I’m always happy when someone reposts my piece How to Talk to Your Children About Gay Parents, by a Gay Parent. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve posted here, and I tend to hear back some really amazing things as well as gain some super cool new followers every time it gets spread to some other corner of the internet.
Previously, the piece was featured on sites like the Today Show, Lifetime Moms and the Good Men Project. Just this week, two more very popular sites reblogged it, garnering it a bunch of fresh traffic. First, it ran on one of my favorite parenting blogs, Scary Mommy. If you don’t already know Scary Mommy, you should go there right now. It’s full of hilarity, top-notch writing and all kinds of wonderful things.
Scary Mommy has amazing readers, who’ve so far shared my post almost 10,000 times on Facebook(!) One person who read it over there works for the popular Australian news site News.com.au, and she asked if she could rerun it on that site as well.
They apparently put it on the front page, which brought it a lot of attention. If you read the comments on that site, you’ll see the response was not quite as positive as it’s been on other sites. I have no idea if News.com.au’s readership leans conservative or if this is representative of how most people Down Under view families like mine. Either way, I’m really grateful they ran my post because I’d rather this topic be discussed than ignored, and at least I put the subject in a few people’s minds.
My original piece wasn’t intended to defend my family or to convert homophobes. (For that, try this post instead.) It was aimed at sympathetic straight parents. However, to the detractors on news.com.au and elsewhere, I’ll say this:
Families with gay parents aren’t going away. You can say “Every child needs a mother and a father” all you want, but at some point, you’ll need to accept that you live in a world where not every child is going to have one. They might have none — or two. The only family you get to assemble is your own. Do with it what you will. You can either try to live peacefully with those who make different choices or remain cranky and increasingly isolated. You can tsk, tsk and say “Those poor kids,” but your pity and bigotry does more to harm my children than having two dads who think they’re the greatest kids in the world ever could.
I’ve read plenty of comments, on the other hand, that made valid criticisms. In the hopes that my piece will continue to be shared, I’ve decided to do a few minor revisions to take those into account.
The first is my mockery of the word “queer” in this line from the original piece:
You could also use the word “queer”, I guess, but then your kids and I will just think you’re a pretentious dweeb.
Most people, even those who self-identify as “queer” seem to have taken it as the harmless joke it was meant to be. Others took serious offense, and that’s something I never intended. The theme of the piece is tolerance and inclusiveness, and if anyone felt slighted by that line, I apologize. I admit my impression of the word “queer” as being pretentious dweebery is probably 20 years out of date. People self-identify as “queer” for a variety of very valid personal reasons, and I don’t want to make light of that.
I’ve removed that joke from the post. The Brainy Smurf joke is a better closer anyway.
Second, a few people have taken issue with me saying, “Every child ends up with the right parents for them” when we know how many kids in this world are abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated by their parents. It’s a fair point, so I’ve changed that statement to “It’s love that makes a family”. That way you can help explain nontraditional families without also validating abusive ones.
Lastly, I made a few minor tweaks just to make the piece more evergreen and universal. I never expected people on other continents would read my blog, and not all of them know what Grand Central Station is.
If you want to reblog the post from this point on, I ask that you use the newer version. Just to restate my reblogging policy:
Anyone is welcome to repost anything on this site anywhere, provided they credit me and link back to the original post on my domain. (Something along the lines of this would be great: “This piece, by Jerry Mahoney, originally appeared on his blog “Mommy Man: Adventures of a Gay Superdad“. I request that you use the “Contact Me” page to let me know when you’re going to reblog something. I love to check out my work on other people’s sites, however big or small their audience, and I may even be able to send some traffic your way by sharing your link.
To share any of my posts on your social networks, just click the corresponding button (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) at the bottom of the post and it does everything necessary for you.
If you quote excerpts, please link back to the full piece.
If you link me without reposting the entire piece and say, “Hey, go read this guy’s site! It’s great!”, then you’re awesome and I like you.
Aw, shucks. I like all of you! And I still can’t wait to visit Australia someday.
I’m behalf of Australia, I’m sorry. I’m an Australian and peoples sexuality doesn’t bother me. Those comments on the news.com.Au site were very hurtful to everyone. I was raised by a single mother and I hate it when people say that a child must have a mother and father, like my upbringing was wrong. Your children seem so cute and awesome, keep doing what you’re doing 🙂
Thanks. I’m glad to hear that the response wasn’t typical of Aussies’ attitudes on the subject — not so much for my sake but for the sake of gay parents and all nontraditional families in your country. Props to your single mom, and you too!
That post deserves to be shared a million times over. It is funny, insightful, well written, and is a valuable parenting resource all in one. Thanks for helping a straight mommy out.
Love it! Also, love that my middle daughter is teaching my mother that her best friend has 2 moms and that is ok. Even better is being able to say to my youngest daughter “you can marry whomever you want” when she told me that some kid at school told her she couldn’t marry a girl. I totally relate to your blog and laugh out loud a lot. I don’t like it because you are gay. I like it because you rock at fatherhood!
Thanks! It’s nice being able to tell our kids they can marry whomever they want, isn’t it? The whole “boys marry girls, girls marry boys” thing isn’t even true anymore (well, depending on where you live, I guess).
I still remember the first time I read that post; it was the one that made me aware of you and your family in the first place. I couldn’t be happier that your work is reaching such a vast audience. It’s people like you who are truly changing the world.
Thanks for the comment. I’ll settle for changing Australia. 😉
News.com.au is only slightly less conservative than Fox News. I’m stunned they ran your piece, but please don’t think the ghastly comments are representative of the broader Australian public.
Thanks for posting that, Conrad. It’s good to hear the site is known to be conservative. Still not great hearing those comments, but I’m glad they’re not typical. It speaks well of news.com.au that they were willing to run my piece, though, knowing they might get those reactions.
As another Aussie, shame on us. Ot rather shame on those nasty commenters. W are generally a kind and loving, tolerant people’s. But the bogan and ignorant will rise regardless. Love this post, I never saw it the first time round, so was a lovely read after so many months of getting to know you otherwise. 🙂
Thanks, and don’t worry. I still find your country and its culture completely adorable. G’day and all that!
i was linked to that article on News.com via Gay Marriage Rights in Australia (http://www.facebook.com/GMRA1 which is how i landed here). and was shocked at those comments, they are not at all a representation of the Australia i know and love (although i am painfully aware that there is intolerant and bigoted people in Australia). i was going to make the same comment that conrad made about fox news. i think your article was excellent and very well written (however i am also very pleased to see the amendment to “Every child ends up with the right parents for them”).
Thanks. We have plenty of intolerant kooks in America, too, so I would never judge Australia for that.
As an Aussie, I am sorry that this was your experience with being published on an Australian “news” site. I am so happy that you were published, but as usual, there are those few conservative people (an ignorant but unfortunately LOUD minority) who leave a sour taste. For example, in my hometown there was talk of a mardi gras/pride parade tradition to possibly be a new annual local event. A few outspoken bigots from the ‘church’ bombarded the local newspapers and the council with their negative views and I’ve never heard about it since. So sad, as most of the people I know (and it’s not THAT big a place – maybe 2 degrees of separation) are supportive and equality minded 😦
I myself have lost followers on my Facebook page when showing my support for gay marriage – but that’s their loss!
I was adopted as a baby. Sure, I have a mum and dad now, but I grew up knowing that families can come together in so many different ways and have many different dynamics, but the same amount of absolute love and support.
Again, as an Aussie reader I just want to say that what you are doing is so good. Your article is very important x
Thanks, Kez. Sorry about the pride celebration in your town. I guess it’s a good sign that a conservative website in your country ran an article like mine. Hopefully, things are changing. 🙂
I found your blog from News.com.au, it’s a great article and one that I’ll remember when my daughter will inevitably ask those questions too when she gets a little older.
And I’d like to echo the same comments from fellow Aussies who have left a comment on your blog – it’s not representative of Australian society, the vast majority of us are a tolerant, accepting and easy going bunch!
Great to see another Daddy blogger as well, a well written and entertaining blog!
Thanks, Vic. The comments on this blog more than make up for the commenters on the news.com.au site. I love the Aussies!