I have yet to have children but when/if I do, my fiancée and I will most likely be looking at the following annoying inquiries. I know this because we’re already dealing with variations on these same inquiries about our family and how we relate to another one. While there are obviously much, much worse comments you can make to a same-sex family (like my lovely neighbor who daily refers to my fiancée and I as “dyke bitches,” well GOOD MORNING TO YOU TOO), the following always seem to come from well-intentioned individuals.
1. “Which one of you is the ‘real’ mom?”
Actually, we’re both the “real” mom considering that we both signed on to be parents. If you’re asking about which one of us is the “biological” mother, that’s a different inquiry entirely and should be phrased as such.
2. “Who is the father?”
In another case of watch that vocabulary, what we’re really talking about is “the donor.” Obviously, some same-sex parents may have a relationship with their donor (if they carried) and may have a specific term for him (i.e. Uncle so and so or some variation on “dad”) — but not all do. So it’s best to often start with “the donor” and let the same-sex couple in question school you on whatever names they use. The same goes for families who have adopted. Don’t ask about “the parents.” Ask about the “biological parents.”
3. “Aren’t you worried that he/she will grow up to be gay too?”
No. Hateful bigotry, heterosexism, and the fact that my fiancée or I could be fired in 29 states aside, being gay is awesome.
4. “What if your kids are straight?”
Well, clearly we will have NOTHING in common.
5. “It must be really easy for you two to parent because you’re both women.”
Whoa there on that sexism and gender essentialism. While my lady friend and I are definitely products of cultural conditioning (how could we not be on on some level?), we’re not inherently better at folding laundry, doing drop off and pick up, making lunches, remembering to pick up diapers, and making doctor’s appointments than your male partner. Just ask the awesome SAHDs out there. You don’t need two X chromosomes to be able to be a decent parent.
6. “Aren’t you worried about having a male influence?”
Not really, primarily because I don’t think you necessarily need to be a man to raise an awesome son and the same goes for little girls (although there is research on how little girls with absentee fathers fare). Thankfully, I’m blessed to have an extended family and close friends that are laced with upstanding dudes and ladies.
7. “Does your child know that you’re…you know…GAY yet?”
Does your kid know that you’re straight? We actually don’t plan on devoting time to what goes on in our marital bed. And I assume you don’t either….?
8. “Father’s Day must be really confusing for your kid.”
It’s the assumption that’s problematic here. Hopefully, kids know that families come in all stripes. But regardless, I’m going to bet that not participating in yet another Hallmark holiday replete with ugly mugs isn’t all that scarring.
9. “It must be so great to be married/partnered to the same sex. Sometimes I wish I was gay.”
Oh, do you now? Because, it’s easier for us to communicate thanks to twin uteri? We may not have to deal with a bazillion years of heteronormative history telling us how to conduct our partnerships, but our relationship isn’t innately easier because we’re both fluent in hypothetical lady speak.
10. “So I’m not trying to be offensive or anything, but…”
We all know how this ends.