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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Addressing Intolerance - Spreading LOVE and ACCEPTANCE

As most of you have seen the local media has done a few articles on Brett and I in the past few weeks and there are still a few more to come. We knew that putting our family in the spot light as we did would come with some potential backlash from the very few that don’t agree. It was inevitable and going to happen but we and our community were all surprised how it happened.

On July 11th The Chilliwack Times published a disgusting letter to the editor, it was full of hate, bigotry and discrimination. Brett and I are strong supporters of free speech and understand there are people that don’t agree with the dynamic of our family, however we did not expect a community newspaper to publish something so aggressive. The Editor claimed that they like to share all views of the community, however the backlash he got clearly stated that this was not the views of our community rather the views of one man with a heart filled with hate.

The response was overwhelming, it was a true social media fire storm with thousands of messages across hundreds of message boards all over the net. The personal messages to Brett and I were just pouring in with loving and supportive words. So many of these supporters wanted us to know that they were disgusted with the awful letter that was published and that this man’s views did not reflect our community. People were contacting the Times directly to tell them that they no longer wanted to receive their paper and some kids chose to quit delivering the paper because of the poor choice in the letter they printed.

While we applaud the Chilliwack Times for approaching us for our story and running it front page in a conservative community paper, however by running such a hateful letter the following week really could have  taken away from message they were trying to portray.  Thankfully it did not take away, it only added to the support we have locally and internationally. It was bitter sweet, awful to see published, but beautiful to see the overwhelming response. We are also happy the editor took the time the following week to address the communities concerns.  I have attached the letters below..

 

Letter Posted by Collin Masses in Chilliwack Times

Editor:

I’m writing in regards to the “new family” in the last issue of the newspaper, “Impossible dads,” Times, July 3.

At the core of the this new “parenthood” is selfishness. No, that is not a missprint, it is absolutely selfish to think that a baby should

be deprived of a bonding relationship with a mother in this case.

What makes us think we can do what we want when the fragile emotions of a human being are at stake. Children in these relationships are being set up for an emotional disaster. There will come a day, unless these children harden themselves, that they will scream out for the support of a mother, not other females involved, but a mom, that is irreplaceable.

I have taken a mom and dad for granted obviously. I couldn’t imagine bearing the shame, scorn and embarrassment emotionally growing up in school knowing that my parents are sexually depraved.

I couldn’t imagine the deep longing in my heart while I looked with envy at the other children who have a mom and dad. I couldn’t imagine bringing my “dads” to my graduation or introducing my fiance to them if I made it through life that far.

I tell you the truth you will have emotional tornadoes on your hands throughout their lives.

You will discover that there is in fact an institution between motherhood and fatherhood under one roof, that is not something human beings conjure up because it just seemed to work out. You will either have kids who are completely cowed under with suicidal tendencies or utter hatred with uncontrollable rage.

Is this non-politically correct view words of hatred? On the contrary, they are words of truth on behalf of these children who are not being given a choice to bare this mockery of “family” in their lives.

Gay community stop thinking of yourselves and that you can do whatever you please because everyone has to suck it up because this is who you are. If I’m a raging individual is that just who I am?

Let the innocent go free and put the children up for adoption so they can experience the completeness of a mother and a father together in their lives, and dare I say, just like you two did.

Collin Masses

Chilliwack

My response published in Chilliwack Times

LETTER: Thankful for amazing support shown by community

July 17, 2014 · Updated 9:59 AM
8 Comments

Editor:

Mr. Masses,

Initially, I found your words hurtful and offensive but quickly remembered that people like you are few and far between. While you are entitled to your opinion, it is so distasteful to speak with such hatred and aggression towards any human being no matter who they are.

I believe and support the right of freedom of speech as this is the platform for so many vital historic causes, however I do not support bigotry, hate and discrimination. I, as a civilized proud Canadian, may not agree with every person’s views, whether they be political, religious or personal but I have the kind Canadian heart that knows that we all have different values and beliefs and it is not my job to change them, but only to respect them and treat them as I would like to be treated myself. It is a valuable lesson you might want to learn Collin.

As a father I find it incredibly offensive that you speak ill of our children and about the life they will live full of apparent addiction and suicidal tendencies. Please remind yourself that these awful comments you are making are directed at two beautiful six-week old babies. It’s interesting that you find yourself an expert on my children’s future which further proves how disconnected you are from our modern society. Will our children be faced with extra challenges? I would say no more than the average child, as every child comes with their own unique differences.

Our children will grow up in a home with two loving parents that will love and support them every step of the way. We will fill their lives with opportunity and they will always know that they have unconditional love and support from us and the incredible community of family and friends around us. Thankfully for us and our children, the world is becoming a better place by the day. People are opening their minds and their hearts to all different types of families as the dynamics of families are changing and evolving. Will some take issue on this? Absolutely, but the ones that will are the vast minority and we as one of those evolving families are relieved to know that society is on our side.

I was raised by a single parent and have been able to achieve incredible things in my life including an exceptional career, beautiful relationship enriched in love and now a family of my own. Not once have I felt that not having a father in my life has hurt me developmentally or emotionally. At the end of the day a child needs love, stability and support. This can come from a Mom and a Dad, two Dads, two Moms, a single Dad or a single Mom. It appears you lacked that as a child and I am deeply saddened that you were raised with such hatred in your heart.

Does your message affect me and my family? Yes it does, but not in the way you were hoping. You have further helped us see that our support by far exceeds what we ever thought. Your message of hate will be used as a tool for parents to see the importance of raising our children with an open mind and an open heart full of love and acceptance. There unfortunately are still a few people like you in this world, but you have thankfully showed us you are incredibly out numbered.

To all our amazing supporters, from the bottom of our hearts you have forever impacted our lives in such a beautiful way. We have received hundreds of messages of well wishes of support and have been stopped on the street and in stores to further share their heartfelt appreciation of our story and to let us know they support and welcome us. You have all warmed our heart and this really shows that Chilliwack is our home and we are loved and welcomed.

I am proud to live in this beautiful city full of amazing people. Thank you once again, Chilliwack.

Justin, Brett,

Jordyn and Sawyer

Chilliwack

 

 

Chilliwack Times Editors Response to Chilliwack Community

OPINION: Tolerance needed on many fronts


By KEN GOUDSWAARD
July 17, 2014 · Updated 9:57 AM
15 Comments

tol·er·ance

/’täl(e)r(e)ns/

noun: tolerance

1. the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with.

I learned a thing or two about tolerance last week, namely that many people in this fine city don’t have any of it for anti-same-sex couple sentiments delivered through their newspaper.

And they shouldn’t.

One of the letters we printed, in particular, incensed readers, touched the rawest of nerves and the outrage it produced flowed endlessly on social media channels. It was a marvellous example of the power and the immediacy of the Internet.

I’ve always been a vocal proponent of running letters that push the envelope. A strong opinion, whether it runs contrary to our own beliefs or not, is always welcome on the letters page. But there are limits to free speech (the classic line of yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre comes to mind).

Almost to a person, commentators found the letter disgusting and not representative of the community. And bottom line, representing and reflecting our community is a major part of the mission statement here at the Times.

To be sure, there are many in Chilliwack who don’t agree with same-sex couples raising a family. For many, if not most, this stems from their religious beliefs. As a close friend of mind said: “My religion doesn’t allow me the luxury to agree with what they (Justin and Brett) are doing.”

But in the same breath, he mentioned how he knew both men and how he believed they would make wonderful parents.

I’ll take that kind of tolerance. You don’t have to agree with people’s lifestyle choices, but at least allow them the freedom to make those choices without your condemnation.

I was heartened, really heartened, by the overwhelming support for this couple. If there is a positive outcome to this whole firestorm, it’s that I’ve learned just how open and accepting Chilliwack can be. I’ve lived here a long time and that hasn’t always been my perception of the community.

What sometimes is lost in the mob mentality of the social media world is tolerance for those with opposing views . . . such as our letter writer. Many would say he doesn’t deserve it, but I would disagree. One commentator mentioned the possibility of “getting a posse together for a lynching.” Make no mistake, that’s a death threat, and has no place in the discussion.

I will defend to the end the offending letter writer’s right to his opinion. But you’ve told me, in no uncertain words, you don’t want to see it in your community newspaper. And you won’t ever again.

Years of newspapering have given me a thick hide when it comes to public backlash against something I or the newspaper have done that is upsetting, but I have to admit this one stings a bit more than others. From all accounts Justin and Brett are incredible people. They are, as I have told them, to be commended for their bravery in sharing their story. Their supporters, and they are legion, are nothing if not passionate in their belief that they will make amazing parents. For me to have taken the shine off their heartwarming story is something I deeply regret.

There was no malice intended, no underlying agenda—just a lapse in judgement. None of us is perfect . . . except maybe those beautiful twins and the home and family they find themselves in now.

To those who have vowed to never read us again, I hope you can find a little tolerance for the imperfect nature of this business and the decisions we sometimes make. Let us earn your respect again.

 

 
Blog continued…….

Now let’s get to what most are excited to hear about, an update on the KIDS! They are doing fantastic.. Growing daily and showing us both how much love and patience we have together and for them. I had a friend tell me once that you will never know how much you can love unconditionally until you have a child. I could not agree with this more, however in a different way than I was thinking. This unconditional out pouring of love is not only for our beautiful children, it is also for Brett. I often find myself in utter aww of this man I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with. Since becoming parents the love I have for him has grown even more which I did not know was even possible. I watch how he loves and nurtures our children day in and day out. His late nights and early mornings do not go unnoticed. I know I have mentioned this in several posts but as the full time working Dad, it warms my heart that Brett has fully embraced his role as Stay at home Dad. His role is no small task and its double the work with two little ones, but he’s doing amazing.


Being a parent of twins has its own unique experiences, things that perhaps only another twin parent might understand. Everything from consistency in feeding schedules, to soothing two upset babies at once, to knowing what each cry means for our kids, which is not always that they are hungry. Brett does many of these tasks alone during the day until I can join him when I get home. We are learning together along the way to figure what works best for our kids and creating a system that allows for there needs to be met together. All in all this has been an amazing experience so far and would not change it for the world.


Sawyer and Jordyn have become much more alert in the past couple weeks and staying up longer after each feeding. They have become incredibly observant of their daddies and there surrounding environment. We will be introducing some tummy time in the coming days to help develop stability. There bond with us is so special, there is no better place than in there daddies arms. I look forward to sharing more exciting milestones with you all in the coming months, many of their current activity’s involve Sleeping, eating and pooping lol… and I can only talk so much about that! 


In closing, this whole process has been such an eye opening experience for so many including Brett and I. This has showed us that society as a majority is changing by the day. Our story is helping people understand there is no cookie cutter definition of what makes a family. All FAMILIES come in all shapes and sizes and as long as there is love, support and stability, that is all that is needed. We are all evolving and opening up more and more to what was once thought as different and now realizing we are all the same. We thank you all for sharing our story and together we can make such a beautiful difference in this world with love and tolerance.


 

P.S ….Take a look at this Sundays Province Newspaper.. They will be doing a little story on us, not sure where it will be in the paper but it should be in there somewhere...

 

Blog again soon my friends!