Ben Austin and his partner, Bill Thomasson, are adoptive parents to two former foster children, Ava and Elijah. They make their home in Sugar Land, and say they've been impressed by the community's embrace.
Nearly three years ago, we relocated from the Bay Area in California to my hometown of Houston. We worried if an interracial gay couple with two adopted biracial children would be faced with prejudice and intolerance. After all, the South is not known for being a bastion of acceptance. Well the jury is in, and we have come out the other side of our relocation unscathed. Since coming to Texas we have met dozens of gay and lesbian couples, even more than we knew after several years together in California.
In addition to quickly gaining friendships, we were amazed at how accepting strangers were to our family structure. When we would go to Discovery Green, the Children’s Museum, an Astros game, the Zoo, or even the dog park, we were always casting sideways glances to see if people were staring. The beauty of it was that no one seemed to see us as novel, and if they did, we didn’t see any overt behaviors. In fact, my partner was surprised at the overall friendliness of people who would just strike up conversations for no apparent reason. What’s more is that we are big on family outings, and our experience — or non-experience — has been consistent regardless of the setting.
I am so glad to be home so I can enjoy authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. However, doing such in an inhospitable environment would make staying unbearable. Here, we get to have our enchilada and eat it too.