LGBT Homerun For Gay Moms

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by NOVAJock, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2002
    Messages:
    15,260
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nowhere in particular
    [​IMG]
    Homerun For Gay Moms
    by Nancy Armour,
    Associated Press


    (Louisville, Kentucky) When Joe Valentine made the Cincinnati Reds' opening day roster this spring, no one was more ecstatic than Mom. Both of them.

    They've been by his side his entire life, these two women who raised him. Shuttling him to soccer and baseball and street hockey practices. Taking off work to be at his games, chaperoning his high school graduation trip, even moving to be closer to him when he went off to college.

    When he married his high school sweetheart last winter, they proudly escorted him down the aisle.

    It's as tight knit and loving a family as you can find - traditional in all but one sense.

    ``You can't say it's not different, but in the aspect of being loved by two people, being given every opportunity that my parents could give me, it's really no different,'' Valentine said recently.

    ``It's just that I have two moms.''

    Deborah Valentine and Doreen Price grew up in neighboring towns on New York's Long Island, and met in 1972. They started dating a few years later, and decided in 1976 to move to Las Vegas.

    The city was a shadow of the glitzy, booming mecca it is now, with a population of less than 200,000 and the small-town feel that comes when all the permanent residents seem to know each other. One thing was the same, though: Las Vegas was carefree and welcoming, not caring who you were or what you did, as long as you were happy. At a time when gays were being ostracized or worse in most other places, the city was a haven.

    The couple built a good life there. Deborah had a hair salon frequented by some of the biggest stars on the Strip, and they bought a house near the mountains.

    After five years together, they decided to start a family. Deborah is Valentine's biological mother, and Doreen was with her when she gave birth on Christmas Eve 1979. They prefer not to discuss their son's biological father, saying it's a private matter.

    ``I know where I'm from, who I'm from. So it was something I didn't need to pursue,'' Valentine said. ``I'm completely happy with who I am and who my family is.''

    When Valentine was almost 3, Deborah and Doreen decided to move back to the East Coast. The pace in Las Vegas was too hectic, and while they had a wide circle of friends, it wasn't the same as being surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

    ``I said, `This is not going to cut it, we have to move back,''' Doreen said. ``Children need family. They need that foundation, it's very important.''

    ``He had both my family and Doreen's family,'' Deborah added, ``and they adored him. It was the best move we made.''

    They found a house on Long Island in North Babylon, and quickly settled into a life of quiet suburbia. Deborah opened another hair salon, Doreen got a corporate job and no one seemed to care that the two women were a couple.

    Many of their neighbors didn't even know at first. Deborah and Doreen have never been ones for public displays of affection. They'd talk about their relationship if someone asked, but they didn't go out of their way to tell people.

    ``We were not flamboyant. It wasn't our way,'' Doreen said. ``If you thought it, you asked me, I'd tell you.''

    Carmine Argenziano, Valentine's baseball coach at Deer Park High School, knew Deborah and Doreen because they were always at the games, even some of the road ones. Argenziano assumed Doreen was an aunt or some other relative, and never gave it another thought.

    It wasn't until after his senior season that someone mentioned that Valentine had two moms.

    ``I put two and two together, that his two moms were coming to the games,'' Argenziano said. ``I said to myself, `Ain't nothing wrong with that. They did a great job with him.' He's an outstanding kid.''

    They did have one problem, with a mother who tried to stir up trouble when their son was about 5. Before Deborah and Doreen even had a chance to speak up, neighbors came to their defense.

    The woman eventually came around, and everyone wound up friends.

    ``People already knew how we were with Joe, and that we loved him so much,'' Doreen said. ``If there's that much love involved, how can there be anything wrong with it?''

    Being ``different'' is practically a curse for a kid, an invitation for ridicule. Something as minor as wearing the wrong shirt can bring weeks of teasing, let alone having two moms.

    But it wasn't much of an issue when Valentine was growing up. Maybe it's because of the kind of person he is: laid back, open and affable, the guy who is friendly with everyone. Maybe it's because that's the way his family had always been. Maybe it's because his house was where everyone congregated, and other kids saw it was pretty much like theirs.

    ``I can only really recall one time that I have ever gotten some flak from a kid, and that was in high school,'' Valentine said. ``He said something and I was like, `You're telling me old news. Everybody knew about this years ago.'

    ``He didn't know really how to take it because I took it so well. He expected me to get all hot and heated and want to fight about it. There's no reason to fight about it.''

    Valentine got a Wiffle ball and bat for Easter when he was 16 months old, and Doreen could see right away that he had talent. While other kids his age could barely grip the ball, her son could actually throw it.

    As he got older, he and Doreen would play almost every day. They'd go to the ball field at school or she'd take him to the batting cages.

    ``It wasn't anything set in stone,'' said Doreen, who played softball competitively when she was younger, ``just something we enjoyed doing together.''

    Valentine played other sports, too, joined the Cub Scouts and even took dance lessons for a few years. But baseball was his passion. By the time he was a teenager, he was one of the best players on Long Island.

    ``I just was very drawn to the sport at an early age,'' he said. ``It was just something that I knew, if I didn't do this, I didn't know what I was going to be doing. ... There's not been, I'd say, a week that's gone by in my life that I haven't had a baseball in my hands.''

    A catcher all the way through high school, he was converted to relief pitcher while playing in a summer league in 1997. After going 8-1 with seven saves and a 2.56 ERA at Jefferson Davis Community College, he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 26th round of the June 1999 amateur draft.

    He climbed the ranks of the minors quickly, going 7-3 with 22 saves and a 1.79 ERA in Single-A in 2001. The following year, he led all minor-league pitchers and tied a Southern League single-season record with 36 saves at double-A Birmingham.

    After splitting time between Cincinnati and triple-A Louisville last year, he made the Reds' opening day roster this season. He was sent back to Louisville on May 6 after going 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in 12 outings.

    Through Thursday night, Valentine was 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 12 games at Louisville.

    His moms came south with him when he went to Jefferson Davis, then settled in North Port, Fla., about south of Sarasota. While they've been a visible presence during his professional career, he was selective about what he told his teammates.

    Few gay athletes in any professional sport are open about their sexual orientation, and no one has come out while still playing in the NFL, NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball. Homophobia seems to be particularly prevalent in baseball, whether it be the rantings of John Rocker, or Mike Piazza feeling compelled to hold a news conference three years ago to say he's not gay.

    ``If I told somebody that I really, truly cared about as a teammate and as a friend, I wouldn't want that to change my outlook on them even if they didn't agree with it,'' Valentine said. ``Because people don't have to agree with it. It's who they are.

    ``I wish everybody would accept it,'' he added. ``But the nature of the beast is not everybody does. So I took it upon myself to pick and choose who I would be able to tell.''

    If the issue came up, though, he was quick to speak his mind.

    At spring training this year, while he and a few other Reds pitchers were talking, the subject of gay marriage came up. One player joked that any kid raised in a same-sex household would have to be messed up.

    ``As soon as that was said, I was like, `Well, I've been raised by two women,''' Valentine said. ``He was kind of like, `I've learned not to pass judgment on that. Because now I know somebody, and they're one of the better dudes I've ever met.'''

    After their initial surprise, Reds pitchers reacted with the kind of collective shrug that had become familiar to Valentine.

    ``That's his parents,'' Reds right-hander David Weathers said. ``Some people have parents of different ethnic backgrounds. Some people have parents of different skin color. Your parents are your parents.''

    About the same time, Valentine talked about his family with a correspondent for the Long Island newspaper Newsday. It came up by chance: The reporter was working on a different story and asked his parents' names.

    Valentine didn't hesitate.

    ``The gay community is part of my family and I can't shut them out,'' he said. ``I also wanted to thank my parents in a way that I don't think anybody else can.''

    A few weeks after the story appeared, Valentine began receiving e-mails. Some came from other children of gay parents. Some from people with a gay sibling or a child.

    All thanked him for talking about his family, for showing they really weren't much different from other families.

    ``They're normal parents,'' he said. ``It's just that they're two women.''

    ©Associated Press 2005
     
  2. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2002
    Messages:
    15,260
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nowhere in particular
    This is an awesome article and proves that a child can have same-sex parents, and still grow up straight and successful.
     
  3. sholnay

    sholnay New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Messages:
    62,435
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wellington NZ || Dallas TX
    Thanks NOVA - i love reading this kinda stuff - such a tremendous article, I once again got goosebumps reading it. I would like to read that newsday article done on him too - I guess it probably wouldnt be too hard to search for.

    THANK YOU NOVA! :)
     
  4. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    Messages:
    119,226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    good find!
     
  5. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    12,343
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland ; the land of Mary's...
    ..Rob's significantly better at finding queer articles than I am. His are entertaining AND informational, where as when I used to do this they were simply educational. :wtc:
     
  6. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2002
    Messages:
    119,226
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Don't be sad. Sometimes, its just hard to put an entertaining spin on certain stories.

    You do very well when you write them yourself...which, BTW, we are all waiting for.
     

Share This Page