Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LZ Granderson: The favorite openly gay dad of social conservatives everywhere

Interesting phenomenon the last couple of days: A few of my socially conservative Facebook friends have posted a link to this LZ Granderson essay about the oversexualization of young girls. An excerpt:
And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergartners if they didn't think people would buy it.

If they didn't think parents would buy it, which raises the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?
Sensible stuff, hitting that sweet spot where social conservatives and feminist liberals can find common ground. And I don't think my socially conservative friends know each other, which indicates the essay is going viral. But I wouldn't mention it except for one thing: LZ Granderson is gay. Openly gay. With a teen son. He's a gay dad.

A conservative friend responds to this observation with one of his own: "If he's right, he's right." And my friend is right!

But here's the thing: So much of the modern argument against gay marriage is actually against gay parenthood. Maggie Gallagher of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage re-made the argument in explicit terms this week in testimony before Congress:
“Marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: these are the only unions that create new life and connect those children in love to their mother and father,” Gallagher said. “This is not necessarily the reason why individuals marry; this is the great reason, the public reason why government gets involved in the first place.”

Gallagher said the need to raise children by married parents of opposite genders affirms the rationale for having in place DOMA, the 1996 law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage, and criticized the Justice Department for dropping defense of the law.

“This is the rationale for the national definition of marriage proposed by Congress in passing DOMA: ‘civil society has an interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing,’” Gallagher said. “If we accept, as DOMA explicitly does, that this is a core public purpose of marriage, then treating same-sex unions as marriage makes little sense.”
Implicit in all of this is the idea that gay parents can't be good—or maybe even adequate—parents. And because of this, government shouldn't recognize the unions of gay men and women regardless of whether or not child-rearing comes into play.

But when a gay dad like Granderson describes himself as a "Tiger Dad" whose approach to parenting is to be his son's parent, not his friend—and when that gay dad happens not to mention his gayness—he becomes a hero of social conservatives.

And that's fine. It's good! I don't expect it will convince my socially conservative friends that a mother-and-father parenting relationship isn't the best way to raise kids. But I guess I can hope that admiring Granderson's parenting philosophy can open their minds (just a little bit) to the idea that other types of families deserve government support and recognition.


Anonymous said...

You are absolutely insane if you think that a gay father or gay parents are THE BEST way to raise a child. A child needs a MOTHER AND FATHER. You see Joel, in case you didn't know this, children need what both sides bring to the table. The caring motherly love and the strong fatherly figure. A man cannot be BOTH nor can a woman. You can try, but you will fail everytime. Be mad at me if you want, but you are WAY WRONG on this one.

Rick Henderson said...

IMO, Joel, the best way to raise a child is with a mother and a father. That doesn't mean that a single parent can't be a great parent or that a same-sex couple can't be awesome parents.

Still, right or wrong, it's tougher for nontraditional families to raise kids, based largely on pressures from outside the home. I'm hopeful that within a decade or so, those pressures will abate, because nontraditional families aren't going away (and shouldn't).

That said, one advantage of a two-parent household is that those homes tend to have higher and more stable incomes, and that has a huge impact on the welfare of children. If the two parents happen to be of the same gender, I'm not sure that's a big deal.

grolfff said...


Anonymous said...

All the gay people that I know have straight parents.

Anonymous said...

when exactly did he say gay parents were 'THE BEST WAY' to raise a child...?
did i miss something?

Anonymous said...

Gay people can be good parents just like straight people can be good parents. However, sexual preference does not determine whether you are a good or a bad parent. Your parenting skills determine whether you are a good parent. Most of the teenage bullies were raised by straight parents. Most of the children who became pregnanat as teenagers were raised by straight parents. Most of the students who do drugs were raised by straight parents. Most of the teenagers who commit suicide were raised by straight parents. I have never heard of a teenager running away from home or committing suicide because his parents were gay.

Anonymous said...

Can gay couples reproduce? Aren't opposite sexes required (sperm & egg)for reproduction?

Anonymous said...

if this gay spree explodes, either reproduction comes to a dead stop (which i doubt),reproduction will be commercial or partners would have to be shared for the purpose of reproduction. Now think about this. This will not end up good in generatons to come.

fatpat83 said...

IMHO, the best way to raise a child is with committed parents. Not committed to each other, but committed to the child. A good parent's goal is to prepare a child to be independent in this world while forming them into well-rounded individuals. Being gay does not present an obstacle in achieving this goal.

I can only speak from my own experience, but I come from what you are calling a non-traditional home. My mother and father were married for 11 yrs then divorced because my father revealed that he was gay. My parents also produced my sister, we are both heterosexual. I've heard people say "you guys lucked up" by not 'catching' the gay or not letting it 'rub off' on us. This would have to be more of an anomaly than they even realize because somehow everyone I know with a gay parent or parents is heterosexual.

When my parents split I did my best to find people that could relate to me so I joined a focus group. What was even more shocking (I'm sure to some) is that those my age at the time (high school) that were gay did not have any gay parents in the home.

This notion that gay people can't make good parents is insane, I feel it is comparable to saying men can't be bank tellers because that is women's work, or women can't be mechanics because that is a man's job.

Loving a child isn't delegated to one parent in a household, neither is teaching a child to be honorable, honest, thoughtful, and unselfish. History will verify that traditional households have produced the worst minds this world has ever known.
Way to go, LZ!

WJC said...

Way to go Lz! The best people to raise children are people who have great parenting skills. It should be noted that no where in the article does the writer say that the mother of Granderson's son is not an active part of his life. So, it is most likely that this young man has both of his parents in his life. Which is a plus regardless of Granderson's sexuality. I'm a gay man who does not have any biological children. I do however have a 30 year old daughter who decided when she was in the 5th grade that she would adopt me as her dad. Over the course of time I have seen her through high school...when she was switching majors left and right in college I was the person who told her that her gift was teaching...guess what...she is one of the best teachers that I have ever known. When she was diagnosed with lupus and then puliminary hypertension I was there along with her mother for so many hospital stays and through a heart and double lung transplant...I was holding her hand in the ER when her heart stopped beating and I was the one who led our family in prayer that God would bring her back to us and God did! She is my daughter and I am her dad and she will fight you if you tell her anything different. I think that the proof is in the pudding!