TODAY IN CORRECTIONS: Looks like your mom might be the only expert here. Remember that story called “Lesbian Parents Better at Raising Children” that made its rounds across the world wide web at news outlets including Autostraddle (at least we used a question mark!) last week! Well, it was a bit of a dangerous headliney statement to make without quotation marks and context, and now anti-equality folks at Mercator have grabbed this opportunity to accuse the gay community of “squawking” in “Spin cycle: the lesbian parenting story that wasn’t.” They point out that “the story neither cites specific ‘experts’ nor any of the research supposedly produced over many years” and claims: “the real story is the media’s severe case of Gay Infatuation Syndrome: anything that makes gays look good is newsworthy.”
Um, I’d argue that this is really the Media’s Severe Case of Editors Want Snappy Headlines Syndrome, a disease exaggerated by the internet and also evident in the handling of the Kristen Stewart lesbian story. You’ve got 5-12 words to get your keywords and your attitude in there, and things like qualifying the source or revealing nuance are out the window — and unlike a printed product, the content is not always printed directly below the headline:
Because children of gay parents are guaranteed to be wanted children as opposed to the accidental pregnancies that often result in childbirth between straight couples, it didn’t seem far off to us, and we were quickly corrected by Mombian and added a question mark to our title. Some of our lesbian mom readers had feelings about it:
Editor-in-Chief Riese’s Lesbian Mom: “Told you so.”
Vikki: “I don’t know if headlines about lesbian moms being better parents hurt the movement but, damn, that’s a lot of pressure … When my kid acts like an ungrateful privileged hun, I can never be sure if people will see that as the child’s behavior or the result of his family’s queerness.”
Heather: “That headline probably doesn’t hurt the cause, but because it’s so exaggerated, it probably offends alot of straight parents.”
Mombian: “Putting LGBT parents in competition with non-LGBT parents is unproductive, IMHO.”
Autostaddle’s Associate Editor Laneia: “the father of my children is complete dumbass, which actually says more about me than it does his parenting skills, i suppose, but i hate it when ppl say that children need fathers. children need love and attention and pants that fit and proper shoes and green vegetables and lots and lots of books. and 24-hr children’s programming HELLO.”
Mombian breaks it all down for you in her piece, There’s No Proof That Lesbian and Gay Parents Are Not Better:
No one has proven lesbian and gay parents are better, so let’s not imply that we are. That means you, parenting experts, journalists, and editors. At best, we can say that there are certain areas in which, on average (but not exclusively), we tend to have strengths … Number one, LGBT-rights supporters often, and with good cause, bash the right for their sketchy science about LGBT families, or the sketchy conclusions they draw from good science. We need our science and our conclusions to be rock solid.
She’s right, and we all deserve to be grounded from TV, fruit roll-ups and the internet! And also thank her for commenting to set the record straight to begin with last week.
COMING OUT: “Whether you think tabloid sex columnist Andrea Peyser is sexxxy or supersexxxy, you must marvel at her hat trick in today’s column: Perpetrating the most pedestrian racist stereotypes against black people and Jews, and coming out as a lesbian.”(@gawker)
GENDER: Notes On A Scandal: The Future Of Intersexuality & Caster Semenya: “Thoughtful articles by Ariel Levy and Judith Butler explore the larger issues of sex and gender behind Caster Semenya’s story — and how the mishandling of the young athlete’s “gender testing” has affected her life” (Sidenote: both of those writers are gay ladies!). (@jezebel)
SILVIO BERLUSCONI: New book by Patrizia D’Addario adds lesbian dimension to alleged escapades at home of Italian prime minister: Many conservative Italians ready to forgive, if not endorse, heterosexual promiscuity will be disconcerted by a claim that their leader’s private life extends to lesbianism. (@guardianuk)
CRUISE: “Athena Cruise Line will host over 650 gay and Lesbian Passengers from around the world on a February departure out of Adelaide, passengers will come out of the closet dressed in flare and pizzazz ready for Adelaide’s First ever All Gay Cruise.” Adelaide’s first gay cruise promises to be exciting! Start picking out your flair and pizazz now! (@etravelblackboard)
SIR OR MADAM: A writer wonders when we’ll stop assuming gender and sexuality so freely: “My girlfriend gets called sir a lot. Every time a stranger refers to her as a guy (sir, buddy, “him”), we give each other a smirky look, and can’t help but feel bad for the person once they realize their mistake, as they most often do, once she opens her mouth … So I’ve really been wondering if these two ideas (my girlfriend passing as a boy, myself passing as a straight woman) will ever become instinct.”
CATHOLICS: Not every single Catholic parish ever agrees with the Vatican’s views on the gays, and San Jose Diocese wants you to know it. “A bearded priest in bright-green vestments lifts a rainbow-adorned chalice as he delivers the Eucharistic Prayer, consecrating the bread and wine for the sacrament of Communion. Surrounding him, a dozen people link hands around an altar inside a tiny, dimly lit chapel at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Parish in San Jose.”(@metroactive)
EATING DISORDERS: Does binge eating count as one of them? Right now, it’s often classified as “an eating disorder not specified,” but it could be included in the DSM. “Supporters of this inclusion feel it would help sufferers of binge eating disorder to get proper treatment, while critics, Healy notes, fear that the diagnosis would be overused and given to people who aren’t necessarily suffering from compulsive overeating as much as a “lack of willpower.” (@jezebel)
The whole “father” thing is a giant can of worms – let’s open that up! People spend a lot of time agonizing over lesbians raising boys without a “father” in the picture. I’ve actually had people ask things like, “How will your son learn how to pee standing up?” Fortunately for my son, I (like many lesbians) have a basic understanding of anatomy and physics.
I wasn’t aware the media as infatuated with us. In fact, most times it seems quite the opposite.
I was not aware either. I mean, I guess I’m flattered. I like them, but I don’t “like them” like them.
GIS, not to be confused with EWSHS.
First, thanks for the link! Much appreciated.
On the whole “parenting without a father” thing, I’ve found a lot of wisdom in a recent piece by Laurie Bell, “Who’s Your Daddy? Reflections on Masculinity in Butch-Parented Sons” in the great collection of LGBTQ parenting essays Who’s Your Daddy (about which more back at Mombian). She doesn’t deny that boys may find important male role models, but she questions whether they are the sole way for boys to learn how to “be a man.”
Heck, neither my spouse nor I is even that butch, and between the two of us we can teach our son how to build a bookcase, hit a baseball, break a board with his bare hands, and flirt with girls (many years from now, and only because he seems so inclined).
As for the peeing thing, I tend to agree with Vikki, although I’ll note there are some subtle details that I was unaware of until I spoke with my brother. Apparently, it’s out of fashion to use the fly in one’s briefs. Over the top is the way to go. Who knew? But yes, it’s a detail, and we hardly need outside help to get the basics right. Point and shoot.
“Bush Derangement Syndrome.” “Palin Derangement Syndrome.” Now there’s “Gay Infatuation Syndrome.” Everything’s a freaking disease with these people. How’s about I wish them a speedy recovery from their chronic “Homophobic Head Up Your Ass Influenza”?
More constructively though, I really admire the integrity being displayed here by Autostraddle, Mombian, and other gay outlets who are willing to give this story a closer look and if need be, make corrections and retractions. One thing I love about both sites is that they’re more concerned with truth than scoring political points. (Although both are obviously nice.)