Do we have to be amazingly-perfect-in-every-way parents because we’re gay? Do we have a higher bar of parenting standards to meet? If my kid does something wrong, will someone say “well, he’s the product of a gay parent household!?”
In honor of our upcoming Moms for Moms Day on March 4th, I am writing about a subject I knew I’d face, continue to be prepared for, brace myself for, but still must confess that I have a tough time staying strong with on occasion:
Being judged as a gay mom
Several months ago, a friend told me a story about a conversation she had with a youth coach. A parent made a comment aloud about the not-so-fabulous behavior of a kid on the team. The coach responded with “well, the kid has lesbian moms.”
I shouldn’t be shocked. Or should I?
Does the behavior of a child a direct reflection of the sexuality of the parent? Does a parent’s sexual orientation determine the quality of the parent? Isn’t this just a giant over-judgment on all accounts?
The reality is that homosexuality is still “different” to so many people right now. A not-so-good “different” not a “everyone is different and that makes the world a better place” different.
Being gay may be slowly getting a little easier in some places, but it’s still just downright dangerous in so many other places. Just in the past week, we’ve been inundated with shows of intolerance (Note: I dislike that word – I don’t feel that I need someone to “tolerate” me) and complete ignorance.
- The spotlight on Russia during the Olympics shined harshly on the anti-gay laws in that country. It made me feel torn about celebrating the Olympics, but the reality is that Russia is by far not the only country where being gay is “against the law” even to the point of facing cruel punishment or death.
- Homosexuality is illegal in 76 (more like 83) countries
- This week, more press was focused on anti-gay laws with the Uganda president signing a severe anti-gay law followed up by a Ugandan tabloid publishing a list of “homos” that are no doubt now in extreme danger for their lives.
- The attention on the Arizona law that, to me, would have made it legal to discriminate against someone because you don’t agree with who they are. I’d like to think that Governor Brewer vetoed the law because of her sense of decency and humankind, but I have a feeling it may have involved more of an economic decision
While the veto in Arizona was a victory, as well as the district court decision in Texas (Congrats to my Texan friends), it still so sharply emphasizes how far we have to go.
I’ve written before about what the DOMA Supreme Court decision means to my family.
I’ve written before about some of the humor in being a lesbian mom.
I’ve written about the compassion and acceptance and just overall non-discrimination we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing on many occasions in our community.
What I haven’t written about is the constant sting from the daily news and outside banter just spewing vitriol about who we are, how awful people like us are, how screwed up children of people like us will be, how horrible, wretched and plain disgusting WE are.
Yes, when news pundits and commentators are debating the gay lifestyle, they are talking about me. They are talking me and my family and many, many amazingly wonderful flesh and blood human beings.
I am raising my children in a world where we are making considerable progress but you still need a thick skin to be gay. If you “google” “studies on gay and lesbian parenting” you will get about 351,000 results. Most of these are research projects poking and prodding, asking and projecting, over-analyzing and critiquing how gays and lesbians are raising their children.
From what I can tell, it seems that outcomes “have more to do with the quality of parenting than the sexual orientation of the parents.” (Article published just this week)
Look, I’m a lesbian. I am a mom. My wife and I have a day-to-day existence pretty much like almost all the straight couples we know. We work hard, worry about money, read parenting magazines, joke about things we screw up, and try to raise our children to have a strong moral compass, work hard, to have compassion and social responsibility while also needing to be resilient and brave. We are also very different from almost all the straight couples we know because WE ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE, ALL OF US. That’s what makes this world great – a populace filled with human beings who are not all carbon copies of one another.
My boys are growing up in this world and while I’ve actually turned off the news in our home for now, they will most likely hear those words about how horrible, wretched and plain disgusting we are. They will probably hear people talk about how they (my boys) should or should not even exists and/or if their family should be called a “family” at all.
It’s something we will continue to rise above and build strength against, but it’s still there. We still hear it, we still have to dig deep to decide how we will handle it. And we will continue to raise our children with one simple notion, this:
A human being is a human being is a human being and every single one of them should be treated as a human being