Modern Issues of Gay Parenting

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The other Sunday, Andy and I had taken the kids out for a much needed morning stroll and I kept noticing Sebastian in a serious gaze — staring at Andy, then rotating his head slowly towards me. He would repeat this action for quite some time — I could have sworn he was thinking, “Wow — I have two dads! My brother and I are so lucky.”

Our modern family is living in this mecca of a city called New York City, where anything and everything goes and for the most part is acceptable. We know that outside this amazing and fortunate bubble, lies a world that may not be as understanding. As there is amazing change for equality now and on the horizon, education on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender subject matter, as a whole, is paramount, specifically when it pertains to parenting. Two themes — with enormous myths surrounding them — pertain to gay parenting and the children’s outcome in this specific environment. We will attempt to dissect the former; the modern issues of gay parenting.

People have serious concern for refuting the norm — to deviate from the status quo creates fear. As in the movie “A Single Man” by Tom Ford, the lead character George, played so eloquently by Collin Firth, lectures on the condition of minorities stating “a minority is only thought of as one, when it constitutes some kind of threat to the majority. A real threat or an imagined one and there in lies the fear. That fear is why the minority is persecuted; you see there always is a cause, the cause is fear…minorities are just people.” 

In the 2010 United States Census, approximately 600,000 same-sex couples lived in the United States, that being nationally about 1 percent. Out of the 600,000, 20% or so reported having children. Despite the significant presence, there continues to be several major concerns about gay parenting. These include the notion of homosexuality as being a mental illness, gay parents having less maternal instinct than the heterosexual counterpart, and the gay lifestyle leaving little time for developing relationships with their children. 

Recent studies and consensus statements in leading academic societies document the below refuting the above. Homosexuality is not a psychological disorder and there is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning. Beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation, with gay parenting not differing in their approaches to child rearing than the society norm. Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners. There is no scientific basis for concluding that gay parents are unfit on the basis of their sexual orientation. On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.

Our roles — mine, Andy’s and our nanny — fits all the roles and then some, in terms of providing the most nurturing environment for our children. In simple terms, we have evolved to take different tasks that just need to be done. And we do it to the best of our ability with love and pride. Boy can I change a mean diaper, but forget about me in the kitchen. Andy’s the Rachel Ray type — not that he’s a women — he could just as well be Mario Batalle. I just made the reference since he whips up a meal in thirty minutes or less. Remember, we both are full time professionals. 

The modern family consists of individuals — of human beings that wake up every morning to better their family and themselves, and believe me, any parent — regardless of sex and orientation — knows the pride you feel when your child just smiles. That’s priceless and is not defined by anything more than that.

This minority of being gay that George talks about — Andy, me and all same-sex parents — are pleading for all the same rights and acceptance. Culture has made so many amazing strides to redefine the norm. It is through education that we can continue this progress. Television shows like “The New Normal” and “Modern Family” through comedic measures, build fictional characters that people can associate with. And it is with great honour that I can allow you a glimpse into our family, just wanting to be viewed as loving parents. Loving parents trying to redefine the norm.

I am about to get off the train in East Hampton and experience that smile — to all the parents, enjoy! 

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