This originally appeared on Mommy Man: Adventures Of A Gay Superdad. Republished here with permission.
I forget sometimes what outdated attitudes still linger outside of this nice little gay-friendly bubble in which I spend most of my life. Last month, 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 some 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.”
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.
Photo courtesy of the author.
Jerry Mahoney is a stay-home dad who blogs about his adventures at Mommy Man: Adventures of a Gay Superdad.