Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fatherhood and lesbian moms. There is a very interesting article in the March/April issue of LA Youth magazine. Titled "A Teen With Two Moms," the 18-year reporter interviews another teenager who is being raised by her two lesbian moms. However one feels in general about the concept of gay marriage and gay parenting, this article shows how loving these moms are and how self-confident and self-aware their daughter is. The article notes that Katie was born in April 1988, the result of a sperm donation by a University of California professor. As the editor of a blog about fathering, my question is "where does the father come in?" Here are some excerpts from the article:
L.A.Youth: What do you call your parents? Katie: Helen is Momma. Susan is Mommy. L.A. Youth: Do you have any contact with your dad? Katie: We send each other birthday cards; he's a math teacher at Berkeley. L.A.Youth: Do you think that being a daughter of a lesbian couple has in any way shaped your own sexuality or how you perceive sexuality? Katie: I have no idea. It's made me feel that I could do either one and that won't really matter, but I'm reserving judgment on that for a long time from now. L.A. Youth: Some people argue that homosexuals should not be parents because they cannot provide both a male and female influence in their kid's life. How would you respond to that? Katie: I think in my life overall it is important to have both influences—male and female—so you know how to live in the world, since there are people of both genders in the world. But the influence doesn't have to come from a mother and a father. I think the male influence comes from some of our friends and lots of uncles. My friends invite me to the Father-Daughter picnic at Marlborough and I get to adopt their father for the day!
I wonder how the dad feels about all this? Does he want more contact than "birthday cards" with his charming daughter? What if she decided at some point she wanted she wanted to live with him? I also winced when I read that Katie "adopted" another girl's father for a day. This is an unrealistic fantasy. Real fatherhood, the deep emotional core of of the adult male experience, cannot be communicated at a father-daughter picnic. Katie is bright and hopeful, but at some point in her life she is going to have questions such as "What is my dad really like? What does he want for me? What is it like to emotionally bond with a male?" These complex emotional experiences can't be communicated over potato salad.


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