Who's Fit to Be a Parent?

By Mukti Jain Campion | Go to book overview

9

Gay parents

While theorists debate the merits of marriage between gays, many are already living the settled-down life of their 'breeder' peers. That includes children-either through adoption, artificial insemination or arrangements between lesbians and gay 'uncles'. There are an estimated 3 million to 5 million lesbian and gay parents who have had children in the context of a heterosexual relationship. But in the San Francisco area alone, at least 1,000 children have been born to gay or lesbian couples in the last five years. A number of organisations have sprung up to meet their social needs. San Francisco boasts the Lesbian and Gay Parenting Group, storytelling hours for tots at gay bookstores and congregation Sha'ar Zahav, a largely gay synagogue with a Hebrew School for members' children.

(Salholz 1990)

We are a group of women who have chosen to live independently of men and who want to have children. We are going to do this by self-insemination to ensure that we have complete responsibility and control over our fertility. If you agree to be a donor, this would involve going to a pre-arranged venue at short notice. You would then be asked to ejaculate into a clean receptacle. That is all that would be required of you.

(Advertisement placed in City Limits London magazine)

In most western countries, the last three decades has seen a gradual emergence into public life of those who are gay or lesbian. There has been increasing tolerance of people who openly wear the badge of homosexuality, to the extent that most heterosexual people do not attempt to interfere as long as it does not encroach on their own lives-that is to say, as long as gay people are discreet and keep their sexuality a private matter. However, any suggestion of openly gay or lesbian adults as parents seems to produce a huge outcry-somehow, having children brings parents into a public arena where their personal lives can be justifiably criticised. All the age-old arguments come flying forth: homosexuality is sinful, perverted, unnatural.

In Britain, the conflicting attitudes of policy makers to homosexuality are reflected on the one hand in many local authority level initiatives to promote tolerance of homosexuality and, on the other, new central government legislation

-177-

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Who's Fit to Be a Parent?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Parents on Trial 5
  • 1 - The State Versus Parents 7
  • 2 - Other People's Children 38
  • 3 - Parents Apart 63
  • 4 - Playing God 96
  • 5 - Key Themes from Part I 117
  • Part II - Parents on the Edge 129
  • 6 - Disabled Parents 133
  • 7 - Mentally Handicapped Parents 151
  • 8 - Drug Addicted Mothers 168
  • 9 - Gay Parents 177
  • 10 - Teenage Mothers 189
  • 11 - Older Mothers 197
  • 12 - Single Mothers 205
  • 13 - Lone Fathers 217
  • 14 - Working Mothers 225
  • 15 - Black Parents 239
  • 16 - Key Themes from Part II 261
  • Part III - The Job Description 269
  • 17 - The Ideal Model and the Actual Model of Fit Parenting 271
  • 18 - Implications of the Actual Model of Fit Parenting to Assessment 281
  • 19 - Looking Forward 300
  • Bibliography 303
  • Index 309
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