Posted by: chicagoshells | May 19, 2013

Against Ourselves

I’ve never really liked the phrase “the gay community.”  Not that I’m against the concept of community by any means, but I feel like whenever we use those kinds of expressions– “the African-Amerincan community,” “the Latina community,” “the gay community”– it perpetruates the idea that all people who belong to that particular group share ideals in some way.  And, as any thinking person knows, that’s simply not true.  Whenever someone asks me how “the gay community” feels about a given issue, I usually make some remark about how I’m not sure, but I’ll certainly ask at the next monthly meeting.  It’s amazing how often that comment is met with a blank stare.  People really seem to think that I can answer that question.

That said…when I hear of someone in “the gay community” behaving badly, particularly to another “community member,” it hits me harder than similar situations outside “the community” (and here I’m going to stop with the tiresome quotation marks.  You get my drift).  This spans a wide variety of issues, from the silly to the serious.  On the silly side, I was much more saddened by Arizona cheating on Callie than I’ve been by any of the near-constant heterosexual bed-hopping on Grey’s Anatomy.  On the serious side…we all know that divorce, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple involved, can cause people to act in absolutely disgusting ways to people they once loved.  This includes putting their children in the middle of horrible tug-of-wars.  It happens all the time, but I get much more upset about it when I hear about lesbian couples acting like that…particularly because the cases I hear about most often are cases of “bio-moms behaving badly”…separating from their partners and suddenly deciding that the women they’ve shared their lives and children with aren’t “real moms” after all, and they are entitled to sole custody of their biological children.  Obviously, those cases hit me on an emotional, gut-wrenching level.  It’s one of the many reasons there was never any question of whether I would legally adopt Mulberry.  And it’s not that I don’t trust Trouble– I do, I trust her with my life, with our son’s life– but I imagine all the non-bio moms who have suddenly had their children kept from them once trusted their exes, as well. 

Other than the obvious, what gets me about these kinds of cases is the fact that homophobic laws are being used against the gay community– by other members of the gay community.  And I find that so hard to even comprehend.  The specific instance that started me thinking about this most recently is a member of my GLBT non-gestational parents group– I’ve mentioned her situation before.  Although she and her partner conceived of their child together, and are even fortunate enough to live in a state that permits second-parent adoptions, once their son was born her partner, the bio-mom, decided not to allow the adoption to take place.  She has flat-out said that she doesn’t consider her partner an equal parent because “she carried the baby, she has the stretch-marks and scar and went though the surgery.”  She won’t allow the adoption because she’s afraid that, if they were to separate down the line, she might have to give her partner…her son’s other mother…more time with their child than she would like.  So in other words, because she is selfish, she doesn’t care about protecting her partner or their child with the multitde of benefits of a legal relationship.

What kills me about this– what has pushed me to the point where I can barely stand to read this poor woman’s posts– is that if her partner were a man, this would be irrelevant.  She would still have carried the child, still have the strech-marks and scar, still have gone through surgery– but the child’s other parent– his father– would unquestionably be his legal parent.  If they were to separate/divorce, custody and visitation would be figured out then.  The bio mom wouldn’t be able to just not consent to acknowledging her child’s father “just in case.”  I’m willing to bet that such a thing wouldn’t even cross her mind (and yes, I’m aware that in heterosexual custody cases, decisions still often skew unfairly towards the mother, but that can be someone else’s soapbox).  The point is– this woman is taking the fact that our relationships, to each other and to our children, are treated unfairly…and using it to her advantage. There are no words for how much this disgust and upsets me.

Some “community.”



  1. It is totally disgusting. And hopefully if things ever come down to it, the judge will decide that she’s the child’s other parent and award custody anyway–it’s happened before. And what sucks the most is that if I were in that situation I would have exactly zero interest in being with that person any more, except you’d have to stay to be near your child.

  2. This is totally unreal, and disgusting. I can’t believe a GP would say those sort of things to the child’s other parent. They decided to have this baby together, they did have this baby together – it is their baby and to have that acknowledgement forgotten when it comes time for the NGP to adopt is a shock to everyone. It is a fear we all face at some point or another, but we never dream of it actually happening – apparently it does. I agree with Isa, if this situation happened to me, I dont know that I could be with my partner any more – thats unforgiveable in my mind.

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