Saturday, January 27, 2007

Victims of gay families

No: victims of antigay bigotry

The Sacramento Bee was rash enough to include same-sex couples in a January 21 article titled “New family portrait.” A letter-writer promptly chastized the newspaper for failing to attack gay couples as evil.

From the January 27, 2007, Letters to the Bee:

Gay families and kids' welfare

Re “New family portrait,” Jan. 21: The Bee's article failed to present the perspective of an adult survivor of same-sex marriage. This would come from someone who had time to reflect objectively on her experience and be able to speak freely about it. Dawn Stefanowicz does this in the August 2005 issue of the American Family Association Journal. This article challenges most of what the “experts” said in The Bee article and leaves one wondering about how objective they were.

Stefanowicz says, “Not only do children do best with both a mother and a father in a lifelong marriage bond, children need responsible monogamous parents who have no extramarital sexual partners. Parental promiscuity, abuse and divorce are not good for children.” No matter what our opinions are about this subject, we ought to stay focused on the long-term best interests of our children.

Chuck Muller, Shingle Springs

I've heard Stefanowicz interviewed on EWTN's Catholic Answers, where she held forth on her miserable childhood and replied to callers' questions on gay parenting. With her book and website and lecture tours, Stefanowicz is a successful victimization entrepreneur. During her Catholic Answers appearance, Stefanowicz was a font of shocking revelations. Speaking about her experience as the child of a single-parent gay father, she told listeners that she was traumatized by her father's love life: “There can be multiple partners over the years.” This egregious behavior by a gay father stands in stark contrast to the strictly monogamous lifelong commitments of heterosexual people. No wonder Stefanowicz grew up in anguish and misery.

Having a gay parent also caused Stefanowicz to suffer isolation: “I felt really different: that I didn't belong.” As we all know, gay parents could not possibly relate to this terrible sense of isolation, accepted as they are by mainstream society and the liberal opinion-makers who dominate our culture.

Even worse, Stefanowicz's father was unable to teach her about femininity:
My father couldn't affirm me as a young girl growing up into a woman. It was only a father who loved his wife—who loved women—could really affirm me as a daughter growing up in this situation. Gay men cannot affirm a young woman that's growing up in this environment. There's absolutely no way.
This is an excellent point. Gay men are too wrapped up in sports and macho posturing to have any time to nuture their daughters' tender feelings. (Perhaps we could allow gay men to raise their sons because so many provide wonderful role models of masculine muscle culture, but certainly we mustn't let them raise daughters.)

Stefanowicz took a call from Nina, who offered her own testimony:
You know, Catholics in favor of same-sex marriage, they don't realize the deep harm that will come to the souls and minds of children of these couples. I was raised by parents who were openly bisexual. After my stepdad died, my mother went completely lesbian. I was fifteen. We were shunned by my grandparents, aunts, uncles, their children my cousins, who to this day are still distant from me. You know, I suppose I ought to thank my lesbian mother for making me a traditional Catholic.
Stefanowicz was quick to join Nina in blaming Nina's mother for the destruction of Nina's family ties. It did not occur to either of them to consider that Nina's grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins were bad Christians. Of course, I do not expect professed Christians to be examples of perfection (and most do not claim to be such), but it seems the height of hard-heartedness to reject a child because the mother is out of favor—even “to this day,” as Nina pointed out, now an adult and apart from her mother and still rejected by her family. Nice Christian witness, you guys.

A voice of reason

As one might have expected, The Bee did not simply accept Mr. Muller's stern rebuke and recommendation that we all learn from Stefanowicz and her “gay victim” schtick. No, the newspaper let another correspondent put bigots in their place with a simple expression of gratitude for the common courtesy of being acknowledged as a human being who lives and loves much as others do.

Same-sex parents still parents

I was so pleased to see gay dads and lesbian moms represented in your cover story as a “rock steady” part of our bigger community. We need more and more of this type of coverage of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We raise children who are healthy and strong, we do some things better than others and we make mistakes with them; we show up at the PTA meetings, we have to meet with the teachers when something goes wrong and we are there when something goes right. We are parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and grandparents of children all over the world. We teach love and understanding that “differences” make this world what it is.

Thanks for showing us in a day-to-day light, living our lives and contributing to our community by illustrating such wonderful families in your article.

Tina Reynolds, Sacramento

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