Alternatively, “Adults and Cowardice.”
One recent argument I heard against homosexual couples was that the children that gay couples might adopt would be harmed. A slew of studies have shown that this is not the case. As far as studies go, the most recent one was fairly scientifically rigorous: the measurement of social development and psychological health of the children was not based on the opinions of their parents alone but also of outside observers, like teachers and caregivers, and a control group of heterosexual couples was used. The conclusion? Quality of parenting determines the psychological health of the child, not the sexual orientation of the parents. From a policy standpoint, the data provide no justification for denying lesbian and gay adults from adopting children.
But won’t children of gay and lesbian parents be bullied in school, you might ask? Yes, there is a high likelihood that they will. However, obese children, ethnic minorities, economically disadvantaged children, even smart children get bullied too. The solution to the bullying problem is to address the bullying, not use it as a reason to prohibit gay couples from adopting children.
When I was in elementary school, I was bullied every day. Sometimes it was for being Asian in a neighborhood of rich white kids; sometimes it was for being a smart girl; but usually it was about my physical appearance. I got picked on for having a “mustache,” the unfortunate result of having black hair but light skin. This bullying went on for years and only got worse as the tormentors grew in vocabulary and cleverness. It was a sly comment here, a rude gesture there. All things that might have been caught and reprimanded in kindergarten but ironically were ignored in sixth grade. I cried every day when I came home from school. Finally, I told my parents, and they spoke to my teacher about the bullying.
Her response? “That happened to me growing up too. You can buy products at CVS to bleach that hair.”
My parents accepted that as an answer. So did I, at the time. Only after I left for college and had the ability to look back on those years without overwhelming bitterness did I realize how wrong a response that was. Where was the apology for letting this hateful bullying happen right under her nose? More importantly, where was the action in response to it? Even after my parents met with her, she never spoke up or stood up for me against the bullies. They never got in trouble, even though now she couldn’t say she didn’t know it was happening.
This is the huge problem with bullying nowadays. It is easier for teachers and administrators to coerce the bullied into changing than it is to confront the bullies themselves. Society already does its fair share of looking down upon the marginalized and pressuring them to change their identities; that makes it far too easy for adults to do it under the guise of looking out for the child’s best interests when it is in fact a cowardly way of handling the problem.
If gay children are bullied, don’t try to change them– stop the bullying. If children of gay parents are bullied, don’t prohibit gay couples from adopting– stop the bullying. The problem is not why these children are the way they are. The problem lies with the parents, teachers, and administrators who turn a blind eye to the hateful words and actions that shouldn’t be tolerated in the first place.
Full post here. My blog mainly focuses on issues related to sexual/domestic violence and post-traumatic stress disorder, but a post about bullying was simply screaming to be written.