The Left turns the idea of same-sex couples having babies into a shallow fashion statement

Elton John babyLast week, I posited that gay parenting has a problematic biological component that the Left assiduously ignores — or, more accurately, it has a lack of a biological component that the Left assiduously ignores. In any gay parenting relationship, at least one of the parents is a step parent, something that might explain why a recent study shows that children raised in same-sex households are less likely to go to college. History shows that (subject, of course, to individual differences), step parents don’t do as well as biological parents when it comes to the children in their care.

At the time I wrote my post, I was unaware that the New York Times had published a very excited article about gay parenting.  I was probably unaware because it published the story in its “Fashion and Style” section, which I never read.  The Times was just thrilled that affluent, beautifully dressed older gay people could spend lots of money to create children through science, not biology.

Before I address the Times‘ peculiar placement of that article — which is the main point I want to make in this post — I need to address some of the issues about same-sex parenting that the Left refuses to discuss.

In earlier post about issues connected with same-sex parenting, I focused on the possible problems arising from the step parenting aspect of same-sex child-rearing.   Rivka Edelman, who grew up with two fathers, writes about another problem with same-sex parenting — misogyny and misanthropy:

Sometimes I feel like such a stickler. I am not nitpicking when I say there was a mistake in the pages of The New York Times Fashion and Style section, piece, “And Baby Makes Three.”

We must fall on the side of intellectual honesty. That title should have read, “four,” or “five,” if one were to consider the actual human females involved in the production line of surrogacy these days.

The Times’ telling omission reflects something ominous, the deep misogyny of a gay male community, which in turn has been accepted and championed by many people who consider themselves progressive.

[snip]

Well, that dog doesn’t hunt. I grew up in a gay household and I know the arguments better than I know the pledge of allegiance. So save it. All of it– the missives, the threats. Don’t prove my point to people about loving the gay community. They will turn and tear their own to shreds in a heartbeat. Because the fragile narrative has to be protected at all costs. Family is a photo op. And children are props.

Let’s not kid ourselves about the cute photograph affixed to this New York Times article: That kid is not related to both of the “Daddies.” That child has been denied one parent so that men could prove that two men can play at baby-making—and ironically the men needed two women to do it.

The misogyny that Edelman talks about is the erasure of women from the equation.  Who needs women in this brave new world?  What Edelman could also have said was that, when lesbians have babies, men have been erased from the equation.  Who needs men in this brave new world?

When I started reading Edelman’s piece and saw it was about misogyny, I actually assumed it would head in a different direction:  How well does a man who finds women repulsive manage to parent a little girl and how well does a woman who finds men repulsive manage to parent a little boy?

Although it came to me as hearsay, I once heard from a very reliable source (who got it from the horse’s mouth) a dreadful story about a little boy born to one of two women in a lesbian relationship.  Because she was the biological mother, he felt a physical affinity for her and wanted to cuddle her.  Because she found men revolting, she could not bear to have him — her own son — touch her.  When he was a little boy, whenever he sought comfort from her, she didn’t rebuff him directly.   Instead, she held herself rigid (rather like someone with a tarantula crawling up his leg) waiting for the moment he would go away.  (I’ve heard that the same is true for some — not all, but some — women who raise a child who resulted from rape.)

I recognize that anecdote is not the same as data, but I do wonder about the “opposite sex” dynamic in a LGBTQ household.  Growing up in San Francisco, I had many, many gay friends.  The friendships were peculiar.  These men sought me out, which was flattering because these men were intelligent, and witty, and just fun to be around.  (Two of them had a moral decency that still has me rank them among the best people I’ve ever known, and that was true despite the fact that, before I knew them, they had been promiscuous members of the San Francisco leather scene.)  Many, although not all, of them were also complete bitches about women, constantly criticizing how women looked and acted.  It was as if these men were competing with the women, proving through their verbal attacks that they were better at being female than the women were.

My Dad summed it up best for me.  Back in the 1970s, looking at the hideous clothes women wore and the openly gay designers who created those fashions, he asked, “Why in the world would women want to be dressed by people who find them repulsive, or at least unappealing, at a fundamental sexual level?”  Good question and one that should interest all people of good will, gay or straight, who look at the gay parenting trend.

I’ve known fabulous same-sex parents and horrific biological parents.  Again, anecdote is not data, and my incomplete little samples prove nothing.  They just raise questions.  Nevertheless, considering the gay marriage and gay parenting debates roiling our society, it’s criminal that we’re not even allowed to ask these questions.  If we dare to raise them, we’re shouted down as “haters.”

Peculiarly enough, I don’t see myself as a hater.  Instead, I see myself as a “seeker” — someone who is witnessing profound changes in our society and who would like more information about the data underlying those changes. Indeed, when I ask and answer my questions, I come out pretty darn libertarian on the subject of gay parenting.

For example, if I found out that 25% of gay men who parent girls hate their daughters, would I say that’s a reason to oppose all gay men from parenting?  Or, conversely, if 25% of all lesbian women parenting sons hated boys, would that be a reason to oppose gay parenting?  No.  Emphatically not.  In terms of the broad bell curve of all parenting, those numbers, while tragic, are insignificant.  The number of children cruelly abused at the hands of heterosexual parents (both biological and step parents) makes it plain that nature is cruel to children and that the inevitable unlucky ones will find themselves at the hands of cruel, careless, horrible people.

I’d still be libertarian even if solid data showed that, at the highest point of the bell curve, it’s very clear that boys raised by lesbians and girls raised by gay men have significantly worse outcomes than comparably situated children when it comes to drug use, suicide, alcohol abuse, lifetime earning, etc.?  Even with that data, I don’t think that’s a reason to stop child-rearing in the LGBTQ community.  Take away gay parents, and there will still be children, raised in both functional and dysfunctional homes, who turn to drug use, suicide, and alcohol abuse, and who end up in poverty.  There will always be dysfunctional homes and sad children.

If I’m so libertarian, why am I concerned about that fluffy New York Times article and why am I asking the questions in the first place? The answer is that I’m trying to put the breaks on the Left’s thrill-a-minute approach to the sheer excitement of gays having babies.  Let me state again what I said at the beginning of this post: The New York Times put the story about gay designer babies in its Fashion and Style section, along with articles about the latest from the Paris design houses.  This bespeaks a profound lack of seriousness about a very serious subject — namely, the societal embrace (as opposed to the legal embrace) of parenting relationships that may be damaging for children.

Gay parenting as a fashion statement

For those members of the LGBTQ community who desperately want a child, my libertarian soul says “go for it.”  But for those who see — indeed, are encouraged to see — a child as the latest, trendy fashion accessory, I am utterly appalled that we live in a world where no one is standing athwart the barricades yelling “Stop and think about this first.”

When I stop and think about the New York Times‘ latest fashion trend, you know what I think of?  Black teen mothers in the inner city.  In the late 1980s or early 1990s, before political correctness made the topic impossible to raise, NPR did a report about black teen girls having babies. There are still stories about that problem today, but they’re always couched in Marxist terms involving black oppression at white hands. (And, considering the staggering numbers of black babies getting aborted, there are almost certainly fewer black teen mothers, making such stories less compelling.)

What made this “old time” NPR report different, was that it focused on the dynamics within the community itself. What I remember was that the story revealed was that having a baby was a statement about style and popularity. While the boys just wanted sex, the girls wanted those babies. They willingly got pregnant so that they could pick out a cool name (this was the era of those made-up faux-African names), have a baby shower (cool gifts), and otherwise take on the social status of a teen mother who was “hot” enough to attract a guy willing to impregnate her.  It was also a story about low self-esteem and loneliness, both of which these unhappy girls thought would be alleviated if they had a mini-me.

To the extent that the New York Times is using its fashion pages to encourage same-sex couples to have babies, then the LBGTQ baby-making community is no better than the inner city teens at the end of the last century. One does not have babies to be stylish, cool, avant-garde, edgy, or whatever else the fashion mavens want from this life. One has them because biological reality demands it (traditional same-sex couples) or because one genuinely wants the task of loving, caring for, supervising, worrying about, and educating a malleable little creature to become a good adult. It is extremely hard work. It’s a 24/7 job that requires constant vigilance, values, and energy. It’s not a purse that you carry around proudly for a season and then put in the closet.

In addition, if those gays living in their hermetically sealed gay communities (as almost all of my gay friends started to do once they became politically radicalized) feel that their lives are empty, and that a baby will fill in that space, they will learn what those black teens learned:  a baby will not fill the emptiness in your own soul.  Instead, the terrible thing is that you nurture that same emptiness in your baby.

Let me repeat:  Babies are not fashion statements.  But by stifling debate, the Left can sell the notion through its fashion pages.  This is a terrible thing.  How terrible?  You can get some insight into what happens to kids who are born to parents who have them for reasons of fashion, not love, read the chapter about Hollywood parenting in Andrew Brietbart’s and Mark Ebner’s Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon — The Case Against Celebrity. It will make your skin crawl.

A free society lets people have babies if they want babies.  A sick society hides from people the potential downsides of this decision, both for them and the baby, and encourages them to think of babies as nothing more than the latest trendy jacket.

(Note:  Regarding the photo of Elton John, his partner, and their first baby at the head of this post, I should say that I like and respect Elton John.  He’s a grandfather to his own children, but he’s also proven over the years that, after an exceptionally decadent and self-destructive few decades, he’s come out on the other side with a lot of stability and common sense, both of which make for good parenting decisions.)

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Comments

  1. jj says

    Of course having a baby is accessorizing – it has been for a while, now.Not a new concept.
     
    I would suggest that you skipped a generation there, too.  You went straight from teen-age ghetto mommas to gay “parents,” and completely skipped over the generation of high-end driven female who was out to prove she could “have it all” in the ’80’s and ’90’s.  I probably knew two dozen kids in New York who were all bilingual, because their nannies spoke Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Russian.  They weren’t so at home in English, so they interacted with the kids in their native tongues.  (Which I suppose was good for the kids, they all had built-in careers as translators at the UN waiting for them if they wanted.)
     
    For these girls, busy proving they could be all things to all people, advance the career, and “have it all,” the kid was absolutely an accessory.  Any cat you could find in any alley you happened to pass had better mothering instincts than most of them – and more interest in that tiny person.  (You think The Nanny Diaries was kidding?  Not remotely.)  But the baby was the “have-to-have” accessory, to be paraded out for eight seconds at a cocktail party, then sent back off to bed with Nana.
     
    Baby-as-prop is a regrettably old story, particularly in the upper echelons of society.  Like the niche Elton John occupies.  Nothing to see here.  Nothing new here.  I’m sure Elton’s nanny will do okay with the kid.

  2. Matt_SE says

    This is why I’m a conservative and not a libertarian. Libertarians adhere to an idealized view of humanity; people can be trusted to make good decisions for the right reasons, even if unsupervised!. This fantasy is similar to Marxism in its appeal to a more-noble humanity that’s never existed. Libertarians just want their fantasy on an individual basis instead of collectivized.
    A conservative attitude would be that social oranizations are the fundamental units. Under this system, there is neither the overbearing presence of the state nor the nihilistic/hedonistic atomization of the individual. The local society is not all-powerful, but it will impose *some* constraints on your behavior. The local society will also give you a sense of belonging, and a purpose for your life.
    Leftism is all about the self. Self-gratification, self-love. That children are seen as fashion accessories indicates that the focus was on the gay individual all along. “What does this child say about *me*?”
    That’s no way to raise a child.
     
    The problem with libertarians is that they have abandoned the rationale for opposing self-centeredness.

  3. Libby says

    But for those who see — indeed, are encouraged to see — a child as the latest, trendy fashion accessory, I am utterly appalled that we live in a world where no one is standing athwart the barricades yelling ‘Stop and think about this first.
     
    People have been standing athwart the barricades since Roe v. Wade. Babies were dehumanized when abortion became legal. They changed from being a person to a “choice” (or “clump of cells”)  which one could opt out of for any reason, even inconvenient timing. They became interchangeable things with procedures like selective abortion (I wanted one, I conceived three, just rid me of the extra ones) as if they weren’t unique beings.
     
    So if a child can be terminated on a whim, why not conceived on a whim as well? Just sad.
     
     
     

  4. Libby says

    Book, you’ve also clearly demonstrated the end result of the feminist movement’s quest to diminish motherhood. First, abortion greatly diminished fatherhood – men can be excluded from the choice, and it enables them to more easily walk away from the consequences of casual sex/promiscuity. Feminists further declared that single women could conceive via sperm donor and raise kids without a marriage or man. Yay women, freedom from men! However, same sex parenting enables men to completely remove women from motherhood. Now they’re just incubators, or egg donors, no further assistance needed, thanks. Not so empowering, huh? In fact, sounds sorta like feminist horror story The Handmaiden’s Tale, where fertile women were enslaved and forced to conceive babies for the powerful elite class.

  5. lee says

    A friend of mine has an article coming out in the Jerusalem Post on same sex parenting. I’ll be curious to read it. I am not sure it will be on the J Post site (which is an AWFUL site to navigate) because I think it is coming out in the “Magazine” section. Which if available on line, is probably behind a pay wall. More when I find out about it…
     
     

  6. lee says

    Also, I just have a problem with surrogacy and donor sperm, and invitro–basically, removing the natural biology from procreation. Many years ago, my mom tried to explain why she thought it was a bad idea, and I thought she was just an old fogey. But it creates oodles of issues. And I DO know couples, heterosexual, married couples who went through the heart ache of infirtility and in vitro process.
     
    More later…

  7. expat says

    Speaking of misogyny, I remember once a young guy who was visiting a gay neighbor when I stopped in for some reason (maybe to return a pot or deliver a letter that had been put in my mailbox by mistake). Anyway, the neighbor and I were on friendly terms, but his friend kept talking about fag hags the whole time I was there. Although I did have a few gay friends, this guy destroyed any illusions that all gays were nice folks.

  8. Charles Martel says

    I became a teenager just as the Sexual Revolution, initiated by the introduction of The Pill in 1960, was gathering serious steam. By the late Sixties, especially after my encounters with the orgasm-oriented mentality of the hippies, it became obvious to me that tolerance for pre- and extra-marital sexual practices would inevitably spill over onto other practices, such as same-sex sodomy.
     
    In a very big way, heterosexuals invited acceptance of gay marriage and (overt) parenthood when the majority of them said, implicitly, “We won’t judge your actions because we don’t want the spotlight cast on our own.” (Even in their emphatic rejection of Christianity, hippies understood the advice to “judge not lest ye be judged.”)
     
    So, I can’t say I’ve ever been really surprised by the now unrelenting push to take a fringe form of sexuality and force its recognition as just another delightful choice along the colorful spectrum of human sexual behavior. The only problem—and it’s not going to go away—is the niggling fact that the homosexualist movement is forever doomed to be a “Me too!” phenomenon. Everything from the homosexual parody of intercourse to the intense love/hate appropriation of female characteristics to the desire to have bells-and-whistles “wedding” ceremonies bespeaks a need to imitate Darwinian success even while resenting it.
     
    That’s why we are never going to hear an end to this. People with inferiority complexes, even when they win the day, continue feeling inferior and continue subjecting the rest of us to their insatiable neediness.

  9. says

    Biology can produce weaknesses in authority, such that if people don’t recognize your authority, you cannot teach them much of anything. Now authority as a value can be reinforced by just being closer to people, such as fathers actively involving themselves in the activities of their children.
     
    Society provides the second type of reinforcement, which is hierarchical relationships. Even if your mother or father isn’t your biological one, you were still raised by someone and owe them X in social terms.
     
    But as for parenting, I doubt a bunch of people living as slaves to the Left’s death cult will be able to pass on anything useful to the next generation. Once the root is corrupted, so is the tree and the seeds. Thus society destroys itself not because one generation comes out rotten, but because one generation is enough to destroy all future generations with the seed of destruction. Assuming nobody else takes an external hand like the Last Judgment or Islamic Jihad.

  10. JohnC says

    “We’re old, gay and have plenty of money. Let’s buy a puppy! We can play mommy and daddy before we die. It’ll be fun!” “Okay, but only if I get to dress it. I think we both know who has better taste.” “Fine… bitch.”
    Now replace ‘puppy’ with ‘baby.’
    Monstrous.

  11. says

    Like you Bookworm my knowledge of this is fairly anecdotal and most of my lesbian and gay friends do not have children, and probably never will.  However, I do know, of course, a few that do, and mostly they are women.  However, I have met and known some people who have gay parents. These people are now in their thirties, and most of them have gay and lesbian parents who tried to be straight before they realized they really were gay. Subsequently, they had a child with their opposite sex spouse. In two of these instances, the opposite sex spouse passed away (one in a car accident and I don’t know what happened to the other wife)… they both had daughters.  These were gay men, one remained mostly single and the other woman had two gay fathers.  One of these women wrote a book about her dad and their relationship, which I confess I have not yet read called _Fairyland_.  Her dad was the poet Steve Abbott, who I knew (I am also a poet).  Here:  http://www.amazon.com/Fairyland-A-Memoir-My-Father/dp/0393082520

    I knew Alysia when she was about eight or nine and it is amazing she is grown now with kids of her own.  The other woman had two gay men as parents after her mother (I think) passed away, though I am not sure about that story.   She is fine as far as I can tell, and — that’s her reality, she’s never known anything different.  I know others, and they are about the same in terms of general life happiness as anyone who was raised by two parents who were male and female. I mean, no happier, no less happy… I can’t really vouch for stats, but I do know people, and that’s what I’ve observed. 

    I would tend to believe that the gold standard is male and female parents who never divorce, don’t beat their children or abuse them, and are upright, decent people.  This exists, but there are plenty of less than ‘gold standard” male and female parents.  There is also something to be said for having an unusual and interesting background,  my own is a mixed heritage background racially, something that was frowned on as confusing for children. It can be, but it is all I know, and I am glad to be who I am.  I am Native American and Hispanic (and really Sephardic on that side), and I look white to most people… I know these things are not really comparable, race and sexual orientation, but — there are some parallels.  Having a poet for a father, as Alysia Abbott did, was also challenging I am sure– but I believe she also feels blessed to have had such an unusual parent, who was so creative and encouraged her own creativity.   

    I have known a lesbian who had a male child by artificial insemination and really wanted a female child.  She was so overcome by love for her son, once she had him, that it changed her entire life.  And – her outlook on men.  She wrote a book about it also… she says the love she felt for her son was greater than she ever could have imagined…  interestingly she is now with a man and married and he is divorced so they share a family. She’s also a writer  – Jess Wells and she’s written about her parenting of a son and her marriage now to a man.  That happened much later… she had been involved with men earlier in her life, so she was most likely bisexual.   Her book:  http://www.amazon.com/Lesbians-Raising-Sons-Jess-Wells/dp/1555834108/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393936597&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=jess+wells+and+lesbians+having+sons

    Have only read parts of that, but I know the story.  I know her also. 

    All of this is anecdotal… as are your stories.  My hope is that America will open its heart to LGBT people… it has begun to and I hope that continues…  but I also know that certainly, we can ask questions and should.  I would imagine that no situation these days is perfect, if any ever was…  I see more issues happening with people having children without being married or without commitment…  most gay and lesbian people will not have children… but the few who do, tend to really want them.  I have noticed that… 

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