Gay Baby Bust
love children -- I really do -- and they like me. But I've never wanted
the responsibility and bother of my own babies (or, heaven forbid, my
So for a long time, I was content with
a complete lack of pressure on me to produce children. I thought of it
as one of the many perks of being an out homosexual man: Unlike
my straight siblings, I never had to contend with not-so-subtle hints
about absent grandbabies. None of my friends ever pointedly mentioned
my biological clock. And no fellows ever ruined a perfectly nice first
date by asking me whether I wanted children. (Just for the record,
guys, this is a terrible question to ask on a first date. Check with
your straight girl friends for more tips.)
In the 20 or so
years I've been an out gay adult, attitudes toward gay
men having kids have definitely changed. All of a sudden, it seems,
everyone -- from elderly relatives to tricks I pick up in disreputable
bars -- is asking me about my plans to start a family. And I'm not even
married yet -- hell, I don't have definite plans for this weekend. But all the gays want kids now. It's like babies are this year's Jack
A longtime friend-with-benefits of mine recently caused my mild-but-growing
unease with this cultural shift to become outright concern: He is an awesome guy -- a 45-year-old stud who's really smart and funny, too!
But he's a total gym-addict who lives in a meticulously decorated loft,
takes two gay cruises a year, and has never had a pet. All evidence
points to the fact he loves his fabulous life. So why did he
interrupt a recent post-coital glow by talking about how much he
"wanted kids" -- and opining that I'd be a "great dad"?
(For the record, I would not. And if you think I would, you might not be clear on what a dad's responsibilities are.)
And he's just one of many gay guys I know who are suddenly getting
all dreamy about having kids. Of course, there have always been out gay
men who truly do want children, and who do so -- often fighting unjust
adoption laws and other terrible odds to create amazing, loving
families. And I applaud these parents. They have made having children a real,
imaginable possibility for gay men everywhere.
just want to be sure that everyone thinks through this whole "having babies"
thing beyond its imaginary romance and political-statement aspects.
This is not internalized homophobia; please don't misunderstand me -- I
have always thought that it's far too easy for straight people to
reproduce, too. Just because you can have children, doesn't mean
I'm glad the gay men who want to have kids can now do
so more easily. However, I worry that our love of fads (the compulsion many of us feel to "get the latest thing") is going to make some of us
commit to having families when, actually, we just need to go
shopping for some new accessories -- or need to channel those nurturing instincts back into our own communities.