After doing a panel discussion on al-Jazeera last night, and coming across countless more articles about same-sex parenting today, I’m a little tired of being diplomatic. Maybe there are moments when a bit of bluntness is appropriate.
In a best case scenario, there is a widow who comes out of the closet after her husband dies, and then gets help from a lesbian lover while raising her children. She makes sure not to trample on their father’s memory, and doesn’t force them to call her new lover “Mom.” In that one rare, specific, unintentional case, yes, same-sex parenting is okay.
Every other scenario involving a same-sex couple with exclusive custody of small children is adult misconduct at best or a crime against humanity at worst. If it happened because of divorce, then the gay parent and a former heterosexual lover failed to resolve their differences and didn’t stay together for the children. The gay parent, who’s now a single parent because the opposite-sex partner left, has no business moving in a homosexual lover not related to the children and forcing them to deal with that new presence.
If the gay couple adopted, they did a disservice to the child, even if the adoptee turns out okay and seems, on the surface, not to object to what happened. Children in the adoption system landed there because of a tragedy and need to be placed in a home with as few complications as possible. A same-sex couple brings moral controversy and also lacks either a father or a mother, to which every child has a right.
There are long waiting lists for heterosexual couples who want to adopt. If the list runs dry, the adoption agency’s job is to recruit appropriate homes, not scout for available children to satisfy gay couples. Adoption professionals need to get off their rumps and look for functional heterosexual homes for children in need–in other words, do their job — rather than sit in their office collecting bribes from gay couples impatient to find available babies to take home.
If we’re talking about lesbians who went to a sperm bank, that’s wrong. The child has no father in the home. If the child knows who donated the sperm, there’s a third party destabilizing the home and often confusing the child’s identity and emotional connections. If the child doesn’t even know who the sperm donor was, that’s a haunting origin mystery that no person should have to carry for their whole life. Lesbians who do this are selfish.
If we’re talking about gay men who hired a surrogate mother, that’s unconscionable. It is illegal after the abolition of slavery to buy, sell, or traffic human beings, so the entire business of surrogacy represents a massive lapse in the moral judgment of twenty-first-century civilized societies. In the case of this gay male couple, they are denying the child a mother, plus forcing the child to imagine the primal trauma of having been sold.
But I’ve commented on all these things a million times. I’d like to add something new here: the six most offensive things about same-sex parenting advocates.
1. Social science says you have no disadvantages being raised by a same-sex couple, so shut up and be grateful. On Al-Jazeera last night, I had to be on a panel with yet another “expert” on adoption who talked about the “thirty years of research” proving that children of same-sex couples “have no disadvantages.” I don’t play this game anymore; nowadays I cut right to the chase and say, “the metrics are vague, those studies measure superficial things like ‘do your parents listen to you?’, and anyways I’m not a statistic.”
There is no way to attach a number value to a mom or a dad, just as you cannot attach a number value to a human life. Social scientists who tout these data do so, in order to shield the gay couples from criticism for having stripped their children of a father or a mother. Following the logic of the social scientists, the experts have the authority to force children to ignore their sense of loss at not having a mom or dad. In fact, the kids are cast as ungrateful or having personality problems of their own if they feel like they lost out, since all the studies say they didn’t miss out on anything at all.
You can’t put a price tag on motherhood or fatherhood. Nor can you calculate what losing those things means to a kid. To Hades with social science.
We are not statistics.
2. Gay couples who want kids have become entitled, bossy, and self-righteous, and nobody seems willing to challenge them. When I hear same-sex couples say they need to have a “right” to adopt, the way a person has a “right” to a tax refund, I want to puke. One lesbian couple sent a video message to al-Jazeera showing off the baby they just adopted, and whining that because of homophobia, they weren’t allowed to adopt a second one.
Give me a break, gals. I only have one kid, and I became a father the right way, by building a relationship with my child’s mother and raising her with her mother in a loving relationship. I would have loved to have a second child, but we didn’t get pregnant for several years and then my wife decided she didn’t want to have any more. So I devoted myself to the child I had and was responsible for.
Do you really think your civil rights are violated because you refused to live with a man, strong-armed adoption authorities to give you a baby even though there was no father in the house, and then couldn’t get a second one?
The entitlement. The selfishness. The narcissism. The arrogance. I long for the days when the gay community’s visceral struggles kept them somewhat down-to-earth and humble. I never imagined the community I grew up in would end up becoming such a tribe of self-centered brats.
People aren’t property. There is no such thing as a right to adopt. Society doesn’t need to fulfill your desire to have children. And don’t tell me it’s about love. If you want someone to love and you want it right now, and you don’t want to make compromises with your life goals and build a life with the opposite sex, then you shouldn’t be in the business of acquiring a human being.
Go to a dog pound and pick up a puppy.
3. Too many gay couples use their children as human shields. Stop trotting out your kids when it’s time to testify at a hearing. Stop inviting photojournalists to do pictorial essays of your family. Stop showing off to everyone that you’re a same-sex couple with kids.
You know what’s really annoying, when heterosexuals do it? Demanding that people give you things based on the fact that you have children. Exploiting them, in other words. Like when you hold everyone at Thanksgiving hostage by saying that now you and your lesbian lover have kids, so everyone has to refrain from making any references to religion, and you have to be given first-class treatment by everyone all night. Like when you say that you need to be given civil marriage status because you have children.
4. Too many gay couples and their allies assume that the kids are happy with what’s going on. You made a decision to deny a child the experience of having a mother or father. Think about how many moments that thought will cross your child’s mind — these people who raised me just assumed I’d never need the parent of the opposite sex. And if I don’t love them for having done this to me, I don’t get to eat.
Do you have any idea how hard it is for some kids to face this reality about the people raising them? Nobody wants to think ill of the people who love them. Nobody wants to see that love cut off as punishment for not feeling the way that their guardians expect — that is, grateful, loyal, and happy about being stuck in a household with two selfish lesbians or two selfish gay men who want everyone to validate their relationship with each other, and never do anything to validate the emotional ties between a child and a child’s mother and father. He was just some guy who masturbated at a sperm bank, why do you care about who he was? She was just some poor woman in Hyderabad, India, who took $7,000 to hand you over to me along with a few gallons of breast milk — why should you care about who she was? WE’RE YOUR REAL PARENTS?
Which brings me to #5:
5. Gay couples with children tend to have totally different standards for themselves and the children they raise.
For the gay couple with children, civil unions aren’t enough. They must get the top of the lines — marriage! First-class status. Everything that straight people get. That’s usually why they have kids in the first place. It’s part of not losing out on anything.
The gay couple insists that everyone respect their internal emotional compass and vindicate their loving ties to the most important people in their lives — i.e., their same-sex partners and their children.
For the children, a bowl of porridge and a wooden spoon are good enough. The emotionally fraught kinship bonds that beckon them to the missing biological parent, and the missing cousins and siblings tied to that missing parent, are like litter to be left at the curb on garbage day.
When challenged, here is what the gay couple will often say: You can’t expect me to have to live with the opposite sex, when that’s not who I am. Who are you to ask that of me? You’re just a kid. I won’t give that up for you.
Instead of the gay adult giving up homosexuality and a gay lover for the sake of a child, the child must give up a father or mother.
And gay couples intoxicated with this same-sex parenting fad don’t even see the contradictions. It’s sickening.
6. None of this was necessary.
All of the complications, strains, discomforts, primal trauma, emotional abuses, hypocrisies, and pushiness that go along with #1-5, were totally uncalled for. Nobody forced gay couples to do this. Nobody needed gay couples to do this. The universe would have been better had they not bullied everyone around them into accepting these horrible social costs and collateral damage.
It was all because of something the gay couple wanted. And like leg warmers, the Berlin Wall, and pet rocks, same-sex parenting will pass as a long-forgotten fad one day. The yuppies who came up with this idea in leftie enclaves like Austin, Texas, and Berkeley, California, will be dead, and their grandchildren will be agonizing over the broken branches of the strange family trees passed down to them.
All for whims and indulgences that will mean little to the ones who created the mess, and mean quite a lot to those who will be left cleaning it up.
First published Nov. 2013
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.