Children of Same-Sex Parents Speak Up on Reddit
Now that the hurdles of gay marriage are exponentially becoming a thing of the past across the country, it seems new arenas of debates are emerging.
One has to do with child rearing. On notorious social networking site Reddit, for example, a popular forum posted to the subreddit AskReddit on Sunday, Nov. 17, asked users to share their experiences being raised by same-sex parents.
The actual question, from user Monkeyboobler:
Before I get down-voted into oblivion I am not a homophobe, I am pro gay marriage, gays giving blood, but gays adopting worries me as I think society in some countries isn't ready which will effect [sic] the child growing up.
Were you bullied at school and did it effect [sic] you?
Any events that you and your parents went too [sic] were there obvious funny looks from people that didn't know you?
Honestly did you wish you had a male and female parent?
Children with female parents, do you think you needed a male role model in the household? And vice versa
When you were going through puberty were there certain things happening that you felt awkward asking your parents about? i.e. Female child with 2 male parents having your first "monthly visitor."
The inevitable sex chat, what was that like?
*Questions and answers on these forums are voted on by the users, showing the most popular comments (answers to the questions above) on a forum further up the page.
Here are the top eight user-upvoted stories from the thread (SFGN didn't edit the excerpts below - some contain graphic language). Which is your favorite?
1. From user Fliffs:
Had a fling with a girl who had two dads, she said sometimes people were uncomfortable about it but always warmed up to the idea once they met the dads. They drove matching mini coopers and the house was fabulous.
2. From user catillack:
I have a friend whose mom is a lesbian. She lives with her mom and "step-mom", but sees her dad regularly, so she has that "male-impact" from time to time. She didn't tell anyone until she was a teenager so most people are cool about it (she's not being bullied), but I've heard some of my other friends talk about it alot. Like they think it's weird and some say they feel sorry for her, for some reason.
3. From user Ceylonna:
My parents divorced when I was five because my dad is gay. Lived with my mom when I was young, move to my dad in highschool (my choice).
When I was around ten, my dad sat me down for a serious conversation and told me he was gay. (Also that he didn't have AIDS-it was the 80s.) my reaction was more of a non-reaction. More "is that all? I thought you were going to tell me you were dying of cancer" and didn't think about it for years.
I told some friends confidentially when I was younger. I have to assume the info made its way through the school, but I never heard anything about it. Was open about it in high school. Got a few "cool" type remarks. I think it made a few friends more likely to come out to me as gay and bi.
The most difficulty I've encountered with it is due to my mother-in-law, who is exteremly Christian conservative. It took several years of me dating her son before she reconciled her cognitive dissonance of my dad being gay with him clearly being a good father.
There is one thing I remember as a child that in retrospect was likely because my dad was gay. As a little girl after my parents divorced and I was staying at my dad's, he told me I couldn't come sleep in his bed when I got scared one night. (Like I had done when I was younger.) It didn't make sense to me why I couldn't snuggle and sleep with my daddy anymore. Looking back, I can see how the stupid perception of gay men in the 80s probably was what drove that decision.
Short summary, never a big deal. Bit of a badge of pride in college years.
4. From user pishee:
Gay adoption didn't really exist until recently, so I'm not sure how many responses you're going to get from children with no male/female role-models. My mother and father divorced and later my mom married a woman, so I still had a male role-model, and I imagine most other children of gay parents my age will have had a similar experience, unless their biological parent just checked out entirely, which can happen just as easily to children of straight parents.
I do worry about the argument that children need to be protected from bullying. There are any number of reasons why a child might be bullied, and it's not really the job of an adoption agency to check to make sure that prospective parents don't do anything that might be potentially embarrassing for their children. The child of the school janitor might get bullied, but certainly he and his wife should be allowed to adopt. I know you're just asking an innocent question and didn't necessarily want to spark a debate, but this kind of argument does sound a little bit like the bigot trying to protect children from his own bigotry.
Adoption agencies also don't test to make sure straight parents fulfill traditional gender roles. No family has ever been denied a child because the husband in a straight marriage didn't watch enough sports or liked baking. It's not impossible that plenty of children have been adopted into families with no strong masculine or feminine presence, despite the parents being straight.
Maybe I should have just answered the question and described my experience instead of giving you an argument, but I feel a little funny saying, "My mom's gay, and look how great I turned out!" I will say that I really look up to my step-mom a lot, and we have a good relationship. In a lot of ways, I feel like I have more in common with her than my biological parents.
5. From user dustlesswalnut:
Yes, I was bullied, but that's because I was fat, not because of my moms.
Yes, I got funny looks at events, but that was because we were poor, not because of my moms.
No, I never wished I had different parents.
No, the gender of role models is irrelevant.
I never felt awkward asking any questions I had about sex, and all of my questions were answered honestly.
Never had a singular sex chat, had many small ones over the course of many years, as I believe it should be.
Adoptive parents are vetted with a lot of care. Biological parents aren't vetted in any way. I'm not concerned in the slightest with the prospect of gay couples adopting.
6. From user Ebeforei:
A few people treated me differently when the found out. One kid wouldn't eat at the same table as me in high school, it just made me sad the he was homophobic.
The worst thing was when I wanted to have my friend come spend the night, and my mom wanted to come out to her mom first to avoid my friend's mom finding out later and accusing my mom of something inappropriate. Understanding the implications and consequences at that age was rough.
Woe to any poor soul that dare imply gays make unfit parents in my presence. So many kids found out they were talking to the child of a lesbian when I made them look like bigoted idiots. I wiped the floor with those people in an argument.
7. From user Gatorbby:
I may be too late, but screw it.
My parents divorced when I was in 2nd grade and my dad came out to me when I was in middle school. I had known for years because I have a fantastic gaydar so the news was kind of boring to me. If anything, having a gay dad has been easier for me! I have a healthier relationship with him than most.
-I don't know if I was bullied technically but I have had some bad reactions. My first serious boyfriend was very religious. He actually broke up with me because I supported gay marriage. Fuck him.
-Weird looks have never been given because my dad doesn't believe in PDA, so yay for that.
-Puberty was pretty easy for me since I had my mom to talk to about monthly visitors, but my dad has always been more sympathetic towars things like cramps and mood swings.
-The sex talk was fairly easy. Both my parents talked to me about sex over the years, so it was never one big awkward conversation. The best part was that talking to my dad about boys was so easy. He had been a boyfriend and had boyfriends so he could always play the devil's advocate.
Over all I think I had a better experience than most teenagers. My dad was comfortable enough around me to actually be himself. He could be dad and my friend easily and I think I'm really lucky for that. 10/10 would childhood again.
8. From user dollarstorshirt:
I had two moms growing up, but my dad was also around. I didn't understand what "gay" or "lesbian" meant as a kid, I just thought it was normal that my mom lived with another woman. One day, my babysitter at the time found out that my mom lived with another woman and all hell broke loose from that point on. My brothers and I were bullied pretty severely. I'm from a small farming community outside of Philadelphia and people in their so-called "advanced suburban community" were less than willing to accept others that are different than their WASPy counterparts [bonus info- they filmed scenes from the movie "Signs" in my town. That's about all we're known for]. Not much was done from the school either, as most of this bullying was done during the school day. We were also harassed by the local police department. Overall, it was a mess and it was torturous. I wouldn't change how I was raised, though. I had a wonderful childhood and was lucky to have three people who loved me and taught me what I needed to know about life.
We definitely got funny looks at dinners in town, but the funniest looks would be when my dad joined us. My mom and dad got along really well after the divorce and not only was he around, my mom's partner encouraged his involvement and wanted him around as much as possible. We would laugh at family dinners and the overall reactions of people who didn't understand our family dynamic or how wonderful it was that we were all together. We always really only had each other.
I had the privilege of having both male and female parents, but there were times where I wished my mom's partner was a little nicer to us. I don't think she wanted any kids from the get go, but she loved my mom (for 10 years - until she stole my mom's money and left her with $300K worth of debt ... that's another story) and we came as a package deal.
I think the involvement of my dad helped us in the traditional "male" sense, but I learned the core tenants of humanity from all three of them: decency, kindness, love, compassion, and humor. Plus, my mom's partner taught me to make good fart noises with my knees.
Man, puberty was an awkward time for me, and having the talk was SUPER awkward, mostly because my dad is kind of an awkward guy when it comes to things like that, so mom handled all the sex and dating conversations. I never felt awkward during puberty about asking any of them questions concerning that kind of stuff, we were always pretty open about everything in my house.
If I can add one more comment on this: my parents and my mom's partner made me who I am today. If not for all three of them, I wouldn't know how to be a man, husband, father, brother, or individual. I thank my lucky stars every day that I was raised in a loving, albeit loud, household where equality was mandatory but table manners were not. I think the sexuality of a person is irrelevant to the equation as long as the child has a loving, supporting, nurturing family, regardless of whether its heterosexual or homosexual parents.
I hope this helps you!