Children Essay, Research Paper
Despite Ignorant Beliefs, it is Alright for a Gay Couple to Raise a Child
In the small town that I grew up in just outside of Boston Massachusetts everything thing seemed normal, mothers were at home raising their children, taking them to soccer games and little league, while fathers went off to work every morning only to return home to have dinner with the family. It seemed almost all families were like the Cleaver family.
In August of 1986, a new family, the Buchanan’s, moved into the Morrill’s, right next door to my parents. New families in the neighborhood usually meant new kids to play kickball with and flashlight tag with. To my dismay, there was only one new kid in the neighborhood joining us his name was Earl.
Earl was cool, he liked baseball cards, swimming, riding bikes, and causing trouble, all the same things that I liked. But the adults found Earl to be strange, making comments and funny faces as we passed. Some parents did not even allow their children to play with him. As an eight year old nothing seems visibly wrong with him. Out of curiosity I asked my mother what was wrong with Earl. At first she played as though she did not know what I was talking about, until it became a daily question that I needed to know the answer to. Then my mother told me, Earl’s parents were different, he did not have a mom and a dad, he had two fathers, and she told me that Earl’s parents were gay. I didn’t care because I didn’t even know what “gay” meant.
A few weeks later while sleeping over Earl’s house, I learned the meaning of the word gay. I saw Rick, Earl’s Dad kiss Mike, his friend goodbye as he left to go to work. “Man your Dad just kissed Mike”, I said. “I know” Earl began to explain, “both of them are my dads.” In an eight year olds’ terms said that he has a dad and a daddy, unlike a mom and a daddy. He didn’t know why, but he was fine with it, as was I.
As I got older, I thought that Rick and Mike were the best. They always took us to air-shows, car-shows and parades. Doing things as a family and being able to share it with friends a number one priority.
Not everyone thought the way that I did about Earl, I looked up to him, and he was a great person. Earl today is the nicest most compassionate person that I know, because of how he was raised. Earl’s fathers raised him to believe that a family has no boundaries as long as there is love.
In today’s society it’s sometimes hard to believe that two men are capable of falling in love with one another. It’s even harder for some to believe that two men might want to have a child and start a family. It’s almost impossible to imagine that in a country as free as ours, that it is getting harder and harder for a gay couple to raise a child because of the restrictions that society puts on the gay community in raising a child, and providing the necessary support a family can demand.
According to social norms that have been pressed into ours brains, a family consists of a mommy and a daddy with traditional values, not a daddy and a daddy. But a family consists of love, with one or more consenting adults regardless of gender that provides support and unconditional love to their children with compassion and understanding. Because many controversial issues such as interracial marriages, abortion and divorce have been accepted through past years, it is now time to get rid of our biases and recognize that a gay couple can raise an emotionally healthy child, who has no prejudices, without the influence of a mother and without forcing a gay lifestyle upon their child.
Many people believe that a child raised by a gay couple will be psychologically impaired because they are being raised without a motherly figure. In others words these people think that gay couples cannot provide role models to children in the same way that “traditional couples” can. Some people think that gay couples will only provide role models for one sex and that children of these parents will later be disadvantaged when dealing with the members of the opposite sex. Thinking that a child needs a motherly figure while growing up, is a strong belief because early psychologists only studied children who may have lost their mother due to death or abandonment.
The early studies of children who grew up without mothers never involved two men acting as parents to one child. “Today there are between six and ten million daughters and sons that have been raised by gay parents in the United States.” Studies recently conducted by Dr Rees Green show that in many cases “no difference between a child that has grown up with heterosexual parents than a child that has grown up with homosexual parents.” But what has been found is that boys and girls that grow up with homosexual parents pay no particular interest to “sex-roles or even gender roles.” They just think of everyone as an equal who share all the same roles of a family. In fact “the boy that has grown up with two fathers is more likely to be sincere and less abusive in a heterosexual relationship than a boy that has grown up with heterosexual parents.” Girls that have grown up with gay parents “have been found to have more self-esteem than girls of heterosexual parents.”
Another mistaken belief that people try to use as a reason to prevent gay couples from adopting is that they are going to force a gay lifestyle upon their children. The assumption from that statement is that sexual orientation can be chosen or induced, and that gay parents want their children to be gay and will do whatever they can do to give them a gay lifestyle. Maybe it’s possible that a child of gay parents might be gay, and that gay parents could want their child to share the same sexual orientation. Most heterosexual parents want their child to be heterosexuals. But no matter what anyone does, a person cannot make someone else gay. Studies have tried to determine if sexuality is something that is chosen by a person, but there is no conclusive evidence to support that one chooses to be gay. However, studies have been able to determine “that a person is born with a predetermined sexuality,” and with the discovery of the human G-Nome, scientist feel that it will be a matter of years before they can answer specifically what causes a person to be gay. For now they can only speculate, scientists feel that is a cross in DNA from the mother and father at the time of conception. Some studies also conclude that homosexual behavior is a hereditary trait passed down in a person’s genes, because 83 percent of gay men and women have another person in their family who also is gay.
If it were possible for parents to directly influence the sexual orientation of a their child, there would be very few gay people in the world. Nearly all people have heterosexual parents who want their children to be heterosexual. Millions of gay people are born in every generation, showing that sexual orientation is not a choice or something that parents or anybody else has a direct influence over. In knowing what a person goes through in life when he or she discovers that he or she are gay, I believe that most gay parents would not want their child to be associated with the horrors that can accompany a gay lifestyle. Most teens when they first realize that they might be gay, have fears about public ridicule, name calling, and bouts of depression. In a study that was conducted in Massachusetts in 1999, by the YRBS, “5.5 percent of students (average age of 16 years) are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and reporting to have engaged in same-sex activity.” In the past 12 months, “29 percent of them are reported to have attempted suicide, compared to 7 percent of other students.” Another study concluded that 53 percent of the gay student suffer from severe depression and often resort to drug and alcohol to mask these feelings. No parents want to lose their child to drug or suicide and especially a gay parent if they force homosexuality onto their child; therefore I believe that most gay parents would not do such a thing.
When two gay parents raise a child, that child is given a great gift that many people are deprived of, the gift of having an open mind. A child that grows up with two gay parents is going to be exposed to many more things than most other children because gay couples usually have no prejudices. Gay couples are most often open-minded themselves, because gay couples know what oppression is like; they can often sympathize with many other people who have felt some sort of oppression in their lifetime or even in their heritage. When a child is exposed to this way of thinking, they see no color, no creed and they know no bias. Therefore making this child worldlier than others, who have had ignorance bestowed upon them by closed-minded parents.
There is no denying that kids can be cruel and that they will single out anything about another child that is different. This is something that almost everyone may have experienced when they were younger. Kids with gay parents are an irresistible target and will get the brunt of the name-calling. For this reason a lot of gay parents are accused of being selfish, that they are taking the beauty of having a child to fulfill their own needs and not thinking about the child. When a couple falls in love, they share that love with each other, maybe someday hoping that they will be able to have a child to share that love with. For a heterosexual couple this is “normal.” Then what is the difference if two people of the same sex were to fall in love and then someday they want to share that love with a child? There is no difference, and that just shows that it is not selfish on the behalf of a gay couple to want to have a child. In order to end all the name calling parents, teachers and other adult supervisors of children should not tolerate the kind of teasing and harassment that happens to a young child of gay parents.
In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of gay men is compromised in any respect relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by gay and lesbian parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth. So why not give everybody the chance to be a parent no matter what a couple’s sexuality may be.