Gays….Please don’t hate me

I am probably going to enrage a lot of people (not a first for me). But seriously, don’t hate me please. Hear me out and you’ll find that sometimes logic and reason undermines what we superficially feel as natural because we haven’t invested enough thought into it. I write this log because I feel that logic, reason, love and compassion must prevail, always and every time. My gut feeling mustn’t count.

I apologise for my style that may present my arguments in unflinching cold nude and borderline uncompassionate fashion. So, let me take the leap and state the premise that I am trying to establish in this log.

Normalising Gay Marriage is a drastic socio-legal intervention that fails to take into account the denial of rights of the children of same-sex couples

I am very careful in choosing the words to frame my premise and will only try to defend the ideas that lend credence to what is written above. But these days are such and the topic so incendiary that some light on my general attitude towards LGBTQ (referred to as ‘gays’ hereinafter) rights is needed so that ad-hominem attacks on me can be reduced. It’s not just that I have no problem with gays, I love them as a community and as individuals, especially the ones who are openly gay. I believe that sexual orientation is not a choice that is consciously taken by an individual, with the possibility to switch when willed. I believe that gays enjoy the same quality of love that heterosexual couples enjoy. It takes courage to accept your own sexual orientation in a world that frowns upon it and so I believe there are many gays that don’t ‘come out’ and suffer silently. I believe in gays deserving respect and dignity and in their right to choose any partner and live a contented life as a couple. And…. I also believe that those among us who are not of heterosexual orientation form about 1% of our population.

None of my above beliefs or any other biases are of any consequence to my argument which is firmly anchored on Children’s Rights or rather the denial of it. ‘Gay Marriage’ is about the societal and governmental sanction for a legal union of a couple while having no support system to guarantee the rights of the children that they may legally parent. It is about normalising the anguish and the denial of basic unalienable rights of many children and hence it cannot be ignored merely to ‘empower’ gays, as if marriage ever empowers… ask any man :(.

What Children’s Rights am I harping about? If a child is born with two living parents, she has the right to receive the care of both her biological parents. This right is sometimes taken away from the child in later life due to death, desertion or divorce. Sometimes it is legally denied to the child right from birth due to surrogacy but the biological mother is generally effectively replaced by an adoptive (female) mother. Complications in childhood development can be avoided in such a child of a heterosexual couple if she effectively receives the care of a good mother and a father. A vital fact about the care dished out by a mother and a father is that they have very different and complementary effect on a child’s development. We have loads of scientific literature on what detrimental effects manifest in children who have an absence of either a female mother or a male father in their lives. The knowledge of such effects and its consequences in children’s lives is so saddening that it is extremely difficult for my reason to accept it and write off children as collateral damage in such families. And hence my conviction and the courage that it imbues to write this log.

Let’s consider a same-sex couple wanting to have a child. If they adopt a child, if the couple are committed parents, irrespective of the child’s age she will only be elevated in emotional care and support compared to the best that any orphanage in the world can offer. The very fact that the child can call two people as her own sets her life on a path much better than what she could have trudged on as an orphan, emotionally at least. On the other hand if the couple decide to go the direct-biological way, the story of the child who’ll be brought into this world will be quite different. Apart from the fact that there will ALWAYS be a third person to donate the egg or the sperm, the parenting will be done by two people of the same sex and the ‘other-sex’ parent will be absent from her early life. The biological father/mother doesn’t magically disappear after he/she has served the purpose of reproduction of ONE of the gay parents, but will remain as the undeniable ‘other-sex’ parent that the child will never have in life. She will be destined to live a life where she is denied the ‘rights’ we examined above, by deliberate design of two people, not by chance or other unfortunate incidents like in the case of orphans or children of heterosexual couples. And such a situation, I cannot condone to be sanctioned by legal blessings of Gay Marriage without an all out debate on her rights. We must try and understand why the only guaranteed risk free structure for a basic family unit (assuming good parenting in all cases) is one with heterosexual and ‘present’ parents. We must pay heed to what psychological research has revealed on roles of mother and father in child development…

A baby during its first few months is the most irritating, exhausting and sometimes repulsive thing that a woman can handle. On top of that, since you feed it from your bosom, the best nutrition drained out from your blood, the baby sometimes appears as a giant blood sucking leech in the frequent nightmares that you have during your exhausted sleep-in-between-feed. All the mothers in the world will agree that when that baby bites you during a feed, launching you to levels of pain comparable to nirvana, for a tiny teeny little fraction of a nano second, you imagine wrenching that child by the neck and throwing it out of the window. But you just yell and bite your teeth hard into each other and cajole the baby away from you and lump the situation down the throat like a good mother. Now, why is the female capable of such self-torture?

If the female sex of Homo Sapiens were wired not to be the selfless compassionate caregivers that they are, the species stood no chance to survive the way we did

The care of a female mother can never be replaced by a man. Accept that…. it is the rational option. Absence of mother is so painful not just for the child but for those who witness it, even if it weren’t their child. The natural connect that we feel for our mothers is as if the umbilical cord was never cut. Undeniable and worthy of poems to be written about. The emotional instability, lack of social skills, anger, lack of self esteem and depression of various levels, as a result of varying degrees of mother-absence may remain as irreversible mental developmental issues in a child. The care of surrogates to a biological mother can only stand a decent chance to mitigate mother-absence issues if the surrogate is female. Though we may be able to find some men who are better childcare givers than most women, they will remain exceptions to the general rule. That’s just the way we are genetically programmed.

If being a compassionate caregiver was the genetically most successful type of wiring that evolved in the female of our species, the success of our species is testimony to the fact that it MUST have been complimented by evolution of wiring in males, for traits that are needed for survival but are not covered by the female. The combined skill set of males and females have ensured our survival. Therefore there is not sexism in the assessment that the traits like aggression, competitiveness, adventurism etc are generally male. We of course do find women like Rose Namajunas, a pint sized package of gun powder, the UFC Straw Weight champion, who can whoop the backside of most of the men I know but we won’t find many women who could live up to her nickname ‘Thug” the way she does. Men being men and women being women happen to be the most successful generalised strategy that worked for us.

Father has an equal devotion to his child as the mother but his expression of love and care takes obvious masculine styles. Fathers are likely to engage in more physical play which is very important in body and balance development, knowing limits of physical pain etc. They are more likely to let the child engage in adventurous and risky activities with their secure arms ready to grab her if she falls. It translates to the typical ‘Father Figure’ who offers solid protection while encouraging exploring the unknown. Though I’ve myself sometimes called Fatherhood a thankless job due to its obvious inferiority to Motherhood (due to unfair biological advantages), most women give due regard to the importance of fathers. However as I browsed through the scientific literature on the effects of fatherlessness on child mental development, I was horrified and my heart wept with guilt for the lost moments in the past where I was absent for my children. The info that lead me to investigate this phenomenon is that at least 22 out of the 27 mass shooters in the US (give or take…numbers are disputed) hail from fatherless families. Effects of father-absence I found, are slightly different but equally damaging in boys and girls. Remember that what’s given below is information gleaned from scientific papers and depict the worst case scenarios in the generalised form. Don’t be alarmed.

In girls with absent father, especially if the onset is before seven years of age, the chances of noticing early puberty, early sexual activity and other behavioural problems are very high. Father absence has high correlation with negative attitude towards men and inability to forge long term relationships with one man. One study {Hetherington, E. M. (1972)} stated its findings as so…

In the daughters of divorcees this took the form of proximity-seeking and attention-seeking from males, early heterosexual behaviour, and various forms of nonverbal communication associated with openness and responsiveness. In contrast, in the daughters of widows it was manifested in inhibition, rigidity, avoidance, and restraint around males. Early separation from fathers had more severe effects than late separation.

Father-absence in case of boys appears to manifest itself in ways to overcompensate for the missing ‘Father Figure’. One study (Patricia Draper and Henry Harpending, “Father Absence and Reproductive Strategy: An Evolutionary Perspective”) laid down its findings as so..

Male children born into female focused households exhibit at adolescence a complex of aggression, competition, low male parental investment, and derogation of females and feminity

Boys growing up with an absent father is at elevated risk of incarceration says another study. Yet another one (Hoffman, M. L. (1971). Father absence and conscience development. Developmental Psychology) found that the development of morality in boys is closely linked to presence of father in early development (no difference was found in case of girls!)…

Father-absent boys obtained lower scores for all the moral indexes, significantly lower for internal moral judgment, maximum guilt following transgressions, acceptance of blame, moral values, and rule conformity; and were rated by teachers as significantly more aggressive than father-present boys

You see, I grew up as the child of (hard) working parents. My mom would agree with me that I have experienced both the sides of parent-absence as a child. Long hours without the warmth of both. However I have not ended up blaming the ‘childhood deprivation’ as the seed that stands as the cause for all my (vast) shortcomings. As most of my readers feel about theirs, I am eternally thankful that my parents did the best they could….. under the circumstances. And through quality time (whenever they were with me) they turned me into a curious, freethinking person possessing their standard of morals. My point therefore is that all the above study findings apply to the worst case scenarios.

However if we are to debate on what family structure (which IMO is a heterosexual-parents model) is the most stable, nurturing and advantageous for the human child, we have to consider the worst case scenarios, the worst affected children and all the unpleasant data that science reveals to us on the subject. And we have to consider what the consequences are if we, as a society, through legislation or other legal means condone and thereby encourage other family structures that may not ensure that children receive what they deserve and what are their unalienable rights. At present, gay marriage legislation is such a proposal.

HOWEVER I have no doubt in the unalienable rights of gays with children to live a fulfilling life within a family structure of their own choice. But they have a herculean task if they decide to be parents.

As it is with all couples, the moment you have a child in the equation your life suddenly changes. On RHS is everything you are and everything you have like your possessions, people and even your spouse; on LHS is placed the one variable which stores the most important value – Children. The entire meaning of survival and success in life can be boiled down to actions and decisions that maximise what you can with the RHS of the equation so that the LHS is best advantaged in life. Your genes thus continue successfully to future generations in the march of evolution. To think with any less commitment towards the rights of children, is in my opinion immoral.

Therefore if as a gay couple you need to start a family, I strongly recommend that you think of ways you can ensure the presence of the ‘other-sex’ parent that your child needs. There are many options. Firstly, what science tells us is that co-residing grand parents can greatly mitigate the absence of one parent. Co-parenting (in a set up wherein more than two adults may enter into a formal agreement to care for a child together) is another option but you have to find a genuinely willing third party. Law makers in Netherlands are considering a new law making it legal for up to four co-parents to be granted official custody. Parenting alliance between a gay and a lesbian couple is being talked about. There may be more options to ensure that children are exposed to a ‘well-rounded’ environment with parents of both sexes interacting in their own way. Such options need to be explored and talked about.

And more importantly, making a radical social alteration at this juncture and legally sanctifying gay marriage will undermine the rights of children and induce a cultural shock because the complications of single-sex parenting have not been addressed through adequate support and monitoring systems. Legally fortified systems that ensure that gay parents provide their children adequate parental care from a third party of the other sex needs to be put in place. Once such a level of safe guards are in place, any gay couple who fit the bill and get legally committed, do send me your wedding card. I’ll be happy to attend.

Until then I fully support any gay couple getting into any other kind of legal agreement and have children through surrogacy, sperm/egg donation etc. You don’t need and must not have the legal stamp of marriage bestowed by a society that cannot guarantee the best for your children. The need for ensuring the same kind of safe guards for your children still stands valid, the moral responsibility for which will rest on you. Their situation will not be very different from singles that use surrogacy.
You all have a task at hand. A pretty tough one if you really care. All I can say that I’ll stand behind you guys in whatever is needed to ensure that children of the future have healthy and stable families. Just don’t arm twist me into condoning gay marriage as of now.

And don’t hate me please.

One thought on “Gays….Please don’t hate me

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