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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 06:43 PM
Original message
Should kids of LGBT parents be "showcased"?
Edited on Wed Apr-12-06 07:10 PM by pnwmom
As in, for example, the White House Easter Egg Roll event? Nothing has ever prevented any family from attending (one of this year's LGBT-event organizers attended last year with her partner and two children), so that's not the issue.

To make sure the media doesn't miss them, I guess, they'll all be wearing rainbow leis.

After Rosie's LGBT cruise was confronted by angry protestors, some of the little kids were in tears. Hopefully nothing like that will happen at the White House. But the question remains, is it fair to use kids as the leading edge in their families' battles? I know a number of "adult kids" who don't think so.


"How did the Family Pride Coalition get involved in the Easter Egg Roll event?

It was actually two of our members, a couple from New York named Colleen and Alisa, and they had gone last year with their daughter, Ella. They thought it would be a great way to showcase LGBT families to the American public, so they called me one day and said, "We have this great idea, and we're wondering if you want to do it with us because you're the national LGBT family organization."

I thought it was a great idea, and I thought it made a lot of sense. I thought it was a great way for us to participate in an American tradition. So we headed down this road together."

http://www.planetout.com/news/feature.html?sernum=1372&...
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. Showcased as
in being allowed to attend various functions "Yes"
Showcased as in "Being on display to make some sort of overt political or social statement" No.
These are children. We want their parents relationship to be viewed as acceptable - normal (whatever the hell normal really is). Children, even little ones, are not stupid, If too much is made of their appearance and they are paraded around like a Barnum and Bailey Freak Show, then they will be isolated from the other children at the event.
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baby_mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. Well, when *I* have kids with MY partner and 2 lesbos

*I* plan on dressing them up as DORIS DAY in a GIANT CHRISTMAS TREE DRESS on a BIG old gay pride float singing "EVERYONE HAS AIDS" from TEAM AMERICA!

Or not.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. it's up to each family -- they have to figure on their own
strengths and weaknesses.

and it depends on what each family makes of it at their kitchen table.

but let me tell you -- the christian righ tare ''showcasing'' their kids -- and making the very most of each opportunity -- and can you imagine what they tell their kids at the kitchen table?

no matter what it's a very, very different universe.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Of course the fundies showcase their kids. That doesn't make it
right, however. In fact, it makes me think even more that this is a mistake. Do we really want them to be our role models? Yuk.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. ok pnwmom -- i just said it was up to each individual family.
the thing you have to realize is that we have limited ammunition in this battle -- and the public responds to a face -- a face that they can see ''their own'' in.

it's a rather direct path to the heart of the matter.

but it's up to each family.

but trust me -- it's a big mistake to ignore or to think you are smarter than the religious right -- they have been remarkably successful selling their brand of insanity.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I realize that. But as an "adult kid," I still think it's a mistake
when the parents choose that path.

There's a degree of narcissism involved when parents showcase their trophy children. Parents who choose to do this for a cause are in some sense deciding that the cause is more important than the child's individual well being. And this could have a bearing, long term, on how the child ultimately feels about the parent.

Of course, any parent can make the decision to do this kind of thing, and many many parents do, gay and straight. It's a risk they're willing to take.
But , having been in those children's shoes myself, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
7. It depends on many factors, but generally speaking no.
I really hate it when the Fundamentalists bring out their kids to their awful protests, have them holding signs and chanting. All I can think is, "What happens if one of those children grows up to be gay? What will they think when they look back on this?" Then I think about the awful things they are teaching their children.

As for gay families, I don't think a gay family should stop living their life for the rest of the world, regardless of how others feel. If they want to go to the park and let their children play, then yes there might be risks involved, but they have every right to do that. However, taking a young child to a protest or a gay pride parade, in my opinion at least, is a bit much. I wouldn't even consider doing such a thing until the child is at least 14 or 16 years of age, when I know they have a full grasp - or at least a very firm grasp - on the situation and how others feel. Mostly, my intent would be to shield the children from the bigotry of others. It's an impossible task to do it forever, but if I can shield my child from it as best I can - in the early years of his or her life - it's my hope that he or she will have at least a few years of innocence. Later on, however, toward young adulthood I'd want to teach my child that it is his or her duty to become involved in civic politics. It's an important value that I want to pass on, and having them active in LGBT issues is critical, because at the end of the day we are family and even if the children are straight themselves LGBT issues effect them directly.

So, I suppose it just depends. It depends a lot on the maturity level of the children involved. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on what they will be exposed too, and it depends on what will be happening. A parent can't rationally shield a child from reality forever, even though I think most good parents would like to try. However, it is important for a parent to do everything they can to prevent their child from being exposed to something that will emotionally scar them, cause them unneeded pain or suffering, and keep them out of situations with a lot of "unknown" factors that they can't control.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Parents, gay or straight, can be unbelievably dumb.
Edited on Wed Apr-12-06 08:38 PM by pnwmom
But Mildread, your post tells me, once again, what a good, thoughtful parent you will be.

What worries me about this situation is that the kids are very young (this is an Easter egg roll, after all). And the kids, wearing the leis, are definitely "on display" -- not just attending, as they always have been able to. And we don't know what kind of protestors they may be exposed to (hopefully none) or if the media will make a big deal about it.

And we don't know if these particular parents make a habit of pushing their kids out in front this way. My father and his partner did that with their adopted kids. It always made me very uncomfortable for the boys. (Can you imagine being a dyslexic kid who is told, as you are walking into Church, that YOU are going to be standing up in front of the Congregation and reading the Gospel that day? With no warning? And why? "Because if we told you, you wouldn't have come!"

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Duncan Grant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. Gay people are such bad parents: They're "showcasing" their children!
Isn't it possible that both straight and gay parents have similar, if not the same, motivations here? Seriously, making assumptions about the sinister political motivations of gay parents seems a bit of a stretch. My assumption is that all parents who choose to participate in this event will have the authority and insight to know what's best for their children. It's none of my (or your) business what choice they make regarding little colored eggs in the grass. The gay parents I know don't "showcase" anything but a genuine commitment to the well-being of their children. Imagine that.

Speaking of parents and Easter: can anyone else commiserate with me about the special new clothes they made us wear to church on Easter Sunday -- Talk about showcasing the children! x(
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I think my subject line may have mislead you. I wasn't specifically
Edited on Wed Apr-12-06 10:40 PM by pnwmom
talking about the Easter Egg Roll -- what I thought was dumb was my father's behavior -- not these parents, whom I don't know. Did you happen to read the whole post, or just the headline? I'm just wondering.

I agree that I can't know what's right for these families. But any parent should be cautious about using their kids in their own causes. Just something to think about, for the parents who may be reading . . .

But to refer to your post . . . if the gay parents have the same motivation as the straight parents -- just having fun with their kids -- they don't need to hang the leis around their kids necks, or put them out in front of the tv cameras. Do they?

And with regard to your opinion that this wasn't my business, that was certainly true -- until they decided to make it my business, and your business, and everybody else's business, when they decided to make this a media event. If they are going to use little children to "put a face" on LGBT issues, then we have a right to discuss whether that's a good thing to do.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-12-06 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. P.S. "Showcase" was their word, not mine. I'm glad you don't know any
parents who do that, but there have probably been trophy children from time immemorial.
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 04:09 AM
Response to Original message
12. It's ACTIVISM, not showcasing
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 04:20 AM by Ayesha
I was raised to be an activist by my mom, to stand up for my own rights and those of others. The rights we were standing up for in my childhood were mine as a disabled person, but gay rights are no different. By taking their kids to this event they are saying that their families are equal to families with heterosexual parents, and teaching their kids to believe and defend that, too. Kids don't get the luxury of "waiting until they're older" to learn about discrimination. That so-called innocence can be lost on the playground at five when another child yells a racial slur or calls a child (or his/her parents) "fags". As a child with a disability I can not ever remember not knowing that I was different and that some people that I was inferior and had low expectations of me. I had to prove them wrong and I did. Did it suck? Yeah, but that is life and no one is immune from prejudice. Better to be aware of and face it as soon as possible, in an age appropriate manner of course which seems to be the case here.

People bring their children to anti-war rallies. There have been thousands of kids in the immigration rallies as well. I see families at Pride too; in LA there's even an area in the festival that is geared towards kids. The easter egg roll is much less of an activist event than any of those things, from the kids' perspective.

When my partner and I have children, we'll be taking them to these types of events, and why on earth not? As long as it's a relatively safe situation where violence is unlikely, they'll learn valuable lessons, and strength we all need to get through life among people who judge anyone who is different, whether that difference be sexual orientation, disability, skin color, gender, religion, or country of origin.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 04:41 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Why on earth not? Because some kids don't like to be on display.
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 04:45 AM by pnwmom
Simple as that. For an example, see my post at #8.

The difference between this event and an anti-war rally is that the kids aren't merely attendees -- the idea, with the leis, is to have attention focused on the kids. In the words of the LGBT-event organizers, to "showcase" them. (Of course, you're right, it's a type of activism.)

Especially with older kids, assuming you don't push them, it's probably fine. Just be careful to put their needs first. (That isn't a given, when parents involve kids in their causes.)

And remember your kids aren't extensions of you, and their job isn't to make you proud.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 05:56 AM
Response to Original message
14. More info from the organizers -- "Family Pride Coalition"

http://www.familypride.org/site/pp.asp?c=bhKPI7PFImE&b=...

"White House Egg Roll Facts & FAQ

The National Park Service will distribute free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 7:30am on Saturday, April 15, 2006.
A maximum of five tickets will be issued per person.
Children of all ages can attend but there must be at least one child seven years old or younger and no more than two adults per group.
Ticket holders are admitted to the South Lawn of the White House between 8am and 2pm on April 17.
Groups of about 250-500 ticket holders are admitted at 15-minute intervals.
We need to be in line by Friday evening to be the first ones on the White House lawn so we can maximize our impact."


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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
15. Just think about this for a moment!
If being gay wasn't such a HUGE issue for a majority of the country (excluding gay people) then the children of gay/lesbian households wouldn't be such a big issue, now would it?

It isn't the queer family that is "showcasing" the family, the religious right has managed to do that all on their own by making being gay and issue in the first place.

Does anyone ever complain about how JFK and Jackie showcased Caroline and John-John? I don't think so. Why? Because that is considered "normal." Well you know what, to me, a family with two loving parents is what I consider normal, no matter what the sex of the parents is.

Showcasing indeed! Sheesh! Have it that way and would should all just go back in the closet and let the bastards walk all over us. Don't be seen and don't be heard!

By the way wanting to show the world your beautiful family isn't exactly showcasing. It is actually called being proud of the people you love!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 03:29 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Actually, it was the gay families that SAID they were showcasing
their kids. That was a direct quote.

The fact that they used that word was what made me feel so uncomfortable, having come from a family with a gay father who used his trophy kids as part of his "cover."
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 05:53 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Could you be...
...any more condescending than you are being right now? having come from a family with a gay father who used his trophy kids as part of his "cover." Unreal! It is quite obviously to me that you do not even begin to appreciate the LGBT community. And what a shame that it seems gay families are raising homophobic children. You would think children in a gay household would actually know better than to use a trigger word like "cover."

By the way, I might be in Australia, but here in Oz, we have cable TV. On cable TV we have the SkyNews channel. On that channel DAILY we get not one but two American nightly news broadcasts. I saw all the hoopla over this. I saw the gay families that were going to be attending the Easter Egg roll. Not once did I hear any of them say they were showcasing. What I did hear was them saying how proud they were of their family, and who wouldn't want to show that off to the world? Go on, now tell me I am deaf!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. What is wrong with using a word like "cover" when that is the
Edited on Mon Apr-17-06 12:22 PM by pnwmom
reality in a particular case? Since when are children of gays not allowed to tell their own truths? I'm sorry, but you didn't walk in my shoes, any more than I've walked in yours.

In talking to other adult-kids of gays, I've learned that gay parents run the whole gamut, just like straight parents. This means that some of the gay parents, just like straight parents, use their children in narcissistic ways. And sometimes, with the best of intentions, any parent can make a mistake. I'm also saying that, in such a narcissistic society, all of us have to be cautious not to view our children as extensions of ourselves, or as little people whose job it is to make us proud.
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Honey...
Edited on Mon Apr-17-06 07:46 PM by foreigncorrespondent
...I could tell you exactly what it is like to be used in a narcissistic way while growing up, but in stead I am going to ask you about the obvious unresolved issues you have with gay people? Just because you had a hard time growing up in a gay household.

On edit: typo
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Why is a statement that gay parents, like straight, run the whole gamut
(from good to bad) a sign of unresolved issues with gays in general?

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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. It's not...
...but reading other things you have posted in this thread does,. Plus your use of trigger words shows this.

But let me tell you, I had problems in my childhood. Problems which have caused me serious problems (including suicidal tendencies) in my adult life. These problems were at the hand of several straight people. Tell me, should I spend my adult life telling people how awful it was growing up in a straight household? Should I spend my adult life trying to make the straight community look totally fucked up, because of what I went through in my childhood? Should I be angry because I was "showcased" in a way you could never imagine as a kid, or should I work out those issues I have and move on from the spot I am in? None of these questions are rhetorical.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. It's not an issue of trying to make anybody "look" fucked up.
I'm not making these statements to offend anybody, or to make anybody look bad.

I'm hoping to reach some reachable parents out there, who might be willing to think about whether there are things they could be doing better to help their kids deal with the issues in their lives. I've talked to lots of young people in gay families over the last several years, and I've often thought -- I wish I could tell parents what's on their minds. Some of these kids are experiencing pain unnecessarily -- I'm sure most of their parents have good intentions, but they just don't always have enough awareness.

One of my surprises was how many kids today have almost the same problems as thirty years ago. I would have thought things would be a lot better by now. And they are, for the kids who are born or adopted into families with strong and out gay parents living in liberal communities. But they're often not so good when the parents are unable to be out, or for various other reasons.
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Oh please...
...now you are insulting my intelligence. I have read every word you have said, and all I see from them is your insulting a community because you had a bad experience growing up in a gay household, with parents who are out.

I didn't just get off the last ship. I have lived a very hard life myself starting in my childhood and still continuing today. Today it is hard simply because I fell in love with a woman. You wanna talk about hard, try being 8,000 miles apart from the person you plan on spending the rest of your life with, all because there happens to be bigoted people in government who don't want the person you love to have the same rights they do. But reading your words, you would prefer my partner remain in the closet so it doesn't make life hard for any children she may have.

You have totally ignored everything I am saying to you and harping on one issue. The fact that YOUR life was hard. But are you taking into consideration just how bloody hard those gay parents have it? I really doubt you are, because you are too damn wrapped up in yourself and the fact you had it hard because you had gay parents who were out.

Honey, you are preaching to the wrong people here. Every gay or lesbian DUer has had it hard in one way or another, and we don't need someone so wrapped up in themselves to begin preaching to us. We get preached to constantly by bigots who would prefer to kill us than let us live and make our own families.

If you want to help kids, then why don't you take this time to do that (try taking on the bigots who have made your life hard by making your parents life hard) rather than preach to people how they should be running their household.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. That is exactly the opposite of what I said. Gay parents being in
Edited on Mon Apr-17-06 09:13 PM by pnwmom
the closet has a toxic effect on their children.

I grew up with a closeted father, not an out father. He only came out when I was in my twenties. I think it's far healthier when parents can be out.

But that's a whole different issue than the question of showcasing children.

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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. *shrug* (n/t)
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Actually, no. Chrisler says in the article that the originators....
of the idea thought it was a good way "to showcase LGBT *families* ( emphasis added) to the American public."

Not "showcase their kids".

Point 2: I can understand being sensitive to this idea because of your experience , but surely you recognize the HUGE distinction between neurotically using one's children to *OBSCURE* a reality and making a calculated decision to join with hundreds of other families in order to *clarify* a reality.... to the benefit of the families involved and thousands of families like them around the country.

No?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Yes, I can see the distinction.
I'm sure in the case of the Easter egg roll, for the overwhelming majority it was just fun. But the word "showcase" rubbed me the wrong way, because if it were a pattern in a particular family, that could mean that the parents were using the children for their own needs.

In my father's case, he and his partner did it with their adopted kids as well -- putting them in front of the media and in other situations to show them off. So it wasn't just something he did when he was in the closet. Unfortunately, some parents, whatever their sexuality, see their children as extensions of themselves, and being proud of their kids is a way of being proud of themselves. This isn't very healthy for either of them.

I've met other adult children of gays who have also experienced the situation that they feel they have to live up to a certain image, for the sake of the family. And I've talked to teenagers who've been pressured to participate in media events that made them uncomfortable.

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William769 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-17-06 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
19. Children are our worlds most precious resource & hope.
Edited on Mon Apr-17-06 07:24 AM by William769
I could not think of a better use. From the mouth of babes.
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