I was just forwarded a press release, indicating that Dan Savage is about to receive a special “Webby” award for his ground-breaking “It Gets Better” series. He should. It’s really broadened the dialogue about the complex challenges that face many of our LGBT (and, especially important in talking about teens, Q) youth. The entire nation — not “just” those of us in the LGBT community — owe him a huge thanks. As I write in this week’s 365gay column, the idea is so obviously good that it’s only surprising that no one thought of it sooner.
But in this same column, I go after Savage for his just juvenile “Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father” posts. These exploitative, peep-show pieces portray heterosexual couples who have done awful things to their kids. Here’s a little snippet from the column, for which I’m expecting substantial blowback. But I still think I’m right about this:
[W]hat is Savage trying to say in this series? That some of the mothers and fathers out there are capable of doing terrible things to their kids? Everyone knows that. Sadly, everyone also knows that some same-sex parents have done equally terrible things.
And these are exactly the sorts of examples we might expect the most ignorant of our right-wing opponents to use against us. Stooping to their level, while it may gratify some visceral urge for revenge, is hardly contributing to the real debates and issues that surround the fight for equality and dignity for all families.
And we hope (or anyway, we need to hope) that most parents – whether single, or partnered with either a same- or opposite-sex person – are doing the best they can, given their circumstances. Every child deserves good parents, we might better say. Demonizing the majority to make a point about the ignorance of our worst-intentioned opponents is just irresponsible, especially for someone with as broad an audience as Savage enjoys (mostly deservedly).
[T]here’s a certain childishness to these posts; Savage is peeved at those who say, in the face of clear and contradictory evidence, that kids only thrive with opposite-sex parents.
So am I.
Like Savage, I’m a gay parent, and at times I feel a petty urge to compare my wonderful children to kids being poorly raised or served by their opposite-sex parents. But it IS a petty urge, and we shouldn’t give in to it, our justified frustration notwithstanding.