In the wake of the comments made by fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana dissing gay marriage and gay parenting, I encountered this article (http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/19/we-are-synthetic-children-and-we-agree-with-dolce-gabbana/) where two women who were donor conceived and both grew up in a non-traditional family defended the comments of said designers. As people with actual experience of growing up without fathers or mothers or a real, traditional heterosexual family, I was interested in what they thought and why they agreed with the original comments. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you regarding this matter.
I have to be honest, I was always a heartfelt advocate of gay marriage, gay rights and even gay parenting, mostly because I honestly thought that no disadvantage would rise from the fact that one has to grow up in a non-traditional family setting. Reading about the real life experiences of people who have actually lived in an environment like this, and seeing that they felt the negative effects of said environment, I was surprised. I felt a little bit betrayed even, by all the people I’ve listened to in the past and agreed with regarding this matter. I was facing a dilemma and was considering changing my opinion on the topic. Seeing that people growing up with gay parents are actually confused and can develop social and even psychological disorders could be the final nail in this coffin.
But then I arrived at the obvious point that “Come on, even heterosexual parents are unable to raise their children without problems most of the time”. And however obvious or even unimportant this point sounds, it is actually true, and I think this is the point in this argument. By saying that gay parents cannot raise children without somehow corrupting them, you’re saying that straight couples – by definition – will raise their children to be perfect. And that is clearly not true. Actually, it couldn’t be less true.
Who would argue that most people, even in the most peaceful and friendly families, will eventually develop some sort of social, psychological or mental problem or even disorder? And we all know in our hearts that most families are not peaceful and not without problems. If it would be true that the fact that you grow up with a father and a mother would be enough to turn you into a perfect human being, we would’ve never had our dictators, warmongers, tyrants, murderers, terrorists, rapists, and so on. We would never have any problems at all in our society, or in any society, but this is clearly not the case. Why not? Because I believe that the gender of your parents have nothing to do with the personality you will develop. Or no: of course it does. Everything, literally everything you encounter throughout your life will have an effect on you. The gender of your parents as well, yes. But what I believe is that with good parenting skills you can overcome a lot of these effects.
And that is the point: whether you grow up to be a human being with problems or not is a question of good parenting. And, I believe, it has nothing to do with your gender or the gender of your partner.
Even though I’m a huge advocate of natural sciences and obviously I’m aware of the history of nature, the history of parenting and the history and importance of the existence of genders, I believe that with humans in the “Nature versus Nurture” debate the latter side is winning. And I feel very sorry for the subjects of the aforementioned article, but I must say, I think the only sin their parents and step-parents had was that they lacked good parenting skills.
The title of this article is “Heterosexual couples have a monopoly on screwing up their children”, which is a statement you should find ridiculous and wrong. It is. People in the past did not develop serious problems because their parents were heterosexual. They developed problems for a number of reasons, maybe even including bad parenting. No one would think that just because you are a mother and a father raising a child, that child would have a bigger chance of growing up to be a murderer. Unless you and your partner are very bad parents with your own problems probably tracing back to your own childhood (and a number of other external factors, obviously).
I think the same applies to same-sex couples as well, although I don’t have scientific evidence for that, I’m just trying to use common sense here. The women in the article had problems emerging directly from the fact that they were in a non-traditional family. No one can deny that. But one thing we can question is whether these problems could’ve been avoided or not. And – as you would rightly suspect – I think the answer is yes. With concious, precise, cautious and intelligent parenting all this could’ve been turned around. Because raising children with the least amount of personal, social, mental or psychological problems is not a question of whether they grew up with a mother or not. It is a question whether they were part of a loving, caring and intelligent family. And whether you’re straight, gay or lesbian, you should be able to do that. You just have to work on that.