Thursday, April 12, 2012
Families... you can't live without them!
I love modern family. It is such a funny show. But the thing that speaks to me the most is how easy it seems for Cameron and Mitchell to be completely integrated into their families. One of the things that has really surprised me about this process, is the different responses M and I have received from various members in both of our families. I guess I live in a bit of a bubble--downtown Manhattan--We both have lots of friends gay and straight where sexuality is a non-issue. Obviously with family it is different, but I guess I was surprised at how different. We've experienced three very different reactions to the news we are pregnant. The first and most common reaction has been happiness for us and excitement about whats to come. This has come from most of the people we are close too and for that I am not surprised. I couldn't imagine anybody in my life having children and not being thrilled for them. To repeat, that includes most members of our families.
The second category, in order of frequency, seems to be a kind of benign neglect. Occasionally we get asked a question about it, but for the most part it feels like the new don't ask, don't tell. There is little excitement in this response and a lot of "I'm not really comfortable but I'll keep it to myself." Finally, a rare but still surprising response has been downright hostility. The subtle (and sometime not so subtle) message that M and I are making a terrible mistake, that two men cannot raise children, that there is something unnatural or provocative about us trying to start a family in this way.
Again, maybe I've spent too much time in the bubble of downtown Manhattan but I can't believe that people can think this way, especially people who know me and M well. I've spoke to one of M and my close girlfriends about this and she told me to try to understand how new and foreign this is for many people. But, I have a hard time accepting that. Having a baby in India via surrogacy, guess what, that is pretty new and foreign to me. I don't understand people who can treat heterosexual and homosexual couples so differently. How can they be thrilled when a female relative gets pregnant and then offer a completely different response when a gay couple tries to have a baby. I just don't accept the "foreign" thing. Many people in my life do things that I might not do or consider for myself, yet I can be happy they found a path toward happiness and fulfillment in this life, which doesn't always give many people opportunities for that. Mr. M is the more tolerant between the two of us. He is willing to accept what people can offer. I can too, but at the same time, I don't think it is fair to expect us to accept less. I think sometimes we need to communicate to people what we expect from them.
I know we live in the real world. Being in a family means accepting people for what and whom they are and I need to offer the same acceptance I ask for. But, I do worry. I don't want our children to feel that they are less valued by their family because of how they came to be in this world. I don't want them to feel like they are marginalized in their own families. Again, most people have been wonderful and so I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but for the ones that can't be, I just don't get it.
Posted by Robert at 10:32 AM