This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.
Many of you are familiar with him from Livejournal, as well
as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here.
Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from
Parenting is very much in the news over hear
at the moment, what with Kate’s pregnancy becoming an all-consuming
obsession of truly epic proportions. And I have a lot of feelings around
Firstly, I’m not exactly jumping for joy
for the same reason that I wasn’t jumping for joy about their wedding.
I don’t wish either of them ill, but nor am I going to join in something
that is so utterly and completely dependent on them being straight –
because we know if it were 2 princesses or 2 princes up there announcing
their upcoming baby, there wouldn’t be this fawning adoration, no
But this leads to my general thoughts about
parenting and the hugely thorny issue it is with me and GBLT people
Not least of which is my still trying to unlearn
enough bullshit to consider myself as a parent. This is one of the problems
of growing up in a homophobic society, you learn all kinds of negative
lies about yourself that then need to be brought down. In my head I
can’t consider parenting as more than an abstract because I have always
always always been told that it was an utter impossibility to me.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, the powers that
be continue that meme. How many times during the battles for marriage
equality have the bigots used children as a red herring? How marriage
is for the raising of children and how could we forget that? Because
we never ever have kids, right? Or Tory MP David Davies (who takes a
prize for the worst gay friend excuse with “I’m not homophobic,
I once punched a gay man”) who thinks most parents don’t want gay
children because, among other reasons, they want grandchildren. Because
I could never produce grandchildren for my parents.
I’m bitter about that. I’m bitter that
the message has been so pounded into me that I may never dig it out.
I’m bitter that, because of homophobia and homophobia caused mental
illness, many doors to parenthood are going to be blocked for me anyway.
I’m angry that we still have bigot after
bigot calling us bad parents, despite study after study showing clearly
that we’re as good or better than straight parents. I’m furious
that these studies were even started, furious that the question was
even in doubt and not dismissed out of hand as the ridiculous bigotry
it is. I’m beyond frustrated that, despite all this, it’s STILL
considered “conventional wisdom” that 2 opposite sex parents are
the utter ideal for a child and any other family is harmful and abusive
at worst or “less ideal” at best.
And I’m really really sick about straight
opinions on our families, that our families are considered controversial.
I’m beyond pissed that the BBC decided to interview a Hate Group
leader about Elton John and David Furnish’s child for “balance.”
Or Oprah deciding it’s appropriate to ask Neil Patrick Harris and
David Burtka which father is more “maternal” and talk about the
“weirdly scientific way they were born”.
In fact, it’s probably a good thing I’m
not a father yet, because just the briefest glance on straight commentary
on our parenthood already makes me rage. Straight curiosity and specialness
demands that they ask questions that are none of their damn business,
demand answers they have no right to and offer judgement they’re in
no position to make.
I am tired of straight people demanding to
know “how” our children are born, whether they’re adopted
or surrogates or sperm donations. I am tired of them asking after the
“real” parents or asking which parent is the “biological
parent”. Like any of that is even remotely their business. These are
questions they wouldn’t dream of asking straight parents –
straight parents are parents, the details and legitimacy of that parenthood
are rarely questioned.
I am tired of straight people presuming to
judge the parenting of GBLT people. What kind of arrogant, privileged
fool do you have to be to decide you get to have an opinion on which
member of a lesbian couple is the one to become pregnant? Who the hell
are you to decide whose sperm they should use? Who asked you your opinion
on what route a gay male couple took to have kids? How is this remotely
your business? In the name of all that is even remotely decent, who
do you think you are to decide you know their family well enough to
judge how and why they have kids?
If you did this to a straight couple they’d slap you upside the head
and most people would be more than willing to hold their coats while
It’s the height of privileged arrogance.
When GBLT people have kids, you know what you say? You say “congratulations!”
Or you mock them for the sleep deprivation and wall to wall mess they
have to clean up – just like you would straight people. If you have
anything else to say – zip it. It’s not your family, not your business
and you’re talking shit about someone’s bloody kids for crying out
loud – that’s a step beyond trash talking someone’s parents! Were
you born with no manners at all – or do you just think GBLT people
aren’t due common courtesy?