Monday, November 20, 2006

GreenStone Talkshow

From a tip* from LesbianDad I just listened to Dr. Nanette Gartrell (principal investigator on the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study) and some other not-entirely informed guy on the call-in radio show on GreenStone Radio.

I think what infuriates me about discussions like that (i.e. short, so not enough time for anyone to really make a coherent point) is the platitudes that are spoken, and not followed-up on.

For example, Mr. Sprig** (the anti-gays-having-kids guy) kept talking in huge generalizations like:

a) kids with two biological parents in the household do "better" than kids in households with stepparents
b) African American kids in single-mother parent households do "much worse" than kids with two parents.

I wanted to scream! What exactly does he mean by "better" or "worse"? What things are measured? And how can he not see the confounding variables? Probably African American kids with single mother parents are doing "worse" because they don't have any money! Not because they don't have a dad! And "step-parents" are probably not great substitutes for biological parents because the study is mixing up the effects of divorce or separation. What does that have to do with being a gay or lesbian parent? How does an involved non-biological parent who has been around since conception differ from a biological parent? Does he think that adoption should be illegal--even among the hetersexuals out there? I also think that we confuse parent's sexuality with parent's gender.

There are just so many more questions out there for us to answer before we can make such definitive (and derisive) conclusions. For example: How many glbt families are formed through a) adoption, b) prior heterosexual marriages and c) donor insemination. How does family formation affect children? Is it that children need two parents with differing primary sexual characteristics or is it that children need "masculine" fathers and "feminine" mothers in order to learn correct gender roles?***

He kept getting stuck on one of the relatively well known results that the children of gay and lesbian parents tend to experiment more with their sexuality, although they usually do not end up being gay or lesbian themselves. This is such a ridiculous "concern." If anything, it tells me that if we were all free to explore the limits of our beings, that more of us would experiment. Period. What is the negative in that?


Maybe Devil's Advocates like that hit at my insecurities. Are we preparing our kids well enough to lead heterosexual lives? Will our SYO be able to navigate a relationship with a man even though she hasn't experienced it first hand yet? Am I enough of a dad? Is having two moms enough?

*From LesbianDad: Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the principal investigator on the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, about which I wrote in late October, is going to be interviewed about her study alongside a FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL guest on a call-in radio show on GreenStone Radio between 9:20 and 10:00am, PST, this Monday, November 20.

It’s streamed online, and the call-in number is toll-free. Details below. The obvious and pressing need is to counter what’s likely to be a well-orchestrated wall o’ hate coming in on the phone lines from the FRC folks.

**I didn't hear the beginning of the show, so I didn't hear what his qualifications were, but after a quick google, I am thinking that he is: Peter Sprig, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council.

***See my previous post and the link on LesbianDad's blog to George Saunders' "My Amendment" for a great editorial on "Samish-Sex Marriage" and gender roles.


Polly P said...

You are my she-ro!

I wrote about the show here, and you can kinda tell how I got all huddled down as a humanities nerd and was shadow-boxing behind you and your far superior research street cred. Couldn't help myself.

Thank you, thank you. We can and will continue the discussion about your thoughtful and brave notes at the end of your post. I'll try to give each one of those questions some good hard thought and mebbe even post about 'em. We're all in this together. Even if I'm crouched behind you.

Taggert said...

My experience (albeit limited) with females is that even if they did have a "real" father, they had trouble navigating relationships with men. Just becuase a father is physically present does not mean he is mentally present. How could you do worse?

I think the question should be, if single african american women do worse on average, so do half the hetero couples as evidenced above. So who is going to decide which people can and can not raise kids? Get these morons realizing the "government" will not be theirs for much longer, and whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Then maybe they'll actually go back to being small government conservatives.


PS I'm not drunk this time.