So I have a question.
If you find yourself opposed to gay parenting, would you be willing to look the children in the above video in the eye and say to them, "your life experience is fundamentally flawed and should never have happened. The person you are and who you will become is a problem that needs fixing through social policy. The family you love is something wrong with the world and ought not to exist."
For some reason, I don't think so. It just feels intuitively wrong. And yet, whenever people argue that gay people shouldn't be allowed to have children, that is exactly what they are saying. They are saying that children raised by gay people deserve something more than the family they have and argue that children raised by gay people will have a disadvantage in life. In essence, they are saying that these children will have a life flawed so deeply that it would be better for social policy to prevent their existence.
One of the biggest problems in the way we approach people, I think, is the assumption that there is something wrong with them that needs to be changed. And it's not just with gay people and their families. I think the application of this attitude to gay people comes from a deeper problem with the way we approach life. We look at life and people as if it's filled with problems that need preventing and stress ourselves trying to gain control over life and people. Most often, I think, this is because it's the way we treat ourselves. Too many people believe there is something fundamentally wrong with themselves that needs changing and perfecting.
I've never met anyone whose ever been able to rid themselves of what they think is wrong inside of them. And the most miserable people I've encountered have been those most obsessed with changing who they are. The path to progression, it seems to me, is counter-intuitive. It comes not by rejecting our flaws, but by embracing them and seeing them for what they are: the very building blocks of our virtues.
Virtue is constructed of vice. Our weaknesses enable our strengths. A deficit in one area transforms itself into a surplus in another. In trying to rid ourselves of all vice, we also rid ourselves of our greatest virtues. The maximization of virtue happens when we see our weaknesses for what they are and embrace them with love. Compassion for self and others arises from imperfection, and it is generally compassion and love that we most admire in people.
As we truly accept ourselves, we begin to see others more clearly as well. We see that their flaws enable their best qualities. We begin to fall in love with their fears and insecurities and see beauty in them exactly as they are. To me, this is the deepest form of love: one that does not require any change at all, but embraces everyone equally precisely because of their faults and imperfections.
Could it be that the way we approach social problems like gay marriage and the families of gay people originates in how we treat ourselves?
If we see ourselves as possessing fundamental flaws that need to be eliminated, and we believe that there is something sub-optimal about gay parenting, we'll apply the same outlook. Eliminate it. If, however, we stand back and see our true nature--that nothing good about us could exist without the parts we think are bad, we'll begin to see things more clearly. We'll begin to understand that the optimal is impossible in all cases, and that what we call sub-optimal comes along with unique benefits.
Humanity's greatest strength is its diversity. We need our transgender people. We need our straight people. We need our asexual people. We need our single people just as much as our married people. We need our atheists just as much as we need our theists. We need our blind, deaf, and physcially impaired people as much as anyone else.
We need the children who were raised in homes with same-sex parents because they have a unique perspective to offer us.
My deepest hope is that we can all accept ourselves just where we're at. I hope that we can all become well practiced in self-compassion, and then apply this outward. Instead of engineering the perfect society by eliminating sub-optimal family combinations, we should embrace every family as they are. Instead of asking the question, "how can I make myself and others perfect," perhaps we could ask, "what can I learn from my own flaws and the flaws of others?"
Does every child really deserve two opposite sex parents? What children really deserve is our affirmation. They deserve to know that they are okay, loved, and welcomed in society whether they were raised by a single mother, single father, two men, two women, a grandparent, or in an orphanage. Every child deserves to feel like they and their family belong.