Gay Men as Parents

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Considering having kids? Have you asked yourself why? What options have you considered, surrogacy, adoption? We’ll take a look at this rather delicate topic and my take on the best way to approach it this month.

We’ve all seen those adorable pictures of male penguins with their offspring. This behavior is not at all uncommon among animals including some primate, and even vulture, same sex pairs raising abandoned offspring.

That really got me thinking about humans, particularly gay men, and whether this is a smart model for us to adopt. I’m happily childless. I’m also adopted. If it had been possible when I was younger I would have considered adoption. But, it was next to impossible in my thirties.

Many gay men, including some celebrities like Andy Cohen, have a strong desire to be fathers. Thanks to medical technology surrogacy has become a viable option, but is that really a good thing. I honestly don’t think so. Our planet is not able to sustain our current population and rate of consumption. There are already too many of us stressing our fragile home and limited resources.

It seems to me that it would be far better if we looked at fatherhood as a way to contribute to the welfare of our society. Wouldn’t we serve the world best if we adopted one of the estimated 400,00 children in the foster care system in the US alone?

As gay and bi men we have often fought against the idea that biological reproduction is the point of life. We’ve won many hard battles defending our right to love who we love. So why give in to the “biological imperative” to procreate? It seems with such staggering numbers of children in need that choosing to father a natural child runs contrary to ethics and common sense.

There are those that would argue that gay people, particularly male couples, have no right to raise children at all. Many studies have been conducted trying to look at the mental health of children of same sex couples. The results vary widely.

One factor, impossible to ignore, is the impact that others’ homophobia has on these kids. We’ve come far, but have a long way to go until we, and our children, no longer suffer from people’s ignorance.

Gay men suffer from mental health issues far more commonly than our straight counterparts. Our struggles will certainly impact our children. But no one questions how the same struggles among heterosexuals impact their children. We don’t think to discourage them from making babies.

The studies that have found the biggest negative impact to the children of same sex couples compare them to children raised in traditional families whose parents stayed together until the children reached adulthood. Given the divorce rate in straight marriages it is hardly a relevant comparison. The suggestion that “staying together for the kids” is a good idea makes no sense. We know that parental relationship issues have a direct negative impact on children.

I think in the end that there are good, and not so good, parents in every type of family. The larger question to ask ourselves is whether we are we raising children for our own ego satisfaction, or doing it to continue the development and growth of our species. Focusing on raising productive, contributing, members of society, whether our biological offspring or not should be the point.