Friday, June 1, 2012

13-year-old Heads for Olympic Tryouts, After the Pride Parade

Jordan Windle has a decent shot at competing in the Olympics, which is far more impressive when you realize he’s just 13. But he has qualified for the Olympic diving trials later this month.  And diving experts have their eyes on him. Everyone agrees that if this isn’t his year he will be the force to reckon with in four years time.  At 13 he has plenty of time to perfect his diving skills.
But, before the Olympic trials, Jordan has another project. He is going to be the grand marshal of the Pride Parade in Indianapolis. He won’t be alone. He’ll be there with his two dads.

Jordan was born in Cambodia and lost both his parents when he was 1 years old. When he was two Jerry Windle adopted him. And then, they spent some time with doctors and hospitals taking care of multiple medical issues the boy had. Living in Florida at the time, Jerry enrolled Jordan in the summer camp at the Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, and coaches spotted Jordan’s talents.
Jordan and his two dads.
Jerry sent his son to private school, which had a diving program. But one coach and diving star Greg Louganis urged the father and son to move to Indianapolis to train at the USA Diving’s National Training Center.
Things had become slightly more complicated as Jerry was dating Andres Rodriguez at the time. Jordan settled that issue during dinner one night. He asked Andres: "Are you going to join our family? Can I call you Papi?” Soon, Jordan and his two dads were moving to Indianapolis where he trains all day and attends school in the evenings and on weekends. Diving is something that Jordan loves, intensely.

He’s still very young and he’d beat the odds to be on the Olympic team this year, but come the games in Rio de Janeiro he’ll be the one to beat. Jordan is realistic: "I am going to try my best to make it to London for the 2012 Olympics, but my goal is to be a member of the 2016 USA Olympic Diving Team."

Meanwhile he is a determined advocate for the rights of LGBT people and their families. He made a “It’s Gets Better” video where he speaks of being orphaned and then adopted by a gay man. He urges gay kids to realize that life does get better and that they should stick around because, as he put it, there could well be a kid just like him who would love to have you as his father, or mother.

And, while it is customary to end a short piece like this, on a high note, I should remind you of something. Under U.S. laws, especially the Defense of Marriage Act, it is illegal for the government to treat Jordan the same as other children in his position would be treated. A combination of state and federal laws will disadvantage Jordan if tragedy strikes.

Unless Andres has been allowed to adopt Jordan, which is not allowed in some states, then he is of no relation to Jordan. If Jordan had a medical emergency, under those circumstances, Andres would be unable to make the medical decisions necessary if Jerry were unavailable. If Jerry were to die, and Andres has been unable to adopt Jordan jointly, then Jerry’s fundamentalist relatives might be legally entitled to split the family.

When conservatives and theocrats fight gay marriage they are also targeting the families these marriages create—including children like Jordan. When they say, “It’s all about the children,” they lie. It’s about their hate, and they will hurt the children in order to achieve that.