The Ginger Gent
Queer Parent Conundrum
As a queer parent I always suspected that it would be true, that a child of mine growing up in a house that was not prescriptive regarding orientation or gender expression would be freer to explore their own identity and more readily accept others. A child growing up with gay or lesbian parents can step away from traditional gender roles, and is exposed to positive frameworks regarding otherness, feminism and equality.
However there is always that fear, as we well know that is singled out on playgrounds in schools, jobs and social circles. The fear is how will other people respond to my child and their freedom of choice when they do not share the same ideas and values. I have mixed feelings when I think about the fact that I express very clear views on gender, equality and gay rights, and that my son will grow up with this and to some degree be expected to adopt some of those beliefs as well.
My son is only three years old but I have a picture of him at recess trying to defend our beliefs and our family in a way that he is not capable of. It is natural for parents to try and prevent pain for their child, and I guess sometimes I feel a little guilty for expecting him to take on the challenge of being raised by their parents. Particularly when I think about the horrid instances of homophobia and bullying that are occurring. However I also feel like the environment I am raising my son in will contribute to his level of compassion, awareness and sense of freedom. The conundrum of the queer parent is – does this balance out?
The Huffington Post has just released an article by Curtis M Wong entitled “Children of Gay Parents are Happier and Healthier Than Their Peers, New Study Finds.” Reading this over with a tea as my son plays with the jumble of trucks and cooking sets, it certainly made me feel much better. The study was conducted by Australia’s University of Melbourne. Its focuses on determining the physical mental and social well-being of children with gay and lesbian parents and the stigmas that they face.
From what this study says, not only does the queer parent conundrum balance out to the benefit of their children, it actually makes them even more prepared to have a happy and healthy life. The source of this leg-up for kids with queer families is the roles that we allow ourselves and our children to take on. These roles have an emphasis on our skills as opposed to gender. This apparently paves the way to “a more harmonious family unit and therefore meeting on to better and well-being.” I must admit it brought a smile to my face and a subtle “yay for me dance” in the kitchen. I must remember that there will always be fear, whether your child is from a clear family or not. I cannot let that interfere with my rights have a family of my own, for the right for my children to have a happy and healthy life but it is an awfully nice reminder.
To read The Huffington Post article click here
About the Author
Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to a six-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow them on PinkPlayMags' parenting blog "The Ginger Gent" (www.pinkplaymags.com). Also, find Kelly on her own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at www.kellywilk.ca.