OPINION: Age of acceptance of all still has a long way to go

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/DGLimages

Gay marriage seems to be generally accepted, but when a gay couple have children they may face criticism, says Rachel Moore - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Top of any list of the most welcome changes in societal attitudes in the last decade must by the swelling of acceptance of people for who they are.

Way above any technological advances to make daily life easier, what really makes my heart sing is the ever widening of the age-old narrow window of convention that expected people to conform to other people’s visions of ‘normality’ and condemned those who wouldn’t or couldn’t.

Embracing difference so everyone can feel comfortable in their own skin to make their own choices without condemnation and fear of ostracisation – and even worse, violence - is fundamental progress that our grandparents would never have imagined.

But we’re far from there.

Around every corner lurks a bigot, a homophobe, a racist or a bully still fearful of difference and sees it as a valid reason to attack.

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Their intolerance and viciousness always exposes and amplifies the ugly reality of their personalities and warped views, but none of that makes it any better for the victim.

At the weekend, US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, introduced their two beautiful babies to the world, twins Penelope Rose and Joseph August.

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Becoming parents and responsible for shaping tiny humans is always cause for elation, celebration, and congratulation. The new family soaked up the international love.

But Toxic Twitter snapped back from the shadows at Buttigieg’s adoption announcement with a tirade from the US conservative brigade, the same conservative collective screaming that people must “choose life” amid the most draconian and regressive anti-abortion laws being brought in in Texas.

“Where’s the mother?” they asked, with and hideous accusations that Buttitieg had stolen the babies from their mother.

They made their own narrative - their anti-abortion “choose life” campaign, that demanded women had babies they didn’t want to give them up for adoption clearly has the caveat, written in bold, that this applies only if those babies are adopted by straight couples. Gay couples, or individuals, must not apply.

The hypocrites. Their campaign has nothing to do with choosing life, it’s about fitting in a self-appointed gang of bullies’ narrow rules of life.

The US in the middle of a horrific nationwide debate about abortion, where women’s reproductive rights are being dictated by bigoted males and a bounty is being put on pregnant women– in 2021?

A near-total abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the law, opening the floodgates to harassing lawsuits from anti-abortion vigilantes that could eventually shut most clinics in the state.

It is devastating and cruel that will harm so many.

These laws are sought by the pro-adoption, choosing life conservatives were incandescent at Buttitieg’s adoption because it fell outside their definition of what a family should look like.

What an ugly attitude.

Anti-choice activist and right-wing commentator Lila Rose tweeted directly to Buttigieg “My heart goes out to these infants”.

The scorn and nastiness piled on with homophobic rants about children having a right to a mother, cancelling out any capability of love, nurture or care in the Buttitiegs.

Not every woman wants children. Not every woman plans to become a mother. Not every woman makes a ‘good mother,’ whatever that might be. Having children is not for every woman.

A woman’s reason for being alive is not to produce children. No one has any right to tell a woman she should and must become a mother, or deny her the right to choose.

The Buttigiegs had previously publicly spoken of their difficulties and frustrations with the adoption system.

The Buttigiegs chose life – by giving a future to Penelope and Joseph, but campaigners for this believe their sexuality makes them unworthy of being parents.

It’s always those who spend most time criticising how other people live their lives who are desperately unhappy in their own. But it’s more insidious than that.

There is no evidence whatsoever in multiple studies that children with same sex parents are any less well adjusted or happy than those in heterosexual families

In 2014, the University of Melbourne found that children of same sex couples were even “happier and healthier than straight couples". In 2019, research by European economics found that children raised by same sex couples do better in school.

Gay couples I know who have adopted, tend to be older, well- educated and financially stable and focus exclusively on their children’s wellbeing shaping well-rounded successful young adults.

Many have the support of extended family, delighted that the pleasure of grandchildren and nieces and nephews they feared would never happen to their loved ones are possible.

The burden of other people’s opinions lays heavy.

People who choose not to have children are “selfish”, those who bring up children alone are “single parents”, a phrase delivered in a way that indicates the parent is condemning their child to a second-class childhood

Single people forever have the expectation that they will “find someone and settle down”. Some have no interest. They are viewed as a little odd.

What we should really be worrying about is the motivation and potential for darkness of these people happy to decry and abuse a couple elated at adopting baby twins and starting family life, and those happy to force women to go ahead with unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.

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