Traitors to the Cause?

March 30, 2015 in General

Recently, LGBT news outlets have covered two items to do with ‘turncoat’ gay men and the fundamentalist daughter of two lesbian mothers, who now opposes same-sex parenting. However, what’s the real story behind both?
To take the story of Heather Berwick, fundamentalist mother of four and turncoat daughter of two lesbian mothers, who says that growing up without a dad led to a ‘father wound’. Berwick has been slammed by other straight children of LGBT-led families. Many of them are angry that their beloved parents are being attacked for undertaking the onerous responsibilities and sacrifices involved in taking on parental responsibilities for raising the next generation of citizens.  My own partner and I have a daughter from his previous marriage, whose response was that she wasn’t short of female role models when she was growing up, nor did she feel short-changed about the ‘absence’ of straight role models around her either, because there wasn’t any such shortage.  It isn’t the fact that Berwick has spoken out against same-sex parenting that’s the problem, it’s the fact that she is now actively campaigning against same-sex parenting and marriage equality.  Nat was quite blunt about Berwick, arguing that in her view, Berwick was trying to ‘score brownie points’ with her current fundamentalist peer group and that stank.  Which indeed does seem to be the case. Berwick has fallen into the clutches of a subculture and that subculture is trying to pretend that its particular subcultural norms and values are universal and should apply to greater western culture.  Most straight parents do an excellent job, but let’s not pretend all of them do. What about alcohol and drug addicted straight parents, or those who are violent and dysfunctional, or batter or sexually abuse their children? Shouldn’t they be the primary focus of attention, given that their dysfunctional parenting will produce the next generation of violent criminals? (And dysfunctional and abusive LGBT parents should be treated no less severely when they exist).
And why is the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog running pieces from brainwashed fundamentalist former progeny of  lesbian and gay parents? Are we really supposed to be convinced by what are primarily anecdotal accounts, and clearly predicated on the premise that it is the authors current narrow, prescriptive authoritarian religious social conservative belief system that has retrospectively and subjectively  “condemned” marriage equality, transgender transitioning and same-sex parenting.  Rather than listening to captives of religious social conservative existential and psychological constraint, and their ad hominem condemnations of their parents, I’d rather read more substantive research literature from Judith Stacey and others, thanks. And let’s be clear about this too, shall we? Just because some “hired gun”, methodologically inadequate religious social conservative “professional” writes a contrived “research paper” against same-sex parenting, that does not qualify as any sort of ‘rebuttal’ to, or substitute for,  replicated and reinforceable professional research evidence and their implications for public policy.  That is why New Zealand provides IVF access for lesbian couples, fostering, guardianship and adoptive parental responsibilities for eligible same-sex parents under the Human Rights Act 1993, Care of Children Act 2004 and the Marriage Amendment Act 2013.  In other words, as with Family First’s latest cravenly dependent and inexplicable coverage of irrelevant service provider discrimination/’religious liberty’ legislation in the United States, which I’ve covered in the next blog, such empty declarative posturing carries no real weight. That ship has sailed already and it’s never coming back.
The other problems are Italian fashion magnates Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana, who have outraged global LGBT communities by pontificating that in vitro fertilisation and surrogacy produce ‘artificial’ families, which is a ‘problem’ for Dolce and Gabbana because they’re a tiresome couple of self-hating conservative Catholic gay men who believe that IVF and surrogacy should be banned because they’re against ‘natural law’- too bad if you’re an infertile straight couple who desperately want children, or a lesbian couple who want to undertake parental responsibilities. Fortunately, here in New Zealand, IVF is perfectly legal, although homophobic straight male sperm donors make life difficult for lesbians and single women who want to become parents. The problem with this ‘natural law’ dogma is that it also rules out contraception, condoms and safe sex (because they’re ‘artificial’ too) and even gay sex per se because it’s supposedly an ‘accident’ of human development and pitted ‘against’ ‘essential’ or ‘normal’ heterosexuality.  However, the latter formulation is the product of conservative Catholic sectarian philosophy from the prescientific era of Thomas Aquinas in the twelfth century.  While this Thomist philosophy contributes insights on other social issues, it has been rendered largely obsolete by the development of scientific method and analysis, which have disproven its sectarian assertions in some areas. Needless to say, there has been a chorus of disapproval from Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish, Madonna, ex-Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou (Marcus Dent), Victoria Beckham, Courtney Love and the resignation of Dolce and Gabbana’s Swide magazine director Guiliano Federico.   From the other direction, there has been a similar hail of approval for Dolce and Gabbana from right-wing UK media host Piers Morgan, former right-wing Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, UK Christian Right leader Andrea Williams (of the grossly misnamed “Christian Concern” pressure group), and Conservative Cabinet Minister Edward Pickles. (Pickles has said he was wrong about his earlier opposition to inclusive adoption reform). Oh yes, and their parrot, Bob McCoskrie and his Family First pressure group here in New Zealand, dutifully regurgitating Christian Right propaganda as ever. No matter how inapplicable to New Zealand, given that fostering, guardianship, adoption and IVF access are all open to LGBT New Zealanders who want to undertake parental responsibilities, for that matter.
What about ‘self-hating’ conservative Christian LGBT community members, anyway?  In some cases, the individuals are caught in a quagmire of cognitive dissonance. One day, they’re having hot gay sex, and the next, they’re in the confessional on their knees confessing their ‘objective moral disorder’ to a Catholic priest.  It twists and warps their personalities, rendering them not particularly pleasant people to be around. I’m almost grateful that I’m an ex-fundamentalist instead- at least fundamentalists have a starker dichotomy about acceptance and rejection when it comes to homosexuality. Once you’re out, you’re out, in a manner of speaking.  It’s probably healthier than the unhealthy emphasis on interior self-repression and guilt within conservative Catholicism and conditional ‘acceptance’ if one is either a ‘celibate’ gay man or ‘guilty’ and conflicted about not obeying conservative Catholic dogma.   These tiresome specimens also believe that “religious” individuals and their businesses should be free to discriminate against LGBT employees, potential renters or home buyers, prospective parents and others. Objectivist ‘libertarian’ gay male devotees of Ayn Rand also oppose lesbian and gay inclusion in antidiscrimination laws, but confusingly, not when it comes to civil unions or marriage equality.  Speaking of which, Berwick, Dolce and Gabbana aren’t the only offenders in this regard.  Embarassingly for opponents of marriage equality, “Manif Pour Tous” in France seemed to think “exgays’ were legitimate parties of discourse when it came to that country’s debate over marriage equality and inclusive adoption reform. They fooled no-one.
Sometimes, though, cognitive dissonance and malice aforethought are not the primary reasons. In other cases, it’s because the party responsible isn’t particularly intelligent and hasn’t thought through the consequences of particular blinkered prejudices, like elder gay men who oppose marriage and adoption because ‘children need  a mum and dad,’ because they haven’t had any direct experience of parenting themselves.  Amusingly, Dolce and Gabbana have been exposed as hypocrites, as Gabbana asked a female friend to undertake surrogate pregnancy for him only a few years ago.
Lucas Grindley: “Child of Lesbian Mums says same-sex parenting is wrong” Advocate: 20.03.2015:  w rong

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