So, I'm flying from San Francisco to New York yesterday. I even got upgraded to business. Pretty uneventful flight. Pretty choppy. Loved you can get wireless Internet on select American flights now. Oh and some passenger had some nut allergy, so the captain ordered all hot nuts recollected from the passengers in business and first class...which many found excessive..
But I digress...I saw this family traveling on the flight with this adorable little girl under 3 years of age..It was a normal family on a normal flight..
Dozens of people waved at this adorable little girl. She was clean, well-dressed, had an adorable pixie cut. She never cried once during the flight. Tremendously well behaved. The parents each took turns holding her, hugging her. She smiled happily and waved at her fellow passengers. Her parents had a panoply of toys to entertain her, asked the stewardess to heat up her bottle several times. Like so many parents who travel, it was tough carrying the kid and all of her supplies and toys. A normal family, on a normal flight..
..oh, by the way, did I mention that the parents were 2 gay men? Now, I know most people here at this site will say, "Yeah, so what?" But for the majority of voters of Arkansas and other red states eager, the Rick Warren's of the world and other "religious" people who want to stop gay people from adopting, I wish I had a video of that lovely, well-adjusted child. (Note, I am making an assumption here - I saw the couple share a kiss before the flight, each handled that child exactly as a parent would, perhaps I am mistaken, perhaps the child is one of theirs biologically or there is another explanation but even if I am, it was a powerful and lasting symbol.)
I have to admit it: as a gay man and a native Californian, I was much more focused on Prop 8. And then Warren. I was just shaking with rage about it and still feel a bit betrayed by my president-elect whom I worked very hard to put into office. But this scene made me really think about the prohibition on gay adoption and just how hurtful it is. My partner and I do not have children, probably will never want them. But my heart aches for all of the loving homes denied to children whom no one wants because of the bigotry against and the hatred of gay people
First I thought of Melissa Etheridge. She has had contact with Rick Warren, she has advised the gay community to give reaching out and Obama a chance. While I think she is being a bit naive and let Warren's flattery of her cloud her judgement a bit, she is someone whom I respect immensely. Her words carry a lot of weight with me. I thought I she invited Rick Warren to meet her family. A big and bold step. Because first of all, it pokes holes in his bull-shit argument that gays are a "genetic dead end" - um, asshole, Melissa Etheridge, whom you so love, has 4 children with her former and current partner. And of course, what about all of the gay people who adopt children, probably 95% will grow up to be heterosexual, who may have died from neglect, disease or drug addiction because people would not give them a home?
I was thinking Melissa made this offer because, of course, she has nothing to hide: she can show him 4 well-adjusted children who present the same problems and joys as any other kids do (whether they are spoiled celebrity kids I cannot say). Mr. Warren and the social worker and/or church lady of his choice will find these kids indistinguishable from any other. But how sad that Melissa has to "prove" that to anyone - she has to see, look at my beautiful children, compare them to yours. In fact let's compare my kids to your in terms of tolerance. I doubt they would call other kids "son of a faggot" like kids of so many "religious" people do. Yet she can show her family, how normal and well-adjusted they are, and it's still not enough for the average hick voter in Arkansas.
So let me see, heterosexual parents + heterosexual environment can = someone who chooses to be gay, do not = heterosexual child all the time. But homosexual parents = always homosexual child. I suck at math, but even I can see that formula sucks.
Which got me thinking about Rosie O'donnell. You know, that lesbian with strong opinions the right wing says we should not listen to, because, evidently she is a fat lesbian with strong opinions. Well, Rosie and her partner have adopted 4 children. Given them the best home possible. They wanted to adopt a 5th foster child, Mia, whom they got in 2000. But Florida voted on denying same sex couples the right to adopt, denying this child the right to a home, she was forcibly torn away from it, a child with known abandonment issues before Rosie tried to adopt her. Rosie's oldest child, Parker, is 13 now, a handsome young man. I read a piece on Huffington Post a few week's ago about Rosie's trip with her son to see Billy Elliot on Broadway. Can't find the link now. But I was struck by one line, which I would love to rub in Rick Warren's face and in the face of those idiot voters in Arkansas, I'm paraphrasing here:
So I told Parker these are the kind of clothes you should buy, because the girls like them..
What is this? That Rosie O'Donnell is encouraging her son's heterosexuality? Telling him ways to be more attractive to the opposite sex? Before you know it, that Parker O'Donnell will be in a heterosexual relationship, partially with the support of his mother!
And then I though of a recent piece I saw on CNN TV. I searched for a link, couldn't find one, maybe someone can find the video. But it was about desperately poor and AIDS-infected children in Africa that NO ONE WILL ADOPT.
Here is a 2006 piece I found on CNN
Alternative to adoption bleak for African orphans
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Twelve-year-old Koketso Motshoane is just one of many millions of children in Africa orphaned by AIDS. She has five other siblings scattered across various orphanages whom she gets to see just once a year.
She's never heard of pop star Madonna but says she'd jump at the chance to be adopted by anyone willing to give her a home, celebrity or not.
"I would feel happy," she says. "Because I have no mother." (Watch Koketso Motshoane describe her feelings on adoption -- 3:38 Video)
Koketso lives in an orphanage along with 58 other children between 12 weeks and 21 years old in Johannesburg. It's run by Gail Johnson, a white South African who adopted a black child she named Thabo Jeffrey Johnson after she found him abandoned in a warehouse five years ago on Christmas morning.
This is her second black adoption. Her first child died of AIDS when he was only 12 years old. (Watch Madonna visit African orphans -- 1:30 Video)
Johnson has two biological children, now in their 30s, but she believes she has the right to offer the best care she can to children abandoned or orphaned.
"It would freak me out to give him up, but if there's a young couple who want him or a black couple who want him, I would hand him over," she says.
Here's another from the Times
In the story of Gezahegn and Atsede, who cuddle the H.I.V.-infected orphans no one will adopt, we see individual acts of love that take your breath away.
So here is my question to you, Mr. Warren, people of Arkansas:
What about these desperately poor, HIV-infected children that no one want?
Would it not be better to give these children a chance at a loving home with the acursed faggots and dykes that to see them die miserable deaths of neglect and disease?
I'd be willing to bet if asked, many of the "religious" right would say in a round-about way, "better to let them die!"
And of course, CNN will do a story on this angle of the kid no one will adopt right? RIGHT? BUHLER?
And of course, the fundies HATE abortion. So while this gay man will support a woman's right to choose as long as he draws breath, I say to Mr. Warren and the people or Arkansas and Florida and other "religious people":
You say that abortion is murder. So let's make an arrangement that pregnant women can also choose for their child to be raised by adoptive gay or lesbian parents in Arkansas, Florida or any other state. Particularly the babies many won't adopt - those to be born with HIV or Downe's syndrome, those who are not lilly white. By doing so, you can prevent "murder". So you should be fine with that, right?
They were a normal family on a normal flight. But the image spoke a thousand words. So many children no one wants, so many worldwide who die of HIV/AIDS, yet some would rather condemn these children to death instead of letting a gay/lesbian couple adopt them.
Rick Warren did not seem to "object" to Melissa Etheridge's family. But then, he's a "fan". The couple on the plane would not be so lucky if they lived in Littlerock.