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I was feeding Gabriel his lunch of broccoli, spinach and chicken pasta ( all made from scratch because I am a fully fledged Bree Van De Kamp if you did not know... Minus the controlling issues.... No, ok, I'm lying... Throw those in as well...), when I 'happened' to be watching cartoons.

During an episode of "Humf" (one of Gabriel's new favourites...), the little furry character that happens to be a boy, wanted to play 'princesses' with his little girl friend Loon because 'He liked to sit on a lot of cushions like a princess, as much as Loon did'.
Fair point.
I thought the outcome would have been Humf being told that as a boy he could not play at being a princess, but I was to be pleasantly surprised.
'Of course Humf!' said daddy 'you can be whatever you want to be!'.
Not so much for the gender roles and stuff (after all, a Princess will ALWAYS be a girl, and a Prince a boy... Thank God...), but for recognising the educational freedom that every child should have to explore their own fantasy world away from the noxious fumes of parameters and pre-set standards.

As I was enjoying this little triumph inside my head, something came into my mind.
A question that hangs upon our heads and threatens to dampen our spirits.
"What about the difficulties our kids will have to face growing up in a society of heterosexual families?"
Of course potentially there could be difficulties and boundaries to break.
Our children are trailblazers, they are shaping our society's future.
Back at the beginning of the last century, in the United States, would you have told a black couple not to have a child, but to think instead about the difficulties he/she would have had to face growing up in a hostile white society?
They would have told you about the hope they had in their hearts that, in future's society, their children would not have to endure the same hardship they had to endure.
Would you have told, about forty years ago, to an interracial couple here in London not to have children, but to think of the difficulties of growing up in a "black or white" society?
They would have told you about the hope they had in their hearts that, in future's society, their children would not have to be treated differently because of their "mixed ethnic background".
Society has changed much, we now live in a multi-cultural, multi-racial society.
For some of us, hope remains the same.

When President Obama climbed that podium to deliver his first presidential speech, many of the black members of the public cried tears of joy.
They were thinking of the times when their parents fought to even get into a university building or any other public structure catering only for the white part of society.
In the same way, when I look at my son, I feel moved thinking of the times when being a homosexual was a criminal offence punished by imprisonment.
I think of all those people that had to endure the police truncheons cracking their bones, the jeering crowds, the recriminating church ministers, the indifference of the politicians.
Look at us now.
Here in the UK we can get married (or, more correctly, we can get "Civil Partnered"...), we can adopt and even have children through surrogacy (albeit, the laws surrounding surrogacy are still a grey area and in need of a lot of work...).
We have inarguably moved very far.
We have moved so far only thanks to the efforts and the courage of all the men and women that have never been afraid of putting themselves on the line, of being judged, of being ridiculed.
They hoped.
They pushed us forward.
What was then perceived as an attack to society, morality and decency, has instead contributed to build tolerance and understanding.
What was considered an act of destruction of society's values, turned out to be instead a building effort.
The building of a bridge between bigotry and human nature.
So, again: "What about the difficulties our kids will have to face growing up in a society of heterosexual families?"
They are still there, I know, but I also know that they are there to help us shape a better future for us all.
A child like ours, born out of hope, can only be a gift to a society so ridden with egoism.



Mickey Blumental said...

Well said. While there are many more gay parents now, we're certainly not the first. We met a couple in LA with an adopted 11 year old who's very proud of her parents and one of her best friends has two mommies.

When we baptized Blake in Quebec a 60+ old man came to us with teary eyes and wished us the best. We were a bit puzzled by his high emotion and then an old lady came to us after he moved on and told us that he had two mommies...

I suppose that we are trailblazing now as gay parenthood burst out of the closet and isn't a hush hush thing anymore, mostly to show our children that they have no reason to be ashamed of their parents (shame on you Jodi Foster).

Mike and Mike said...

While I doubt our type of family will ever be ubiquitous within society, I sincerely hope that by the time your son and our daughters enter into the school system and truly begin to experience society on an institutionalized scale, such worries and fears will be a non-issue. As you have so eloquently written, we have come such a long way.

I think your last sentence sums it up beautifully.

Sara said...

Marco, beautifully put as always. I think I speak for everyone when I say all decent people want is for this to be a non-issue, for it to be normal, parents are parents, people are people no matter what. Unfortunately to get there some brave, sometimes desperate, people have to push through the boundaries, but it's worth it. At a lower level, I had a similar experience growing up: my brother and I were the only 2 kids we knew with divorced, atheist, communist parents. We stood out like a sore thumb in ultra-conservative Italy, now it's the norm. But you know what: it made me who I am today and I would not change it for the world, indeed I am very proud of my parents, even for the mistakes they made (cause we all make some!). So keep strong and keep doing what you're doing: growing a happy, healthy, well-adjusted boy.

Mark said...

Thanks Marco. I identified with so many points in your post. Growing up, I was the only black kid in the entire town. Every once in awhile, another would come in and then go but I remained, and survived. I couldn't get away from, I guess "bullying", in Upper school for being Gay. I didn't call it bullying back then, I just called it life. But once again, I remained, and survived. Now I'm raising four children in Catholic schools and although we have come across some obstacles, what doesn't kill us will make us stronger. In a way, I don't want the world handed to my children on a silver platter. They need to learn, while I protect them at the same time.
Great Post!
Your Friend, m.