The ongoing fight for LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, and problems with homophobia make secrecy a popular avenue for gay families. Many gay parents are more than prepared to be open about their sexual orientation, but they stick to confidentiality when their children are involved. The reason for this is quite understandable. Many gay people do not care whether people accept them or not, but we are more touchy when it comes to discrimination against our children. Many gay parents will easily jump back in the closet for their children's sake. Unfortunately this might look like a better option for the children, but there are a few disadvantages.
Firstly it means that the teachers at school do not know that the child has gay parents. Unfortunately not all teachers are sensitive for the fact that there may be children of gay parents in their classes and they may make a few unnecessary remarks that might hurt the children. If teachers knew that there were children of gay parents in their classes they might think twice before they make these remarks. Off course if they are bigots they would not care.
Secondly children would be in situations where they find it difficult to explain who their parents are. When my children were smaller and called my partner dad some of their teachers corrected them by saying he is not their dad. At that stage it confused them, but these days they have no difficulty in correcting the teachers.
Thirdly the secrecy makes their friends more complicated. Whenever friends want to stay over the question of how to deal with it arises. Are you going to talk to the friend's parents to explain everything to them, are you going to play it straight for the evening, or are you going to deny your kids a sleepover? In this regard it is much easier if you are open and everyone knows what is going on.
Fourthly secrecy may confuse the kids. Especially when they are smaller it is difficult to teach a child that this is his daddy, but he / she should not tell anyone about it. Kids want to talk about their parents and they do not really understand why there should be any secrets.
Lastly it condemns at least one of the parents the joy of taking part in many of the aspects of the child's life. If it is a secret it is difficult to explain why the other uncle / aunt should be present at parent's night, sport events, or school plays.
Being openly gay parents does not take away all the problems. There will always be homophobic parents with homophobic brats that could tease or bully your children, but at least you can deal with it openly if that happens. Homophobic teachers may also make your children's lives more complicated, but then you can confront the teacher, the principal, or the school-board openly.
Whatever choice you make between secret or open gay parenting, there will always be difficult situations to deal with.
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