like, “My family is whacky.”
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[Micah]: To be like, yeah my dad had a sauna in the house and every Monday people would come over.
[Joshua]: It was a much stranger part of our upbringing.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. And I think sometimes people focus on the gayness. I’m like, no, no no, no, no. My dad is so wacky.
[Joshua]: And like, in your relationship with him too is really a quite interesting piece. Like…
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Joshua]: Speaking of chosen family.
[Micah]: Yeah, absolutely.
[Joshua]: Like, that’s a…
[Micah]: And like, yeah… He could in no way… ‘Cuz I remember… I have very vivid memories of meeting him for the first time.
[Joshua]: That one I remember. The subway?! I remember very clearly.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. And like… I remember very clearly moments of being like, oh that’s Josh’s dad? And moments of being like, oh that’s my dad. And like, I’m always so thank… He was so… It took a little bit, like every relationship takes a minute. But he was so quick to be like, oh I have another son now.
[Joshua]: Yeah, I’ve always been so awed and proud of how much he was willing to, yeah…
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah, me too.
[Joshua]: There’s not a lot of men who would do that for their ex wife’s new partner’s son…
[MIcah]: No. Yeah. Ex wife’s new partner’s… Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Like… And not only that… It’s not like… Oh this is like my step son or whatever…
[Micah]: It’s also like… Okay, my ex wife is now dating a woman.
[Micah]: And her partner’s boy is going to be hanging out with me. And it’s like, yeah… No.
[Joshua]: Normally he’s not going to be hanging out that… It’s not like he comes over on weekends… No… We are bringing him into the whole fucking thing.
[Micah]: Yeah. But also, there’s never a moment where dad was like, “This is my step-son.”
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Micah]: He never made that delineation.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Micah]: He’s like, “This is my son.” And he always… He still to this day introduces me like that. And it’s like… No. I’m forever grateful to that like, yeah… Not a lot of men would have done that.
[Micah]: No. You… You… In that like…
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Micah]: Yeah, and it was… In my brain it was immediate. And I know it took months. But like in my brain…
[Joshua]: It took a remarkably low amount of time.
[Micah]: Oh, I agree. But like, it definitely took a month or two, and in my brain it was like, it just jumps. There’s this skip in time.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s like… Again it’s funny with how we construct stories and memories. When we tell the story, we’re not in like… Something I think we’ve talked about before as well is like, when I tell our story, like, it’s almost a recording.
[Joshua]: Like, there are beats that I hit.
[Joshua]: There are places that I pause. Like, it’s a whole fucking thing.
[MIcah]: Yeah, it’s definitely sculpted.
[Joshua]: And it’s almost like that has become the memory, that we took that like, probably legitimately two year period…
[Joshua]: Maybe, year and a half.
[Micah]: Year and a half.
[Joshua]: And then like…
[Micah]: Condensed it.
[Joshua]: Made it a single memory.
[Micah]: Yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah. Made it one continuous, instead of a bunch of blocks.
[Joshua]: Yeah, yeah.
[Joshua]: Yeah. Because the first time… My memory of feeling the first time that you were fully in… That dad had fully adopted you, was at the cottage.
[Micah]: Yeah, I agree. Yeah. No, that’s definitely the moment that is… That’s the adoption there.
[Micah]: Is… Because I remember being like, “Can I call you dad?” And he was like, “Yeah.”
[Joshua]: Yeah. That happened at the cottage.
[Micah]: Yeah. That was at the cottage. Yeah. No, that moment is cemented in my brain.
[Joshua]: To our viewers, there is a very fun recording of that cottage.
[Micah]: Oh yeah. Is that from the same weekend?
[Joshua]: That is the same weekend.
[Micah]: Oh Jesus. There is a recording of me making… Our dad had bought a stop motion camera.
[Micah]: And we were making stop motion videos. And our dad still has them.
[Joshua]: They’re pretty fun.
[Micah]: They’re pretty fun.
[Micah]: And he used to bring them out all the… He would show them to everyone who wanted… Even who didn’t want to see it… “You want to see this crazy video my kids made?” Like…
[Joshua]: They were pretty good movies.
[Micah]: They were pretty good. Like…
[Joshua]: Three of them were about like…
[Micah]: Yeah. I remember making them and dad being like, “Does the dragon have to eat the man?”
[MIcah]: And we were like, “Dad! The dragon has to eat the man.”
[Joshua]: One was also like a sword fight where someone got stabbed.
[Micah]: Someone did get stabbed, yeah.
[Joshua]: We were violent fucking kids.
[Micah]: I think that's like, yeah… I think all kids… Like, I think… It’s all about some amount of control.
[Joshua]: For sure. And like…
[MIcah]: Not to get too analytical on it.
[Joshua]: And we had our own relationships with like… Vio… Like, you know? [crosstalk] …and stuff.
[Micah]: But also I think that… Yeah. But, every… All media is kind of viol… A lot of media…
[Joshua]: Yeah. Yeah. We would smack down stairs at six o’clock in the morning every Saturday to essentially watch violence.
[Micah]: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Watch just streams of violent cartoons.
[Joshua]: Which were fun. I wouldn’t take that back for the world.
[Micah]: No, me neither. Um… Yeah, so I think that we are going to wrap up pretty soon. But, I just wanted to like… I think the… If you had to give a piece of advice to… Because I think that we used to do like…
[Joshua]: Yeah, panels.
[Micah]: Panels. And we’d always…
[Joshua]: You know what’s funny? That’s the piece of being queerspawn that felt the most legitimate in some ways. That…
[Micah]: Is that speaking to other…
[Joshua]: The feeling that felt the most legitimizing. Like, I’m going to like… You’re legitimate enough in this community that I’m going to put you on a panel to talk to new members of it.
[Micah]: Yeah. To talk to other queer people who are trying to be parents.
[Joshua]: That’s the most legitimate I’ve ever felt, was being on that panel.
[MIcah]: I’d… See, I felt the opposite. I felt like under a microscope. Like I had to constantly be good.
[Joshua]: Right. Interesting. Yeah. For sure, I get that too. Different one. But, yeah.
[MIcah]: I understand how that would be really legitimizing though. To have… But they were always a room fully of incredibly nervous first time parents, who were like, “Are we going to fuck these kids up?” And then to have them like, literally just sit and do nothing but listen to your story? Would be… Like… Yeah. I get why that is really…
[Joshua]: Yeah. But one of the things that I used to say was like… You’re going to have all the trials and tribulations of any parent and you know, your queerness is going to be a part of, you know, potentially a part of those difficulties. But most of it is just the parenting part.
[Micah]: Yeah… Yeah. Right. Be the parenting part…
[Joshua]: Which, you know, we were fucking like fifteen giving those. I have no real advice to give you.
[Micah]: I always… I remember what I always said was, “You’ve done the biggest step, which is you are choosing to become a parent. Like, that’s great. You’ve nailed it. Who gets to say… A lot of parents don’t get to choose to be parents… And that you’re actively choosing to be a parent is wonderful.”
[Micah]: Yeah, but I just wanted to know… Not to focus on the parents… What do you think? What would you say to like, the next generation of queerspawn?
[Joshua]: Queerspawn? So the kids?
[Micah]: Yeah. Like, all those kids from all those parents at the panel, like their kids now being like seven?
[Joshua]: You know, I wonder what… I don’t know… Like, I have no sense…. A lot of our society has changed a certain amount in the last decade or two and I don’t know enough about their lives. Like, I don’t know what being a queerspawn today means. Like? Maybe it’s the same as what being a queerspawn for us meant. But I don’t know. Like… I guess, like… But yeah… The bit that probably doesn't change and maybe I could speak to is like… You know, whether you question whether your family is a legitimate structure… Like, when people tell you it might not be… And that’s yeah. It’s fucking hard. I guess, the advice isn’t that complicated, but it’s easier said than done. You’ve just got to hold onto the knowledge that the love you and your family have is legitimate and it is yours. You know, I find advice like that funny because it’s just like, yeah, it’s easier said than done… What it’s like.
[Micah]: Yeah, but that sentiment doesn’t get said enough to just be like, you are legitimate, and your family is legitimately. And no amount of bullshit is going to take that away from you even though it feels like it’s trying.
[Joshua]: Yeah, for sure. And I guess I hope we’ve come far enough as a society that many of these kids don’t feel illegitimate and less than you.
[Micah]: Yeah. Yeah. It’s always in tiny moments right?
[Micah]: No, and I think the more and more I grow up and like, it’s become… I don’t live with my parents anymore. So it becomes less and less of a thing that I think about. But always a thing I think I hold close to me. It still travels with me. It’s always going to be a part of the person, who I am. But it’s not… I think as a kid sometimes it was the biggest part of who I was and now it doesn’t have to be. I can let go of constantly being like, “This is the thing and I will defend it!” You know?
[Joshua]: Yeah. For sure. For sure.
[Micah]: I don’t need to cling to that as hard as I think I used to.
[Micah]: Well, I think we are going to wrap it up. But thank you so much for coming and doing this.
[Joshua]: Thanks for having me.
[Micah]: Yeah of course. I mean like… I know when we did… When the book was made, you really wanted to come and wanted to write a piece and you didn't have the words for what you wanted to write. And I’m hoping that this was at least a little bit of a platform for your to say yours…
[Joshua]: Yeah. I still don’t think that I have the words for what I want to say, but this was… I’m very grateful for the chance to make an attempt.
[Micah]: Yeah. Well, thanks for coming and I love you.
[Joshua]: I love you too.
[Micah]: Thank you again to Josh for coming onto this show. It was such a pleasure to have you. Oh, there’s the bell. I guess that means it’s feeding time for our dark capitalist overlords. Their empty bleeding [?] ever closer, so please enjoy this ad.
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[Micah]: It was always my goal with this show to say the things that I didn’t get to say in Part I. So I want to leave with this. It is my deepest wish to raise a queer family of my own. I want to be able to tell my children that I identify as pan and non-binary. I want to be open and honest to who I am so that they know that it is okay for them to be open and honest about themselves. I want to be able to take them to Pride, so that they can enjoy the energy, the festivities, like I did as a kid. And I want to be able to walk them through feeling like they don’t have a space at Pride anymore, like I did in my teens. However, there is still a part of me that is afraid. I am afraid of what my parents in law will say when my kids ask for their pronouns, like I want to teach them to. I am afraid that they will have to put up with ignorant questions from well meaning people. I am afraid that they will have to put up with ignorant questions from not so well meaning people. I’m afraid that they will have to deal with the same bullying and homophobia that I did as a kid. I’m afraid that they are not going to want to explain their family’s whole story because it is too complicated or too weird, or it might ruin the day. I know that these are incredibly small worries in the grand scheme of things, especially because I am not going to be having kids anytime soon. But when I think about my own childhood, and what I learned, I want to be able to teach my kids and learn from them, but most of all, I want them to love and be loved by the people who mean the most to me in this world. And that’s what my big, complicated, and wonderful queer family does best. So I know that they will knock it out of the park. I have so many hopes and ideas and dreams, but I think I’ll leave that for another program. I just want to say thank you for spending your precious time with me. There’s no getting it back, so thank you. I would also like to thank Sadie Epstein-Fine and Makeda Zook for producing this piece. Thank you to The ArQuives for hosting, and thank you again to my brother Joshua Zachariah for interviewing with me. Thank you so much to Kit Simmons and Mykola Paskaruk for providing voice over, and thank you to my lovely wife Elizabeth Traicus for editing. And a big thank you to Sea Blue for the use of their song “Human.” Please check their music out at bandcamp at S-E-A-B-L-E-U. And finally, thank you to Decoration Day for the use of the intro song “Harry Goes to War,” and the song you are about to hear. So please also check out their music on bandcamp, but without further ado, here is Decoration Day with “Wild Birds Unlimited,” off the album Makeshift Future.
[song: “Wild Birds Unlimited” by Decoration Day]