Georgina Guedes

The benefits of being raised by a gay family

2013-01-10 08:50

Georgina Guedes

An article published by the Sunday Times this week has various commentators spitting mad because journalist Stephen Mulholland concluded that being raised by gay parents is better than growing up in a children's home, but still not desirable. He called on heterosexual parents to instruct their children on this fact.

I'm a bit late with my response - my column being published on Thursday - but I would like to add my voice to the call for parents to educate their children that being raised by homosexuals is no hardship and will, in fact, probably deliver some life benefits.

These children are wanted

In the first instance, male gay couples (or singles) that choose to raise children will have had to face quite a few challenges in getting their hands on children to raise in the first place. They will either have had spent a fair bit of money on surrogacy, had a friend who had enough faith in their parenting abilities to bear a child for them, or subjected themselves to the scrutiny of social workers as they went through the rigorous screening process for adoption.

While it may be a little easier for lesbians than gay men, the chances of accidental or unwanted pregnancies are still extremely low. The bottom line - if a gay family is raising a child, chances are that that child was desperately wanted in the first place.

Because gay couples are less likely to be shackled by societal expectations, they're also more likely to have established themselves financially before bringing a child into their family. Well-meaning aunts are far less likely to grill them on when their children will be making an appearance, which makes it a decision that they come to on their own, when they truly feel ready.

Raise them right

Once the children are under their roof, gay couples are also far more likely to raise them as open-minded and caring individuals. Coming from a family that isn't the norm will probably make those children thoughtful, considerate and supportive of others, rather than stuck in any conventional notions of how things should be.

Gay rights advocates often use the slogan "hate is not a family value" in support of their cause. There's no risk of hate and bigotry being channelled down into the children of homosexuals.

Their children also won't have any gender stereotypes dished up with their morning cereal. Mum won't be ironing socks while dad chugs beer in front of the rugby. These children will be free to define their own sexuality and roles in society without the weight of gender expectation weighing down on them.

Heteros are OK too

Of course, I'm not saying that all children raised by heterosexual couples are unwanted, bigoted, repressed and unintelligent. I hope not - I'm raising two with my husband myself. But I am saying that while heterosexual parenting may be the norm, the alternative is assuredly not undesirable, and I most certainly won’t be teaching my children that, thank you very much.

In fact, were my husband and I and our entire family support structure to be obliterated in a freak fireball, I would prefer my children to be raised by a gay couple than by any straight parents who agree with Mr Mulholland.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer, editor and trainer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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