“People have asked us if it’s hard on the kids having gay dads. Well, it’s easier to get along in our culture if you’re Christian, but does that mean that we Jewish folks should raise our kids Christian? Should black people not have children because bigotry will make their lives too rough? Hogwash!”-Michael Serkin-Poole, gay father
What an interesting take on the issue of gay families and that familiar argument that children will be oppressed and come out all twisted and ugly from having gay parents (I am, of course, exaggerating here, but I’m sure there has been some right wing Conservative type who has said something similar). There is oppression, and life is hard. Kids get picked on for wearing the ‘wrong’ kind of clothes, or not having their hair cut in the latest style, or for not having a ‘cool’ car, or lunch box (though kids probably don’t use those anymore…ignore my ignorance!). It sucks, but it happens. No matter how you raise your kids, they’re probably going to get harassed at some point over something. It’s the nature of the beast.
I guess the point is that we can’t protect our children from all forms of harassment and oppression unless we keep them under lock and key at all times…and that’s not an option. Kids these days have it hard, no doubt. They have pressures from all around, and the expectations from society and from their parents are huge. This seems like a sound argument, because with all of the pressures kids already have, it seems logical that we’d want to avoid extra ones at all costs. The problem is that growing up in a heterosexual house, or a Christian one, or a Jewish one (or in whatever idyllic setting you might dream up) will never guarantee safety, or happiness, just as growing up in a gay house doesn’t guarantee oppression. There are too many variables to consider, even in the best and most limited of circumstances. What if a kid grows up with white, Christian, heterosexual, supposedly ‘normal’ parents who have done an awesome job raising them, instilling all the ‘right’ values, giving them the best experiences life has to offer…and then they come in contact with someone who hates all those things? Or what if that same kid turns out to be gay, or transgender?
There’s no getting around it. Life is hard. But maybe, just maybe, if we approach parenting emphasizing strengths, resiliency, and growth, we can help our kids live with empowerment and dignity, whether their parents are gay, straight, transgender, Christian, Jewish…the list goes on. The parents’ sexual orientation (or race, religion, etc) isn’t the issue at all.