Mothers & Sons: Feminism, Masculinity, and the Struggle to Raise Our Sons

By Andrea O'Reilly | Go to book overview

8

LESBIANS RAISING SONS BRINGING UP A NEW BREED OF MEN

Jess Wells

I would like to paint a social portrait of being a lesbian mother of a son. There are fourteen million people in lesbian households in America. The number surprised me: fourteen million. We struggle to love and nurture under conditions that I can honestly say no other group in America (except for the developmentally challenged) is forced to face. Until recently it was almost routine that out lesbians had their children taken away from them. Until recently we bore children in heterosexual marriages because we could not meld our desire for children and our need to be lesbians. What ensued was too frequently nasty, expensive, and debilitating court battles, struggles to maintain our dignity and our beliefs in the face of hostile ex-spouses who told our children we were sick and perverted-try maintaining discipline and respect with that on the other end of joint custody. At best, those situations have turned into parallel parenting, two sets of values, two sets of frequently opposing lifestyles. At worst, I am talking about kidnapping of children by ex-spouses. Lesbian mothers face the constant threat of reopened custody hearings. And it is not just “one weekend here, one there, which I personally think is damaging enough. It is custody hearings that deny all access to the mother. Or onerous arrangements where the

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