March 22, 2006

More Lessons In Gay Daddy Etiquette From Page Six

Here's a tip about talking with gay dads, from DT reader Jeff, who, with his partner Mark, has a year-plus-old daughter Chloe:

After people learn we worked with a surrogate, they typically ask, "Who is the father?" The question offends us, since we are both Chloe's fathers. We gently let them know that such a question is not socially acceptable in this "post-gay" era. "Post-gay" is a fairly new term used by homosexuals who define their identity by something other than their sexual orientation. By the way, gay people ask the question too! This uncomfortable question is something we never considered as we processed the idea of becoming dads.
Someone must not have gotten the memo. In their discussion of who--Jann Wenner or Matt Nye--is putting up the DNA for the couple's due-this-summer baby, the social misfits over at Page Six, are all but swabbing the petri dishes of every fertility clinic south of 59th St. I guess that's why it's not called The Emily Post.

Sisterly Love [nypost.com via gawker]
previously: Jann Wenner and the protocols of gay parenting

7 Comments

We gently let them know that such a question is not socially acceptable in this "post-gay" era.

I *hate* this statement. If any minority group wants to find more acceptance and get fans on their side, then the only way that they're going to be able to do that is by letting people ask *whatever* questions they want without a walking-on-eggshells mentality. Of course there are limits and courtesy needs to apply, but to say that someone can get reprimanded for a curiosity that will lead them to a better understanding of a subject and lifestyle is ludicrous.

Here are some other answers that I have given When asked personal questions:

1)Who's YOUR baby's daddy? (Especially good when both the mom and dad are in front of you.)

2)When asked how we got our baby? I respond "The Stork".

3.) And my partner's favorite answer to "Where's the mom?" is "She's dead."

Seriously though, it's only human nature for people to ask these inappropriate questions and it's our responsibility as same sex parents to understand and educate the masses. How we respond to these questions is what we are going to teach our children, so being "offended" and saying it's "socially unacceptable to ask" is not only unreasonable but it's kind of unrealistic. Children of gay parents are going to have to answer these questions their entire lives long. (Incidentally, similar questions are asked of hetero couples who adopt, or use surrogates, and hiding that information from the children, and others has only propogated the misinformation and fear.)

Honestly, when people ask "Where's the mom" my response is generally "Oliver has two dads." Justleave it at that.

BTW- "Post-Gay" is new to me, but I can't for the life of me figure out why it's anything different than plain ol' "gay". The term gay is always going to make straight people go to sexuality, regardless if it has the word "Post" in it. I truly hope that the term does not catch on because it smacks of self-loating.

While I can understand your POV, Rick I would also suggest that if someone asked you if your kid was yours (I'm assuming you're white and straight), you might be offended, or at least surprised. I'm sure in the olden days, people were challenged to duels for lesser affronts [hey, progress!]

As LoveDaddy pointed out, most any family that's readily identifiable as atypical--whether they're gay, multi-racial, or adoptive--should expect more questions than the typical Brady Bunch. [Although the Bradys would probably generate a raft of questions these days, too, come to think of it.] But I don't think they should have to seek "acceptance" or "get fans," any more than a straight married couple "needs" such external validation. And why should they have the implied obligation to to satisfy your, my, or anyone's curiosity.

As for the "post-gay" thing, that's pretty new to me, too. I just took it as an internal debate/evolution within the gay community. But it could also be that gay dads face some of the strongest challenges or intrusive questions from other, child-free gay people, who haven't given much thought at all to parenting and what's socially acceptable to talk about.

It could be the case that new dads, straight, gay or whatever, might find they have more in common with each other than they do with their child-free counterparts.

Word!

I had a friend give me some advice when we were expecting our first. She said: Forget about your gay friend cliques, and your straight friend cliques, after a kid is born it becomes, "friends with kids" and "friends without kids".

I have found that simply responding with the question ĺ─˙why do you want to know?" stops most folks in their tracks. Most people who ask ĺ─¨which one of you is the fatherĺ─¨ are simply new to the idea of gay parenting.

If they persist, I firmly tell them we would never reveal such personal information, we are both 100% committed to our son, and it is none of their business.

Hope this helps.

Hello, my name is Kate and I am a college student. I am conducting a research project on gay parenting. Do any of you believe that gay parenting affects a child and is the effect gender specific?? Thank you.

Post-gay? Oh puh-lease!

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