Read this open letter to the Gay Community from a loving daughter.
She wonders why there isn’t more attention on the rest of this story, namely the children raised by two mothers or two fathers.
Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.
I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary…
I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father.
And she wonders why gay people’s kids can’t be honest in talking about the realities, for them, of gay marriage.
It promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.
She notes that children of divorced parents, adopted children of biological parents they never knew, are “allowed” to speak out about their pain, suffering, longing, feelings.
But children of same-sex parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us.
One of the first to publish such an account was Robert Lopez, and his account of being ‘raised by two moms’ clearly reveals his love for his mother, but also the long term impact that home life had on him. It opened the door for many other children of same-sex parents who were afraid to speak up because they loved them and didn’t want to hurt them.
In the past couple of days, that link has become inaccessible, and the online journal that published it has been dealing with technical issues. Which may or may not be related to the silencing Heather Barwick referred to in her honest, open letter.
If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.
This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures homosexuality.” I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me. That’s not us.
That’s not most of us. It’s the extreme left and right doing the most outright condemnation. Most of us who are trying to engage at all, are trying to do so reasonably and charitably. Many of us make efforts to speak clearly and listen closely, with the courage of conviction and respect for the dignity of those who challenge and even try to silence our beliefs, beliefs which at core witness to human dignity.
So Heather Barwick closes her letter to the Gay Community in which she was raised, with which she identified most of her life, who she understands with great compassion, and appeals to now as a children’s rights activist, with this:
I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.