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Home > Culture and Society

Dad To Be Gay

26 January 2007

Where would we be without gay people? Without Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing, Gore Vidal or even Christopher Biggins, the world would most definitely be a poorer place, although the precise purpose of Pete Burns remains unclear.

But this week it's been impossible to avoid the unpleasant row about whether Catholic adoption agencies should be forced to consider gay couples as adoptive parents under anti-discrimination legislation. The customary hackles were raised, but what the row seems to boil down to is essentially a hideous collection of prejudices about gay people, including:

1) They will try to make their children gay

Written down in black and white, this sounds utterly ridiculous. It's the implication that any adopted children will either be encouraged to be gay, or will learn from example and thus turn out gay. However, there isn't any real evidence that this actually happens. It also suggests a horribly distorted view of gay couples who want to adopt, and one which a tiny bit of thought would correct. Are children going to be adopted by militant we're-queer-and-we're-here activists and raging scene queens, or are they going to be adopted by ordinary people who desperately want children but just happen to be gay?

2) Gay parents are somehow not as good as heterosexual ones

Having two dads or two mums *is* a bit unusual, and let's face it, you're going to get a few kickings in the playground. But you've got to toughen up at some point, and attitudes toward gay people are slowly changing. And if you didn't know any different, having two dads would be normal, if deeply tedious ('Dad and Dad are in the shed, tinkering with the broken strimmer. Again.'). Then there's the fact that parenthood is such a complicated business that being gay is unlikely to be of paramount importance. Surely the key thing about parenting is that parents want to make a good job of it. What's more important, the sexuality of your parents, or getting help with your homework and
decent Christmas presents?

3) Gays all live in a Frankie Goes To Hollywood video

There are aspects of gay culture, that, without putting too fine a point on it, are a bit debased - in particular the subculture of aggressively casual sex. However, this is horribly unfair: gay people who want to adopt will, like heterosexual people, have to prove they can provide a stable environment for the child. It's also deeply prejudiced - while some gay people behave like the most ridiculous stereotypes of gays, the average gay person does not spend all day every day wearing biker gear, growing a moustache, huffing poppers and listening to C&C Music Factory.


Leaving aside religious cant, it's hard to see what the substantive objections to gay parents are. Sure, it's not *typical*, but then how many families are?

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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