Huffington Post’s “Queer Voices” composed a beautiful essay-driven article titled “What’s Keeping You From Becoming An LGBT Parent?” The piece breaks down the statistics of how much of the community want to have kids, and why some of us are holding back. They exhibit an older analysis by the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law claiming, “that 50 percent of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians wanted to raise a child”.
There is a significant fear that LGBTQ people carry, when considering to adopt or have children. This is because of the scrutinized view from the ever-present “Alt Right” asserting that children raised by LGBTQ people develop into rough and sin-filled folk. Of course everyone, Homo or Hetero, has anxiety and dread about being a parent, whether you’re ready or not. It’s a big responsibility and everyone can’t help but wonder if they are going to screw up their kids as much as their parents screwed them up.
Now, more specifically to LGBT parents, let us not confuse common parenting self-doubts, with self-doubts about being LGBT parents. Understand the following three points and your self-doubts about being an LGBT parent should melt away:
1. Scientifically Proven – Not only have numerous scientific studies proven the value of LGBT parents years ago, but several have actually shown how well children excel when raised by LGBT parents. The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (www.nllfs.org) with 30 years of research is just one very solid example.
2. Truth Eventually Wins – There is no better antidote to fear and ignorance than truth. Rumors and gossip are more quickly extinguished when faced with honesty and openness. So, while all parents should, it is especially true that LGBT parents need to prepare and provide our children and with the tools to speak out for mutual respect and acceptance.
3. Foster Children Need Us – With the numbers of children in foster care rising and numbers of foster homes falling, RaiseAChild has always believed in the most logical approach to solving our nation’s foster care crisis. Our country needs all capable prospective parents to stand up for children, not just a select demographic. The population of foster and homeless children is diverse. In turn, RaiseAChild works to improve outcomes for foster children by building families through community partnerships regardless of race, religion, sexual identity, economic or marital status. (Via Huffington Post)
Now I have some solid evidence that children who are raised by LGBTQ are successful and are not impish messes. How do I have this proof? Because I’m a child of a Gay family.
I was adopted when I was seven months old in Chicago, and gracefully whisked away to a ranch house in the Indiana dunes. There, my parents initiated our family, but we soon came to realize that the Mid-West might not be ready for our inter-racial queer household. So, we hopped on a plane to the more liberal Los Angeles and never looked back.
My childhood was one of the most artistically enriching and culturally aware of my friends. My parents valued the arts and camp over anything else, so my youth was filled with musicals, art museums, Drag parties, and sometimes “Bear” parties as well. I was the 90’s Rachel Berry before Rachel Berry existed. They invested my time to ballet, piano, theatre, and even tae kwon do, to make sure that I covered all the cultural essentials.
To the ignorant people who believe that Gay people make awful parents, I can not express how wrong you are. My parents had to desperately want a child to acquire me. My birth mother wanted an open adoption, which entails the child being in contact legally with the birth parents, up until they turn 18. It came down to two families, a Black Catholic couple from Chicago’s north side and my parents. My mom had to choose between bestowing me to a family that matched my race but didn’t share her values, or a family that wasn’t the traditional route at the time.
She definitely made the right choice, as both of my dads raised me as their own, and I had a wealth of love growing up. So if you are nervous about becoming a LGBTQ parent and the stakes that come with that, I say, take the chance. I was given a life and an unique perspective that I would not trade for anything in the world.
I tell most people the only con of having two dads, was when we took family trips to IKEA. To this day, I refuse to go that hell hole with both of them present. The embarrassment of having two grown men arguing loudly over what credenza will match our dining room chandelier, was a bit too much for my teenage mind to handle.
A superficial pro has always been that my parents could/would throw the BEST birthday parties for me. Talk about my seventh birthday when I asked for an Egyptian themed party, and they set up a “create your own head-dress” booth as well as a “mummify Ken and Barbie” table, to which the conservative parents gasped at.
But the most remarkable thing about being a child of gay parents is, that without a doubt, I will always know that they wanted me and I wasn’t a surprise. I was something that they dreamed about and something that, at the time they might not have received. And that, in itself is the best gift.
There are so many children in our Foster Care system who NEED to go to loving and supportive families. The LGBTQ community can be those people if they want to be; a child does not know homophobia when they are born, that is an instructed mindset. Let’s do what we can to erase homophobia from future generations.
If you and your partner are considering adoption or planning a family check out RaiseAChild.org for helpful steps.