A NOTE TO MY KID SHARES THE LOVE, KEEPS KLEENEX IN BUSINESS
One of the things that has come up a lot on this site is the second (and third, and fourth) “coming out” that many gay and lesbian parents end up having to do once they have kids. It can be a little awkward, but probably not nearly as tough as that first time. Now a new site is embarking on a mission to open up the conversation, one letter at a time, through notes that span coming out, parenthood, and friendship.
A Note to My Kid gives the LGBTQ community, their parents, families and friends the opportunity to share their unconditional love with one another. Want to tell a good friend how brave she is for coming out? Truly tell your lesbian daughter or gay son how you feel? The site is equal opportunity for any type of relationship. It posts letters from reluctant parents to their freshly out-of-the-closet kids, supportive friends, gay parents, fraternity brothers, and more (Challenge: Read three of the letters on the site without tearing up – it’s pretty difficult).
We sat down with co-founder Patrick Wallace to chat about the site and the response they’ve gotten so far. Check it out, then consider posting a note of your own!
IC: How did A Note To My Kid start? What is the purpose of the site?
PW: One morning before work I noticed a Facebook post by my friend and colleague, Michael Volpatt, one of the co-founders of A Note to My Kid. It was a beautifully written note from his mom, Sharon, that expressed the unconditional love she has for her son. I immediately called Michael and told him we should create a site where anyone can post a letter of unconditional love; that it could have a really strong impact on our community and well beyond. We tossed some names back-and-forth and pretty quickly came up with the name A Note to My Kid. Our third Co-founder, Mike Curry, helped us create the look-and-feel of the site and is also in the process of creating a pretty special social media campaign that we look forward to sharing with you soon.
A Note to My Kid originally featured notes from parents to their LGBTQ children. After tons of positive feedback we quickly evolved into a site where LGBTQ community members, their parents, family and friends could seize the opportunity to share their unconditional love with one another.
The site also helps remind people in our community realize there’s a lot of love out there despite what they may hear at school, work or in the media; that we are not alone and that we are, in fact, loved by many very special people.
A Note to My Kid also provides e a safe place where people can learn from example. We know that many people find it difficult to broach the subject of sexuality. We’re here to provide a resource where people can see how others are expressing love for the LGBTQ people in their lives so they, too, can learn how to open the lines of communication with their loved ones and have that crucial, life-changing conversation.
It’s our ultimate goal that A Note to My Kid will help create such impenetrable bonds between members of our community and the loved ones they hold so near and dear to their hearts that if they are bullied at school, work or while simply walking down the street, the negative impact will be far less because they’ll know that they are loved unconditionally by the most important people in their lives.
IC: What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
PW: The feedback we’ve received has been tremendous – from emails to phone calls to fundraisers that have helped us get closer to our ultimate goal of launching a scholarship program for LGBTQ youth. Nicole Murray-Ramierz, head of The International Court System, provided us with the seed money necessary to file our 501(c)3 non-profit and trademark applications and has been instrumental to the growth of our organization. Nicole is now an A Note to My Kid board member who continues to help us raise money and make outstanding connections within the community.
At one of its fundraisers in San Diego, the Trevor Project recognized us for helping save young lives in the LGBTQ community. GLAAD, The It Gets Better Project and PFLAG have all helped us gain additional exposure by sharing information about A Note to My Kid on Facebook and Twitter, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) posted information about us on its popular “Backstory Blog.” It’s been really inspiring to see these larger LGBTQ organizations show support for our grassroots movement.
IC: How many notes have you received so far?
PW: So far we’ve received more than 135 notes from loving people all over the U.S., Canada, the U.K., parts of Europe and as far away as Australia.
IC: Who can write a note for the site?
PW: LGBTQ community members, their parents, family and friends could can all share notes, videos or captioned photos expressing their unconditional love for one another.
IC: What are some of the most memorable/moving notes you’ve posted?
PW: Tough question. We’ve received so many notes that have had us in tears or – quite the opposite – smiling from ear-to-ear.
The notes I received from my mom and dad are two that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I think the same goes for everyone who receives a note from a loved one on A Note to My Kid. It’s something they’ll never forget; that they’ll file away and refer to often throughout their lives.
One of the most memorable notes we’ve received to date came from a 15-year-old boy who was adopted by two gay dads after a really tumultuous upbringing. This past Christmas, Zac decided he should write a note to his dads, Arturo and Dave (lovingly referred to as “Dad” and “Dadio”), and his adopted brothers, Nick and Derrick, before they opened their presents. With the permission of Zac’s dad, we posted his heartfelt note on A Note to My Kid. It’s absolutely beautiful. Fair warning – if you’re going to give it a read be sure to keep some Kleenex handy.
IC: I noticed you have both parents of LGBTQ kids writing and LGBTQ parents writing to their kids. Why do you think it’s valuable to showcase both of these stories. How can LGBTQ parents benefit from writing a note?
PW: We decided it’s important to give parents on both sides of the coin an equal opportunity to express the love they have for their children. It completes this circle of sorts that really demonstrates how concrete love is and how similarly both straight and gay parents love our kids.
I think LGBTQ parents actually have an enormous opportunity to benefit others by sharing their unique stories and the unwavering love they have for their children. It’s not only inspiring for others in our community who dream of becoming parents one day, it shows the rest of the world – particularly those who may not know an LGBTQ person – the incredible amount of love we have for our children.
A few heartfelt notes we’ve posted from gay parents to their toddlers can be found below:
The first post includes notes from one of our outstanding board members, Carin Canale-Theakston, and her wife, HIllary Canale-Theakston to their beloved toddler, Piper:
The second note is from Mr. Gay World USA contestant, Burnz Fernandez, and his partner, Steve Price, to their darling daughter, Olivia –
IC: What are your future plans for the site?
PW: Our goal is to keep on keeping on; to do whatever we can to continue bringing a little more love into people’s lives. That’s what we do. And when you stop to think about it — what’s more important than love, right?
Check out all of the letters and read the mission statement on A Note to My Kid, then stay tuned on It’s Conceivable for a new contributor this week. She’ll be posting letters to her future kid – with some life lessons (and humor) thrown in the mix.