So, as I write this, it's terrifically late at night. And once I get to a certain point in the night I tend to get filled with either a sense of possibility and limitlessness and rejoice in the wonders of the world, or I become consumed with all the terrible things that are going on and feel like crap and like I should be doing something about young kids starving and hate crime and global warming but I can't because it's too late at night and I'm exhausted.
And I just read this article on the Courier Mail website (entitled, terrifically, "Same-sex marriage hurts kids"), and it's kind of nudged me towards the 'oh god why does the world have to be like this?' direction. Why do people have to be intolerant idiots? Why do some feel so compelled to fight against same-sex couples having the right to having a family when there are undoubtedly so many kids in the world who are in terrible situations with heterosexual parents?
If you didn't click through to the article, I'll sum it up for you: A GP in Toowoomba believes same-sex marriage is a terrible thing, because raising a child without a male and female parent will result in damaged children. Or, rephrased: Same-sex attraction goes against nature, you evil homosexuals. Does nobody think of the children?
Now here's my whole stance: I've been raised by two people of opposing genders. They are wonderful people. They're not perfect people or perfect parents, because no one is. But they are brilliant. They are smart and creative and kind. (I dedicated my book to my family because I'd never have written it without them.) They've raised me to be my own person, and a good person, and someone who really thinks about things. I hope that they're proud of me, and I know that I could have been someone entirely different if I'd been raised by someone else.
Neither of my parents are particularly masculine or feminine, I don't think. They are individuals. My mum could be my dad or my dad could be my mum or they could both be female or both male - and they might be a bit different, because of brain chemicals and hormones and being treated differently by society, but I know that they would still be the same people at their core. My dad is capable of being a nurturing individual. My mum can fulfill a traditional dad role in my family. They would still be wonderfull parents. I am immensely lucky to have them both, and a supportive network of grandparents (Hi nan! I know you're reading!) and aunts and so on and so forth. Kids aren't just raised by their parents; there are a lot of influences growing up on children, and a statement like 'gay parents damage kids' is just as ridiculous as 'straight parents damage kids'. Any kind of parents can damage kids. Any kind of parents can be wonderful. People are individuals, and made up of more than just their sexuality.
I would prefer to have same-sex parents than, say, heterosexual parents that are abusive, or drug-addled, or totally damaged. Just because a de-facto couple are both of the same gender doesn't mean they aren't capable of giving a child all the support and love that they need. Familial love is a beautiful and wonderful thing, and everyone should be able to experience it. Children find gender role models in people other than their parents - relatives, teachers, older siblings, friends - otherwise we'd all just turn into carbon copies of our parents, wouldn't we?
But I'll tell you what does damage children: Sending out the message that being gay is wrong. That loving someone who's of the same gender as you is not a possibility if you ever want a family of your own. That there'll be something wrong with you if you have same-sex parents. That they should repress their true self, because they'll be vilified by all the people who are still living in the dark ages and are morally opposed to something that doesn't even affect them. THAT is what messes people up. Not having two mums or two dads or being raised in a single parent household.
These things - the right to marry, the right to have children - are basic human rights. Rights everyone should have. I mean, gosh, what year is this? 1900? Gee, we're lucky people still don't think women are meant to be seen and not heard.
I'm trying to see where you are coming from, dear GP in Toowoomba, but I'm just not seeing it. I'm seeing people stuck in old ways and feeling threatened by the idea that people cannot be confined to gender roles. I'm seeing intolerance and a total lack empathy. I want to understand you, I really do, but I can't. I was raised to be accepting, and to see people as individuals rather than genders or races or religions. I'm sorry, but how can stopping people from loving each other and loving their potential children make anything better? Isn't there enough hate and intolerance in the world already without you adding to it?
Please be nice in the comments. I'd really appreciate that.
(A couple good blog posts about this you ought to check out on Jack Heath's and William Kostakis' blogs.)