ourfamily

So What If My Kids Are Gay?

ourfamilyI forget sometimes what outdated attitudes still linger outside of this nice little gay-friendly bubble in which I spend most of my life. Earlier this week, I recorded a podcast called Dadsaster. The topic was Gay Dads, and I was the gay dad they interviewed. I was a little surprised to discover that after interviewing me, the hosts were set to question a member of the anti-gay Family Research Council, as if “Gay Dads” was a topic that required a pro-and-con debate.

To me, the only thing anyone needs to ask the FRC is, “Why can’t you lay off gay dads, you obsessive creeps?” Maybe that was on their question list. I’m not sure.

What really surprised me was when the hosts, two straight dads — who were very polite and respectful, I should point out — said, “One of the questions people have is, are your kids more likely to be gay because they’re being raised by gay parents?”

It’s a question you hear all the time, which is what’s so maddening about it, because it’s a very easily answered question. Plenty of gays before me have explained very patiently and intelligently that they grew up with straight parents, but they still turned out gay, so why would anyone assume that my kids are going to be gay just because their parents are? That’s exactly the answer I found myself giving, yet I’m sure there are still plenty of people who will willfully choose to ignore that logic.

So now, with two days’ distance from the discussion, I’d like to offer another, more decisive answer to the question of whether my kids are more likely to turn out gay.

So what if they are?

The host prefaced his question by saying, “I don’t think it’s homophobic to suggest this.”

Wrong.

That’s exactly what it is, because the implication behind it is that it’s somehow bad or undesirable if your kids turn out gay. As a kid who turned out gay, I refuse to accept that.

Let’s say, despite all common sense, that gay parents were more likely to raise gay kids. So does that mean we shouldn’t be allowed to have families? Because the world would have — gasp — more gay people as a result? Nevermind that these would be happy, well-adjusted gay people raised by loving families. Just the fact that they were gay would suggest to some people that they weren’t parented properly.

And that’s not a homophobic position?

If we’re ever going to move beyond homophobia, we need to get over the notion that parents can or should steer their children in one direction or the other. We also need to stop making LGBTQ people prove their worth as parents. I initially asked the hosts if I could stick around and ask the FRC representative a few questions of my own. They declined, but when I thought about it, I didn’t really have anything to say to him or her anyway.

Who cares what those people think? They’re not going to stop me from having kids, and I’m damn sure not going to let my kids experience their bigotry as anything other than an amusing sideshow to our perfectly content lives. In a world that increasingly recognizes the anti-gay family brigade for the lunatics they are, they’re just fighting for relevance on whatever podcast or Fox News show will still have them on, so let them spew their hate. I’ll just continue to change the channel.

Before our kids were born, Drew and I speculated a lot about what they would be like. One day, Drew surprised me by saying he hoped they wouldn’t be gay. He was worried life would be harder for them — the same thing many straight parents say when speculating about their kids — and that if we raised a gay kid, it’d somehow lend credence to people’s fears about LGBTQ parents.

I know he doesn’t feel that way anymore, in part because our kids aren’t hypothetical anymore. They’re Bennett and Sutton, and they’re going to be who they are, and our job as parents is to make them happy, not to make them fit some notion of what the Family Research Council thinks kids should be.

Personally, I think it’d be fantastic if my kids were gay. You know what else would be fantastic? If they’re straight. Or bi. Or trans. Or jocks. Or bookworms. Or bookish jocks. Or whoever they happen to be, because whoever they are, Drew and I are going to do everything we can to make sure they’re comfortable with themselves and to let them know that their dads love them precisely because of who they are, not in spite of it.

Are gay parents more likely to raise gay kids? I don’t think so.

Kids who feel loved and supported, though? In a lot of cases, you bet they are.

UPDATE: The Dadsaster podcast is now up. You can listen to it here. It sounds like the FRC rep bailed on them, which is all for the best. In addition to me, they also interview Scout Masterson, one of the Guncles from “Tori & Dean.” It’s a good show. You should check it out.

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Thanks for making it to the end of my rant. If you like it, please share it! And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to this blog, like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. And, I don’t know, if you see me on the street, give a friendly wave maybe? That’d be nice.

50 comments on “So What If My Kids Are Gay?

  1. I think gay parents have an advantage over straight parents – they have CHOSEN to be parents. Many straight people have a “Woops!” baby, but gay people generally have to have a big commitment and desire before they have a child. I think this conscious choice is a big factor in being a great parent.

  2. I find in exhausting that there are people still thinking these conversations need to be had. The worst part is that they probably felt pretty proud of themselves for discussing such an “important” and “taboo” topic. Ugggghhh.
    Good for you for putting it all in its proper perspective, off your radar. Who cares what the bigots and the ignorants of the world think. Let them wallow in their muck while you love your children and revel in their beauty.

  3. Kim and I had the same discussion about our daughter, where she said she hoped that Punky didn’t end up gay. The real reason was it IS harder for gay people right now and I think she wanted to make sure we didn’t ‘prove someone right’ – in the end, Punky loves trucks and cars and the color blue and we couldn’t be happier. If she turns out to be creatively playing at one or a lesbian should make no difference, and hopefully by the time it matters for her – things won’t be so tough! You are absolutely right, happy healthy kids, that’s what gay parents raise.

  4. Right with you! If there’s one thing that’s really been getting to me lately it’s homophobia, it’s everywhere and it makes me really angry. And I’m not even gay. You’ve just put down some of the exact thoughts I’ve been having over the past week. Thank you. What got me started was a video on YouTube about a little boy who has two Mum’s and who was getting bullied at school. Although the video made me angry towards the bullies, the comments underneath the video really got me going. It just shocks me that there are so many small minded people and when grown men and women post comments like “no wonder he gets bullied, he’s a faggot” “that’s what happens to kids who grow up in a same sex environment” on a video about a little boy who gets bullied, it just really astounds me.
    If these so called Christians really were Christian, would they not accept anyone, however different they are?

  5. Gay parents have exactly the same chance of having gay or straight kids or anything else. What they probably have a higher chance of having is a child who is comfortable and secure enough to come out at an earlier age. The children who are gay have a better chance of living a happy life with a person they truly love rather than pretending with someone they hope can change them into the person they think their parents want them to be. Straight people probably have a higher chance of having closeted gay kids living a lie in order to conform to a society they perceive (correctly or not) to disapprove of thire true selves.

  6. My brother is gay. I wouldn’t change a hair on his head. I have three girls and a boy. I want just one thing for them. That they are happy. Who they love is certainly not anything I’d worry about.

  7. It saddens me to think that we still have so far to go in regards to acceptance. I suppose we have come leaps & bounds from our past generations but I too, am stunned at the ignorance of so many. I admire how you & Drew are raising your children, they can only benefit from total acceptance from the parents regardless of their choices in regards to their sexuality. You inspire me to with your perspective!

  8. Love this post! I definitely agree that children do not have to become gay or ‘more likely’ to become gay if they are raised with two fathers. More important, as long as every human being is raised with love, respect and according to you, grew up with the feeling that they should feel comfortable with themselves. That is all that matters.

    Hope you will visit my blog about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights too! Your opinion will be highly appreciated. http://www.fight4lgbtrights.wordpress.com

  9. It comes down to this under riding fear that being gay is something that can be “caught.” Like a disease or something. People aren’t past that yet. Hopefully, some day they will be. But there are still people out there who think that interracial unions are a frightful abomination. What is lost in all this fuss, worry, and hyperbole, is that children from bi and racially homogenous unions all too often turn out messed up, unloved, and unlovable. It is not the nature of the union that screws up the child. It is the home life, the support system, the inability to love unconditionally that screws up the child.

  10. :) I really love this article. My daughter is going to grow up know she is always accepted and loved for who she is. I hate the negativity towards gay people. Especially gay parents. Kids need loving, nurturing parents… Whether it’s a mom and a dad, two dads, or two moms!!

  11. Wholehearted agreement, obviously :)

    I think the comment that “we need to get over the notion that parents can or should steer their children in one direction or the other” is applicable to… well, pretty much everything when it comes to a kid’s identity, too.

    People have stopped batting their eyes so much at single parents. Nobody asks the question “are kids of single parents more likely to become single parents themselves?” or “are kids of single parents more likely to become asexual?” Because disparaging single parents has become fairly taboo, and it’s obvious that “condition of parent” does not concrete in place “condition of child.”

    I like that apparently, the current Catholic pope has tried to make a point of saying, “hey, can we lay off the concern about homosexuality and turn our energy back towards things like, oh, say, *poverty*???” Seriously. Even if the Catholic/Christian church views homosexuality as a “sin,” it also views a hell of a lot of other things as sins too, and I don’t see any such attention being given to talking about whether slothful people should be allowed to be parents, or greedy people should be allowed to be parents, or prideful people should be allowed to be parents.

    Oh hey – sloth, greed, pride… aren’t those all on that list called the SEVEN DEADLY SINS??? And you know what’s NOT on that list?

    Homosexuality.

  12. I watched a great doco – I think it was called “Growing up Gayby” and the film maker is a child of gay parents. In it, she raised this issue and I loved that she said that it shouldn’t be an issue or a question in the first place! So right! Why are we all asking this damn question? What does it matter?! So what if all gay parents all raised gay children? Not likely of course haha, but SO WHAT IF THEY DID? There would be NOTHING wrong with that!!!

  13. i am patiently waiting for the blog post that answers the question: ‘so what if my kids have chapped lips.’

    because our kids do. And that picture illuminates that fact pretty clearly.

    Get on it, Jerry.

  14. As if anyone has any say over this matter anyway. People are BORN who they are. It matters not what their parents are or aren’t!

  15. I’ve been a silent reader for your blog for awhile…I love every post, and frequently read all of the comments as well. This is my first comment, as this post really resonates with something I’ve been thinking all along. I am a straight woman, though not that it really matters, and I’ve always been perplexed by the “born gay” debate in a similar way that you’re perplexed by the “are gay parents more likely to make gay kids?” debate. My answer is precisely what you suggest: who cares? It is your life, and whether you felt this way since you were in the womb or woke up one morning and decided you needed a change, who is anyone else to stand in you way?

    In my opinion, the “born this way” debate is exactly the same as your above example…pro-gay advocates actively stand on the genetics side of the debate (as they do the “my kids aren’t any more likely to be gay than yours” debate), and understandably so. However, whether this is the case or not, there is a distinct implication behind the entire debate in itself, in that it suggests that it IS okay to be gay ONLY because you can’t help it. Because if it WAS a choice, everyone would and should choose to be straight. Stupidity!

    Thank you for always providing a great midday pick-me-up with your posts!

  16. I wonder if the same people who suggest that gay dads will raise gay kids are concerned that I (being a different race from my children) will raise “white kids” instead of the African-American kids they are.

    Somehow, I think those groups would be okay with that.

  17. I highly doubt kids with gay parents are most likely to be gay. BUT if they DO turn out to be gay, they are probably less likely to go through all the worries of wondering what their parents will think and whether their families will accept them. And whether they are gay or straight, they’ll have great role models for parents, to teach them to accept themselves however they are!

  18. “Drew and I are going to do everything we can to make sure they’re comfortable with themselves and to let them know that their dads love them precisely because of who they are, not in spite of it.” What a great Dad attitude. I hope many tune in and take it to heart. Much happiness to you and your family.

  19. My partner and I are currently weaving dreams of being parents. Currently in India (where even being gay is currently a criminal offence), we will have to emigrate I’m guessing for our dreams to come true. Random surfing on the internet brought me to your blog. Thank you so much. Its wonderful and inspiring to read your posts.

    You guys look like such a happy, lovely family. Big love from Bombay. :)

    • Thanks for the comment — I’m so glad you found the blog, and so sorry to hear about the way things are going for LGBTQ people in your country. I really hope India sees the light and that you and Monsieur can fulfill your dreams of being dads. It’s awesome. Big love from the US. :)

  20. I think this is an interesting question, more because it seems so stupid. I guess people equate being LGBT as the same as the cycle of violence or something equally awful. It’s like when people say I’m poisoning my children by being a single mom and have no stepdad prospects on the horizon. I’m somehow teaching them to become some kind of stereotype. It’s such flawed logic, but I guess the misinformed will attempt to understand using flawed logic.

    My almost seven year old tells me that she’s going to marry a girl all of the time and my mom freaks out and I go “That’s nice dear, go play with your Frozen dolls.” I tell her that her being gay is no different than her eyes being blue, it’s just what is. There is nothing wrong with being gay, or raising a family with two moms or two dads, or a single parent, or grandparents or whatever. They’re all family. When people ask stupid questions about family, direct them to Lilo & Stitch. Stitch gets it. Keep being amazing Jerry.

    • Sounds like you have a great attitude. My kids sometimes say they’re going to marry someone of the same sex and sometimes they say it’ll be someone of the opposite sex. I figure they have plenty of time to figure it out, and the important thing is just for them to know that I want them to be happy.

  21. Our twins are about a year older than yours, looks like, and I couldn’t agree more how little it matters to us what sexual orientation either has. My suspicion is that they each (a boy and a girl) will identify as straight, but I don’t know that that feeling is based on anything more than the fact that most people identify as straight. I can’t see how growing up with two dads changes that. Anyway, great blog!

  22. I can’t stop reading this! I used to think, I hope my son is straight, but will I love him any less if he is gay? Hell no. That’s my baby, I made him with a little help from his daddy, and if he finds himself to be gay, the only thing he needs to do for me, is make damn sure I still become a grandma! I hope he never holds back who he is and is never afraid to tell me anything. And if he is straight, (the grandma thing always applies) then he will be accepting and supporting of the freedom to love whomever. Hopefully the gay/anti gay movements will be a piece of history by the time he is dating and we will be baffled over the fact it was ever an issue, like segregation, how weak minded were people to think that was okay? Thank you for being you Mommy Man!

    • Ha, great point! I think a lot of parents’ disappointment at their kids being gay came from the feeling that they’d never be grandparents. Good to know we live in a time (and in a country) when gay people CAN have kids, so that’s no longer an issue.

  23. My dad’s gay and I’m gay as well…. And I can’t agree more with your post. I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and will share with my dad later :) good stuff

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