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Category:
Gender

10 posts in this category

Better Off With Straight Parents

....We were somewhat surprised and we had a number of questions, not least of which was why she felt she needed to be in a straight relationship to have children, we were even more surprised when the answer was that her therapist had said raising children in straight relationships was of course better than raising them in gay ones.

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Reawakening - Tiara 2

When booking a recent holiday to DisneyWorld, my partner searched online for recommendations of essential things to do, and regardless of how inappropriate I felt it would be for our family he duly booked 'Dinner with the Disney Princesses'.

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Not in front of the children.

We were getting to the end of our assessment and panel was rapidly approaching, it had been long, intense and surprisingly emotional. We had a great social worker who we felt we got along with very well and who we found to be professional and very capable.

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One step ahead of the bully.

The only objection voiced to us as a gay couple when we decided to adopt, amazingly came from gay friends. None of our straight friends or family thought of it as anything other than a wonderful decision, for us and indeed for our future children.

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Kissing

My partner and I were kissed as children by both our parents (which isn't as obvious to some as we may assume) and we don't think twice about it with our sons. In fact if I stop and consider it at all I would say that we saw it as a bit of a short cut to bonding and attachment and a way of showing them that we were open emotionally to them right from the start.

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Mum

Both our boys on occasions have called my partner and I 'Mum', as we are both men it has surprised us and we have considered it long and hard.

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Listen Closely

 20150716_102245I recently met a beautiful and totally delightful 11-year-old girl who at the age of 10 - after a long and very difficult struggle - had finally managed to make her parents realise and accept that the male body she was born into was wrong and that she was indeed female.The parents shared with me the terrible time they had coming to terms with this reality and how they now realise that they had seriously failed the child that they loved so very much for so long because of their own ignorance and prejudice.They explained that their resistance to accept the truth had caused the daughter so much unhappiness and distress and that it had resulted in her becoming ill and developing stress-related alopecia and then how it had simply gone away once they listened to her and allowed her to be the person she knew herself to be.As a parent this conversation touched me greatly. And as a parent of a child whose genes I do not share maybe even more so. It made me realise the huge responsibility we have to listen to our children and to respect that they have a voice, to comprehend that they may not be the 'mini-mes' we want them to be, nor the people we expect them to be and, most importantly, that it just can't matter.Whoever they are and whatever they are is a fact. We can teach them to understand and appreciate social mores and expectations and we can equip them to be the best they can possibly be within the framework that society lays down, but we can't stop them being who they truly are. And even if we could, what on earth right would we have to do so?We can educate our children to understand and appreciate our lives and the way we live them, but we can't change their being to suit us, to suit our extended family, to suit our friends, our neighbours, our religion. Maybe we can influence them, maybe we can bully them into our ideals, or to meet our expectations or our beliefs, but does that change the people who they truly are? Or does it just result in them hiding their true selves to meet our selfishness, potentially confusing them and no doubt making them hugely unhappy in the process?I wonder how many of us parents can look back at how we were brought up - and what we inevitably bring into our own parenting to some degree - and recognise just how strongly we were expected to live up to our parents’ expectations and how wrong that was for us.I for one wish that I had been able to stand up for myself and say - 'NO, listen to ME. That is NOT me, that is NOT what I want and that is NOT who I am' - but as a child I was never given that chance, was simply chastised for trying to be true to myself and made to feel guilty for disappointing my parents’ impossible expectations.Of course we have to make sure our children know right from wrong; we have to make sure that they are good citizens who abide by the law and respect others as they would wish to be respected. It is our responsibility to arm them well to take their place in the adult world, but surely only as the adults that they know themselves to be.I now look back and realise that over the years I have been around a number of parents who I think did wrong by their child/children by forcing their own 'needs' or their own agenda upon them. That has left me as a parent wondering if I will be able to hear my children when they need me to, if I will really listen to them when confronted with something that I would struggle with or simply does not suit my expectations.I certainly hope that I can and if required: I truly hope that I do. Of course for their sakes - but equally for mine.P.S. I guess it is not going to be as easy as I had hoped it would be. A short time after writing this, I was having a conversation with a parent about their child (who has been privately educated) not wanting to go on into further education, and I found myself saying, “Well of course he has to go to university. The investment you have made has been huge and what will his future hold without a degree?”. To which I was quite rightly told “I know my child and he is not remotely academic. This is not about money; it is about him knowing himself and about me respecting that”.

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The Twelve Blogs of Christmas #7: So Macho

DSC_4363Last year for Christmas we gave our oldest son a simple MP3 player. We went through our music collection and filled it with happy pop songs that we felt he would enjoy - and enjoy them he does.Very quickly he learnt some of the lyrics and he merrily sings along - often at the top of his voice - and very quickly we realised the error of our ways.We are gay dads and without considering it we had filled our young son's gift with VERY 'gay man' music.Immediately his favourite song became 'it's raining men', closely followed by 'dancing queen', 'YMCA' and ironically, 'So Macho'.I have never been under the illusion that I have a cool taste in music, which is fortunate because if I ever had been it would have been quashed when my nephews reached the age when they could express their feelings about it; it was often clearly stated that I like 'sad old gay man's music'.And here I am passing it on to my son.I am the first to scream about the merits of gay adoption, but even I have to acknowledge that when it comes to music, there could be a real downside for our children.I am now going to take my tongue out of my cheek to go and 'daddy dance' around the Christmas tree to something very butch...where is that K D Lang CD?

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The long and winding road.

It seems obvious that for the vast majority there is quite simply an inevitability that you will one day become a parent and indeed a social expectation that will be so right from the very beginning - even those young adults who buck the trend and do not consider themselves all that child focussed may soon find themselves in a relationship where parenting is the next logical step or around their peers who are establishing families which opens up the possibility of the same for them.

 When on that path and the unthinkable happens and a natural pregnancy is not possible and medical intervention fails too, adoption becomes an obvious consideration and hopefully a solution.

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Tiara

We are watching something together when the younger brother walks back into the room, I look up as he enters and immediately notice his posture and his slow, determined walk - it's positively regal - and then I see that he is wearing one of his favourite possessions - his Tiara.

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