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Finding the middle ground...a living example

Cynthia & Perry meeting in 2022 in London with a rainbow pride flag behind them
Cynthia & Perry meeting in London, 2022

I was given permission to use this story by one of my partners and co-founder of Pride Superheroes, Perry Glickman, known as Coach Perry.

“The answer always exists in moderation between extremes.”

– Cynthia Fortlage, Founding CEO, CAF Services

Perry and his family are based in Israel near Tel Aviv. I met Perry during a speaking engagement trip to Tel Aviv in 2019. His daughter, my niece (chosen family), was with him at an event where he was accepting an award for his work in Diversity with his employer at the time. My niece found me in the crowd, and she only spoke Hebrew. I only spoke English, yet we connected. Perry says she was drawn to me, and the connection was magnetic. I met Pery and his partner Chen for dinner the following evening, and we became chosen family, even though I was based in Canada then.

Perry and I chat regularly, and I have even attended important family events through video chat, no matter where I am. We recently discovered that Perry considers me his big sister. As I say with a humorous smirk, I am an older and wiser chosen sibling.

Perry told me about my niece's class at school. Some mothers had taken it upon themselves to create a mother/daughter event to discuss entering womanhood, covering topics such as using period products and what to expect during menstrual cycles, et cetera. They will be bringing in a doctor to help facilitate the sessions.

This is essential education that all young girls should be given access to reduce anxiety related to getting their first period and knowing what to do. It also removes the stigma associated with getting your first period among girls, as it will happen at different points through their school years with this class.

My niece is the only one with two dads in the class. Families with two moms don't encounter this issue.

You can appreciate how the other moms may be concerned or embarrassed with Perry or Chen being in class with my niece. While it would be wonderful to have an event where one of the parents could attend with their daughter, that wouldn't work in this instance.

I could try and share insights into why it could be either of her parents, but as I share in the quote, the answer always exists in moderation between the extremes. Perry also agrees with this point of view, so here is the sensible answer they came up with collectively as a group of parents.

Perry's mom (Grandma) will take my niece to the class event. Perry and Chen will have a private session with the Doctor and my niece afterwards to ensure they are up to speed on everything they need to know regarding their daughter. That allows education and bonding to happen between the parents and the child. Still, it also allows the mothers and daughters group to go without the concern of a male in the space, even if that male is one of the parents of the young female child.

Ultimately, the key lies in finding a balance - a middle ground where everyone's needs and concerns can be heard and addressed. It may not be easy, but it is crucial to remember that education and events are meant to be inclusive and welcoming spaces for all. With open communication and a willingness to compromise, we can create an environment where both fathers and daughters feel comfortable and valued. After all, isn't that what education and community are all about? Finding common ground and working towards a brighter, more inclusive future for everyone.



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