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Greetings, Global Grind!

I was extremely fortunate to have been cast in the hit new dramatic comedy “The Kids Are All Right.” Since the movie embraces the concept of family in an unexpected and unconventional way, there have been a lot of sparks flying around it (not only because the performances of its stars are phenomenal, but also because the parents — played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore — are gay). I’ve been asked to join the conversation about family, and share a few thoughts with you all on what it means to me.

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When it comes to family, I am one of ‘the lucky ones.’ I grew up with three siblings who all got along well and two loving parents who gave us everything we needed including strong family values; a healthy diet; an enthusiasm for education along with a love for the arts; and a sense of compassion for, and responsibility to, others. Although we lived in what was deemed a dangerous area of Manhattan and would be considered poor by the standards of many, we knew that there were suffering people all over the planet who were much worse off than us. We were taught that our wealth was defined by the abundance of love and opportunities in our lives and we were always concerned with people less fortunate than us, both at home on the streets of New York and around the world.

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While on a high school study-abroad trip in the Dominican Republic, I volunteered at an orphanage for three months and became very attached to the children there. I was only 16, but holding these babies who had no families filled me with such outrage and sadness that I dreamt about giving at least one of them the kind of family I had and feel we all deserve.

Unfortunately, there are approximately 150 million orphans around the world, which is evidence of so many different societal ills. But evidence of hope lies in the selfless actions of people who adopt them, give them love, instill in them a sense of belonging and power, and provide them opportunities to grow in ways that the circumstances they were born into wouldn’t have allowed. Many of these loving parents are, in fact, gay parents. I won’t pretend to know how it feels to grow up without a family, but I would imagine that, were I an orphan, I would rather have two mothers or two fathers than no parents at all.

In a time when the conversation surrounding same-sex marriage is very heated and when broader parameters of what defines a family are becoming more widely accepted, it is no wonder that people are responding to “The Kids Are All Right” with positivity and acceptance. The lead characters are simply human beings, going through things those of us with tight-knit families can relate to, no matter what they may look like.

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Growing up, my parents provided a very social household and I loved when members of our beloved extended family would visit. But I always got extra excited when my two uncles — I’ll call them “Uncle Zeus” and “Uncle Apollo”– came over. We always had so much fun with them. The