Race In America: the results of my survey.

Thanks to all 49 of you who participated in my survey! Below are the results.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 3.08.55 PM.png

and as for the responses? For now, either you’re tired of racism, you don’t care, you wish you could do more, or you don’t know what to do. most of the white folks, y’all don’t know what to do, you couldn’t care less, or you do know what to do, and opposition comes from those you love most. and black folks, other people of color, y’all, we, are tired of racism obvi. And now my personal thoughts.

i don’t know what to tell you if you fall into the category of denying other people’s pain to retain your comfortability. i was reading the comments under an article (never do that), and i saw this quote: “no longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.” so, i’m done with racism and trying to tell people what it is and why you shouldn’t do it. seriously? you need a reason not to be racist? and it is not up to the oppressor to decide when justice has been met for the oppressed. that’s like a rapist saying that the person they raped will be alright after a while. you don’t get to decide when someone has healed from the pain you caused. until you change your actions, your words are hollow, fickle, fake. i was going to do a series on racism, but i’m not the one who needs to do it, and i won’t. those who are recovering racists need to, not me. you, recovering racist, know how racist people think and ought to challenge that. i can’t. i don’t know what it is to oppress people because of who they are and feel good about it, but you do. you know what it is to have privilege and see it work in your favor. you know what it is to have a government that has your best interests in mind. i don’t and can’t speak to those who do.

people are stuck in their ways of thinking. but when you come to know God, you are no longer of the world, just in it to do His will. and, he transforms and renews your mind. my mind was transformed when i was 23 years old. i got baptized when i was 7. but i promise you, ever since that day in september 2015, my life has never been the same. finally, i felt God’s peace and presence surrounding me, and i wish i could explain how it felt, but i do know it surpassed all understanding.

and that’s what i want for white people who hate me because i’m black or think they’re better than me because they’re white, or are just scared of what to do with a system they don’t want anymore. Let God transform you, let Him have your heart. Fear not what will happen when you renounce a system that has taken your spirit from you.  whiteness is one hell of a drug. it gives you privilege and rights not afforded to others. but is it worth it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? I rebuke that stronghold over you in Jesus’ name. I pray over you that your eyes would be opened to the evil that white supremacy is and why it truly may seem like it benefits you but only destroys your soul in the process. it breeds apathy and a dismissal of your brothers and sisters who struggle under a system that only helps you. I want you to be free from that, to be free from that burden of sin, to be free from the fear of those who aren’t white! but you have to want it, too.  and i know some of you may be seething right now, becoming angry at these words i’ve written. if you are, i want you to reflect on that emotion; what triggered it? what caused it? why are you angry?

and that’s what i want for black people and other people of color who think they are less than or not worthy of humanity because of a lie told one day that who you are is unworthy. your skin radiates, soaks up the sun, resists aging, and you think that’s unworthy? Your hair defies gravity as it grows towards our Creator in praise! and you think that’s unworthy? Satan, this planet, has tried to steal, kill, and destroy us for so long, but I declare in Jesus’ name no longer. in a system, a country, a world, that looks to do work against you, your very existence is resistance. You are smart, you are capable, and you are enough. all of our lives, we have been told our noses too big, return to where we came from, our hair too unruly, our existence too much. There is so much man can do to the body, but he cannot touch your spirit.

the best way to overcome your hatred, your fear, is to reject everything that feeds those things and start over. will you do that with me?

 

 

Advertisements

giving up your birthright for a better life?

oh. hello. your eyes are currently reading what i’ve typed. fascinating that you may even be reading this in my voice, huh? what was your day like today? before you answer that, i’d like you to ponder on some bullet points below:

  • would you abandon your family for a better way of life?
  • where would you have to move for people not to recognize you?
  • if caught, could you accept the penalty of death?

those questions come off weird, maybe off-putting, but these are questions wherein some answered yes, right here in america. i’m talking about people like this (hover over for captions):

you guessed it; they’re all black americans; at least one parent is black, and here in america that’s all it takes (outside of the “one drop rule”). so, they’re invited to the cookout.

one of my favorite films is Imitation of Life, which explores this social area. seeing as black people come in all shades and hair textures with both parents being black as well, what is the basis of discrimination if not just skin color? when you think about it, people (read: black people) are honestly hated because of their skin color, which is why, black people who looked like the people above back in the 1700s-1970s?, passed as white. by passing as white, they forwent discrimination and entered into a life of privilege, if they didn’t get caught. if they got caught, more than likely they would’ve been lynched and their body parts sent off as party gifts, kept as souvenirs, or a postcard with a lynching would be sent to dear old dad’s house.  i wish i was making this up.

npr did a podcast on this with author, Allyson Hobbs. In her book, A Chosen Exile: A Hsitory of Racial Passing in American Life, she chronicles stories of black people who passed for white in hopes of a better life. one family they talk about is the Johnston Family:

johnston20family20portrait-87eda72003885d41debd27d5b31e40b2d3c7bc1d-s800-c85

the patriarch, Dr. Johnston, passed as white so he could practice medicine. the navy picked him up but withdrew their commission on reports that Dr. Johnston had “colored blood;” on that basis, everyone has “colored blood” because it’s red.

and personally, this hits home. my great-grandfather could have passed for white, but when he registered for the draft of wwI, he recorded “negro” as his race. in connecting with a cousin of mine, because many of my family members could pass for white in the 1900s-1940s, white people felt comfortable around them and would speak to them. however, some white person would slip up with some racist rhetoric about black people and find themselves out cold by my family members, not knowing what they’d done; just because some could pass for white didn’t mean they forsook being black.

in Black Like Me, authored by John Howard Griffin, he darkens his skin to understand for himself the perils of institutional discrimination and state-sanctioned violence. from this article, Griffin said:

“What is it like to experience discrimination based on skin colour, something over which one has no control?” No white man could, he reasoned, truly understand what it was like to be black, because black people would never tell the truth to outsiders. “The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us was to become a Negro,” Griffin writes. “I decided I would do this.”

this dude lasted six weeks before it became too much being black, not being able to take the “hate stares” white people gave him. on top of that, a group of white men almost beat him to death for writing this book.

what i think the problem is, is denial. the people on earth now, we aren’t necessarily responsible for the problems of yesterday, but have you heard of inheritance, where the sins of the father can fall on the children? your dad/mom was an alcoholic, and you find yourself gripping the bottle in hard times when you’re their age, as an example. do you pass that on to your children, or does the buck stop with you? parents, more is caught than is taught by children if you didn’t know.

in conclusion, racism is satanic.

stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Damn Millennials!

I guess I fall into the category of a millennial (generation 1980-1995? Although, I’d like to include 1977-1979 cuz technically your peers are the people born in the early 1980s??) Currently, being a millennial is a drag because everyone hates us, but in doing this I think I am whining about how everyone despises us, which makes everyone abhor us even more.

My parents are baby boomers (1946-1964). It’s interesting to me that all the social and judicial unrest in my time happened in theirs(‘?), except they were children. They weren’t as aware; by the time it all ended, it was in the history books, probably whitewashed to make the history more palatable. And my generation, we’re in the middle of it, some of us raising kids through it: marriage equality, racial justice (still ongoing *side eye*), gender equality, immigration laws, judicial reform, etc.

It’s tough, you know? Every generation has complained and nagged about something. People in the 1950s-70s complained about civil rights corrupting our “good nation” and going against the very god (not God cuz I just can’t find where in God’s word that He hates people like we do) ordained social order structure. Then in the 1980s-1990s, you had Reaganomics (was that coined like “Obamacare,” or was it endearing?) and AIDs and the crack epidemic. In the 1990s, all I remember, since I was but a babe, is Bill Clinton cheating on his wife and my parents having to explain to a 6 year old what adultery was, so then there was the whole complaint about morals going into the trash. Then in the 2000s, it was all about the Muslims, especially that “Muslim” Obama… And that my friends is how you normalize hate; too many people of the faith of Islam were murdered or mistreated (still are, irritatingly) in that time in America. And now in the 2010s, besides millennials and those wretched one-kneed protestors (my fave coined term is thugs and or miscreants lol), I don’t have to type out our complaints since we’re living in it.

Tl;dr: every generation has complained about something, and I guess it’s our turn; so can we have this moment? I’m sure 10 years down the road, we’ll complain about those kids born in the 2000s when they’re our age. And instead of guiding them, offering help or instruction when asked or needed, we’ll just yell at them too.

I would encourage you, those of you who aren’t too fond of millennials, to grab lunch or coffee with us one good time; talk to us so you can see what’s going on. It’s so easy to sit on your throne and look upon us with contempt, but why don’t you come off your high horse for a bit and reconnect? After all, we are your siblings, children, cousins, nieces and nephews, employees. Besides, you were our age once, trying to forge your own path in life; have you forgotten that quickly?  Don’t lord over us, but be examples to us; surely we’d at least listen.

 

 

 

Wu-Tang is for the children, but racism is not: a case study. 

I hope you found that title hilarious because this post, and those forthcoming, won’t be as humorous. “They” say to keep people from becoming upset with you over serious topics, you have to make them laugh. But nothing is funny about racism as it permeates through every aspect of society; it’s that yeast Jesus talked about. I’ve come to set the captive, and maybe the oppressor, free. And especially with the future president coming into office, racism may become worse, only because of the rise of hate crimes since he won (1,2,3,4).

But what is really heartbreaking is the amount of Christians who are nauseatingly silent on such an issue. Or if they aren’t silent, they indirectly perpetrate, perpetuate, or better yet, ignore the whole bit with stupid clichés and how we live in a fallen world and blah.blah.blah. In the Bible, God says that he created everyone in His image. So, to not love your neighbor as yourself is a grave mistake; that’s the second greatest command. So, when I say #blacklivesmatter, and you sit on your hands and say that #alllivesmatter, how can you believe that if you march and are adamant against abortion? All lives matter to God of course, but they don’t to people. Did all lives matter when American citizens, who were Japanese, were interred at camps and German POWs were treated better than them and African-American veterans, some of which were lynched? Do all lives matter in Flint, Michigan? The problem with this statement is that people say all lives matter but don’t prove it; you say it to shut people up. “Blessed are the poor […]” What about those who aren’t poor, Jesus? You gonna bless them too, or…? What’s up; what’s good?”

Racism is a spiritual disease that causes the oppressor to live in a fantasy, a bubble. And when you pop that bubble with truth in love, all of a sudden, they try to chase you off a cliff (5). “Racism isn’t going to go away if you keep talking about it.” Oh, is that so? Maybe you’re just uncomfortable and should admit that then. Race is a societal, man made construct to keep one group in power by any means necessary and another oppressed. Racism is anti-God. It causes you to see your neighbor as less than. And when you do that, the problems they face because of you are insignificant for they just “need to get over it.” And for the oppressor, it spiritually binds and blinds you; you aren’t as free as you think you are. This system becomes your faith, and somehow God supports it.“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”

Racism is a spiritual disease that causes the oppressed to feel and live as if they *are* less than. When you’re told all your life that your skin is too dark, your hair too unruly, and your natural body too sexual, your spirit becomes downtrodden, and society, in conjunction, agrees. The closer you look to the oppressor, the worse off you’ll be because you won’t be accepted. Bleaching my skin to be lighter won’t help; straightening my hair won’t help. Who I am is the problem, and my existence should cease. And, you can’t be what you can’t see. So, if I don’t see someone who looks like me being an engineer, a producer, a writer, a doctor, how can I become that? And the sad thing is that, we who aren’t considered the majority, people of color, have always achieved, but that history has been cast to the wayside; why? Take the movie, Hidden Figures, for example (6). It is a movie about three black women, there were more, who are the reason NASA is NASA. They live/lived right here in Hampton Roads, so why wasn’t that in the history books, especially since we were so obsessed with beating the Russians to the moon (7)? ABC ran a drama about the astronaut wives (8,9), but why not about these women engineers who happened to be black? These women were scientists in a time when women were “supposed” to be homemakers, fighting not only sexism, but racism, and the intersectionality therein.

White people, racism does exist. It is not just personal prejudice, but institutional and systemic. Racism is prejudice + power. Everyone has reserved prejudice, but in this society, only white people have had their prejudice put into law. Don’t believe me (10)? And you have privilege; it is unearned favor. It’s that favor when you walk into a store and are asked if you need help, instead of being found suspicious and followed (11). It’s that favor that gets you a better bank loan (12). It’s that favor that you won’t be mistaken for being a criminal when you’ve lost your key to your house in the suburbs (13). It’s that favor that gives you the benefit of the doubt in criminal cases; you get maybe a year, while a black person gets the mandatory minimum (14). The system is built to support you, whether you want to believe it or not. It supports you so much that God himself is white! And it sucks because you might be poor and white (15). Or it sucks because you think people are taking away from your hard work, and if you did it, why can’t anyone else? I will address how racism affects you (oh yes it does! 16) and how it benefits you the most, and why supporting white supremacy, whether directly or indirectly, is detrimental. And I will come with receipts out the ass; don’t worry. I am here to challenge your comfortability in the status quo, to smash white supremacy; may you be freed.

Black people, People of Color, I don’t have much to say because the majority of you already know what’s up. We all got that talk about how to act around police, to work twice as hard to maybe be considered half as good, etc. Yet, I can only speak to issues I face being a black person/woman; I can’t speak to the issues of the Asian or Latinx/Hispanic Diaspora, but I can shed light on them and be an ally. So if you want to send something my way, please feel free to do so! On a personal note, let us not internalize the hate we receive for who we are. We face systems of oppression everyday, and it can be tiring and draining. Keep the faith in God. Loving those who persecute you is not weakness, nor is it acquiescing to their whims. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”

Finally, I am not silent on these issues. If I haven’t spoken with you about it, it’s because I knew you wouldn’t receive it well. I speak about it all the time with my black friends and other friends of color, and very few white friends. But I have reservations with my white friends because, for those I have spoken with, you tell me it’s in the past, to get over it, ignore it, or you make light of a situation that has cost people their lives. Or you think it’s a personal attack when I’m speaking in general, but maybe it is a personal attack if that is your heart. And I speak on this because of Ezekiel 33:1-11:

The Watchman and His Message

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

A Seat at The Table

There’s an empty chair there at your table. I don’t have a table because mine was destroyed by you. And when I try to sit at your table, you remove the chair and let me fall. You always sit at the head of the table, and you sit there alone. You’re the only one with a table, by the way. So everyone has to come to you when there’s a problem; we have to sit at your table, where you’re the head. Well, the rest of us, we sat in a circle because we didn’t have a table… or chairs. And we discussed amongst ourselves that we would build a table and sit together and be a family. But, here came you, and you didn’t want us to have a table because you like being the only one with a table. You found our blueprints and burned them, you found our supplies and confiscated them. At every turn, there you were, ready to steal, kill, and destroy just like your father.

You’re a lot like your dad, you know? Your disguise is impeccable! Your words are like honey laced with poison, laced with destruction. Yet, the honey is so sweet that I am on my deathbed when I realize what you’ve done to me. You find new ways to tempt me, to get me to fail, all for a seat at your table! But I’ve been down that road before; you pull the chair from under me every.single.time. I try to sit with you. And you know what? You tell me I’m the one with the problem, I’m the one with the attitude?! I’M THE ONE IN THE WRONG, I’M THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO FIX MYSELF, I’M THE ONE WHO IS DESPICABLE, I’M THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS ONE!

I almost started to hate myself. After all, you’re the one with the table, the chair, the comfort. And you like being there. And You’ll do anything to stay there. That’s why you thwart the building of my table. It’s all about you! You don’t think of anyone but yourself.

You have plenty of room at your table; it’s spacious, but it’s lonely. No one wants to sit with you. You thought we did, but we never wanted to. It’s just that you were the only one with the table and chairs. Where else were we supposed to sit? And in order to sit at your table, we had to do good by you. We had to be like you. But it’s sick and twisted because when we were like you, you rejected us anyway and banished us from your table.

And this god of your’s. He’s just.like.you. All the things you love, he loves (only you), and all the things he hates, you hate (everyone but you). You and your father must be one, huh? Y’all have some special connection or something? Your god doesn’t love me. He said that I don’t look right, I don’t talk well, I need to fix myself in order to be loved by him. He doesn’t want to help me. I tried to be loved by him; I denied myself to be like you. And you- I mean he- still rejected me.

And after all of this, I don’t want to do what you’ve done to me. Believe me, I thought about it for a while. I would come in with a hatchet and destroy that table and those chairs and knock you down to my level. And the funny thing is, you’d probably still find a way to say you’re better than me, “Well, at least I used to have a table and chairs!”

So you can have that table, and you can keep those chairs. And you can sit at the head of the table where everyone has to worship you in order to be tolerated. And they do. They worship you, but they don’t love you.

 

Gays™ and Adoption: A Defense.

Disclaimer: First, this is a 13 page paper; I’ve warned you. Secondly, I failed this class my freshman year because I tried to say that all religions worship the same God, and I couldn’t find one source for that paper and had to bullshit 13 pages of trash. So, I retook this class my sophomore year and was stuck between the exploitation of African-Americans in Medicine and the lasting effects of that, or the Defense of adoption by the LGBTQIA community; I chose the latter. When I wrote this paper, I was hesitant to do so, given my religious background but also my relationship with God. I prayed fervently over this topic, and it never left my mind. It opened my eyes to orphans in this country and really the dynamics of families and how children are raised. Some of us don’t come from a two parent (biological mom and dad) household: single mom, single dad, mom and grandma, mom and aunt, dad and aunt, aunt and uncle, older sibling, step-parent, etc. From that perspective, I wrote this paper.

Homosexual Parenting: The Kids Are All Right

      In 2011, The Kids Are All Right was nominated for Best Picture at the 83rd Academy Awards. This movie revolves around the lives of Nic and Jules Allgood, a lesbian couple. Together, through artificial insemination, they have two kids, Joni and Laser; both their kids have the same father. When the father, Paul, wants to enter his kids’ lives, things go awry. In the United States, the idea of homosexuals raising children is considered taboo. It is thought that children raised by homosexuals may encounter problems later on in their adolescence, like ostracization or depression. However, having gay/lesbian parents has no negative effects on the development of children and adolescents.

In 2010, there were more than 500,000 children living in the child welfare system and about 100,000 children waiting to be adopted (Farr, Forssell, and Patterson 164); these numbers are quite high, considering the number of families that are not able to have children naturally. Yet, the process of being able to adopt children is a lengthy one. There are background checks on each parent and extensive interviews with those who are friends of the parents to validate that the potential guardians are capable of adopting children. When it comes to homosexuals wanting to adopt, the process can be unbearable at times. Despite this, in recent years, many homosexual couples have stepped up to the plate of adopting. If adoption doesn’t work, then gay/lesbian couples may find other ways of having children through artificial insemination, or they may already have children from a previous heterosexual marriage. Unfortunately, in the United States, it is an individual state’s rights and not the country’s as a whole to grant custody to these couples. For the gay/lesbian couples that are able to nurture children, many researchers have focused on how these children develop psychologically, emotionally, and socially, as compared to the children of heterosexual couples.

Many believe that gays/lesbians are not suitable parents because a “normal family” consists of one mom and one dad. Nevertheless, in these “normal families” events happen, such as parents getting divorced, passing away, or “coming out” as gay or lesbian. When these gay/lesbian adults have kids, it can become problematic. Over the years, many stigmatizations have risen as to why homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to raise children. Wendell Ricketts, author of Lesbians and Gay Men as Foster Parents, writes that common fears associated with homosexuals and their children are that the parents are mentally ill, perverted, child molesters, and that the children will grow up to be homosexuals themselves (47-48). This argument really has no value because many heterosexuals, too, are perverse and ill natured. Disappointingly, “the myth of gay men and lesbians as child molesters… is so powerfully ingrained in the psyche of most people in Western Society that the idea that [homosexuals] would be allowed to parent seems, to some, to be almost unbelievable,” states Gerald P. Mallon, professor of child welfare at Hunter College (3). These myths find their way into courtrooms and persuade the judge and jury to believe that the children’s morals will be harmed if they live with a homosexual parent (Mallon 4). Regardless of these false accusations, a relationship between a child and his or her parent(s) is very crucial to a child’s development.

The relationship between a parent and child is more important than the parent’s sexual orientation. According to Stephen Erich, a professor at the University of Houston and his colleagues Sharon K. Hall, Heather Kanenberg, and Kim Casey, “the quality of a parent/child relationship is conceptually understood as a reflection of the attachment bond between the child and parent(s)” (153). Jennifer Wainright, a senior research analyst in Richmond, Virginia, ran a study with Charlotte Patterson examining 44 adolescents parented by heterosexual couples and 44 adolescents parented by same-sex female couples, by measuring the students’ peer relationships, friendship networks, and family relationships. Wainright and Patterson discovered that “participants expressed strong love, loyalty, and protectiveness toward their [lesbian] mothers… [But] also described concerns about losing friends and […] attempts to control information about their mothers’ sexual orientation” (118).

Another study that focused on the parent/child relationship was directed by Rachel H. Farr, Stephen L. Forssell, and Charlotte J. Patterson, entitled, “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?” The main claim to this study was that the sexual orientation of a parent does not necessarily affect a child’s adjustment in a family but that the regular strains of parenting do, such as how a parent disciplines his or her child. To study this hypothesis, there were three objectives for this study: examine associations between parental sexual orientation and a child’s development, examine associations among parental sexual orientation and parenting styles, and examine the associations between child outcomes and family process variables; the opinions of outside caregivers (teachers or babysitters) were considered as well. When it came to associations between parental sexual orientation and a child’s development, family type was not of importance, and the caregivers’ reports were consistent with that of the parents. If the caregivers were consistent with what the parents revealed, then this means that the caregivers saw no problem associated with children being raised by homosexuals. The stresses of parenting styles were directly related to the child’s age; however, homosexual adoptive families reported less stress than that had by heterosexual adoptive families (175).

Erich et al. also researched children adopted by homosexual couples in their study entitled “An Empirical Analysis of Factors Affecting Adolescent Attachment in Adoptive Families with Homosexual and Straight Parents.” The purpose of the study was to examine factors related to adolescent attachment found in adoptive families of lesbians/gays and heterosexuals (402). The study consisted of 11-19 year old adolescents and one adoptive parent (150 parents and 210 adolescents) each taking a questionnaire either by mail or on the website Survey Monkey. The results showed that “adolescent life satisfaction was positively related to adolescent attachment to parents but unrelated to parent sexual orientation” (402). One factor that stood out in this study was the correlation between the parent’s relationship with the child and the number of placements preceding adoption. It is a well-known fact that children who move from foster home to foster home have a harder time adjusting to new families because they don’t have time to form relationships with the adoptive parents. Due to this factor alone, the study explained that the adolescent’s relationship with the parent was inversely related to the adopted child’s previous placements before being adopted, which affects the relationship between the parent and adopted child; the relationship becomes less favorable the older the child is (402). Based on this research, it can be seen that a relationship with a parent is vital to a child’s well being. Keeping children in a foster home for too long can negatively affect a child’s relationship with an adoptive parent. Susan Golombok states, “Whether children are happy or sad, confident or shy, outgoing or withdrawn, depends, to some extent at least, on the type of relationship they have with their parents” (63). If they don’t have parents, no matter the sexual orientation, then the child may not develop healthy personality traits.

Children living in a homosexual home have few, if any, differences from children reared in heterosexual homes when it comes to psychological development. The psychological development of children is very important, especially during the adolescent years (11-21 years of age). Charlotte J. Patterson poses the question, “What kinds of home environments best foster children’s psychological adjustment and growth?” (241). As seen from previous studies, it is not a foster home. The psychological development of a child pertains to self-esteem, anxiety, and overall well-being. When it comes to children being raised by lesbian/gay families, the words coping and stigmatization are well known. Stigmatization is defined as, “an outcome of negative attitudes toward those who differ in some way from culturally agreed-upon norms” (van Gelderen et al. 1000). Coping is when adolescents find ways to deal with these stigmatizations because these adolescents are not raised in culturally agreed-upon homes. It is important to study how stigmatization affects the psychological health of these adolescents and how they cope. Tamar Gershon, a psychiatric pediatrician in California, along with colleagues Jeanne M. Tschann and John M. Jemerin, conducted a study called “Stigmatization, Self-Esteem, and Coping Among the Adolescent Children of Lesbian mothers.” Gershon, Tschann, and Jemerin interviewed 76 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 to examine the perceived stigma, coping, disclosure, and self-esteem of children with lesbian mothers (437). They made three hypotheses: greater perceived stigma would be related to lower self-esteem among adolescents with lesbian mothers, adolescents with effective coping skills would have better self-esteem, and adolescents who disclosed more would have better self-esteem even if they perceived higher stigma (438). The 76 adolescents were interviewed for about one and one half hours by trained interviewers. The results showed that “greater stigma was related to lower scores on self-perception of social acceptance, self-worth, behavioral conduct, physical appearance, and close friendship” (Gershon, Tschann, Jemerin 440). Yet other results showed that adolescents who could make better decisions when coping had better self-esteem. So, if adolescents develop good coping strategies, then the stigma really has little effect on their psychological well being. It was concluded that the more social support an adolescent has, the lower their self-esteem is, but decision-making coping was a better way of dealing with the stigmatizations. By decision-making coping, it is understood as disclosing to others, which is telling others about one’s personal life.

Another study entitled “Stigmatization Associated with Growing Up in a Lesbian-Parented family: What Do Adolescents Experience and How Do They Deal with It?” was run by Loes van Gelderen, Nanette Gartrell, Henny M.W. Bos, Floor B. van Rooij, and Jo M.A. Hermanns. The purpose of their study was to understand how adolescents deal with negative reactions associated with the sexual orientation of their mothers (999). Van Gelderen noted that the study done by “Gershon et al. focused on the coping strategies of adolescents [using] quantitative [measures] rather than qualitative research methods (1000). It may be possible to measure in numbers how many adolescents felt a certain way (quantitative), but one can only ask the adolescents themselves how they really feel and deal with stigmatization (qualitative). Continuing with the study, 78 adolescents were interviewed using a secure questionnaire on a website. The questionnaire contained multiple choice questions and open-ended questions (van Gelderen et al. 1001). The adolescents who answered “yes” to the question “Have you been treated unfairly because you have a lesbian mom?” were retained for further questioning pertaining to where and how they had experienced stigmatization (1001-1002). One female respondent stated:

My only real encounter with homophobia was when I was researching gay and lesbian parenting in my local library. I was telling a friend of mine some stories about my family, and I guess a woman sitting next to us overheard me. At one point she got up from her table to leave, and as she walked by us she turned to me and said with a straight face ‘You are the spawn of Satan’…(van Gelderen et al. 1002).

This story is quite odd considering that research shows most adolescents mainly experience scorn from peers. Plus, for a grown woman to belittle a child based on her parents’ choices is quite absurd on its own.

It is important to mention two types of coping skills: adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive coping was defined as a positive way to cope, which included being optimistic, confrontational, or receiving social support from friends and family. One female respondent stated, “I Let people know when they have said or done something that I do not believe is acceptable or appropriate, and I make sure they know why I think so…” (van Gelderen et al.1003). The other coping strategy, maladaptive coping, included retaining information about their families and avoiding confrontation. A male respondent stated, “I haven’t told all my friends about my parents. I sometimes lie about the houses I go to; for example, I might say I’m going to my dad’s house, when I ‘m really going to my other mom’s house…” (1003). While these adolescents seem like they are having a difficult time disclosing information, it was mentioned that most of the stigmatization was received in elementary school, and that the amount of bullying reported by gay/lesbian raised children did not deviate from those reported by adolescents in heterosexual families (1004).

Henry Bos along with Nanette Gartrell conducted a study investigating the impact of homophobic stigmatization on the well being of 17-year old adolescents (559). They wanted to expand their understanding of factors that influence healthy psychosocial development by using three factors: family connection, family compatibility, and preparation for homophobic stigmatization, hypothesizing that homophobic stigmatization would have an adverse effect on the psychological well being of these adolescents (Bos and Gartrell 561-562). After conversing with the 78 adolescents, the results showed that 41% of adolescents had experienced stigmatization based on homophobia. It was concluded that the relationship with the mother is what diminishes the negative effects of homophobic stigmatization (567). Yet again, it’s proven that it is the relationship with the parent that encourages positive development in an adolescent. When the adolescents feel comfortable in the relationship with their gay/lesbian parents, then they feel comfortable disclosing information to peers, possibly opening the door to new and better friendships.

It is believed that children adopted or raised by lesbian/gay parents have a difficult social life. Susan Golombok, a professor of psychology in London, writes that children with lesbian mothers are teased and bullied at school because of their parents’ sexual orientation (55). Because of this, “adolescents…[have] lower self esteem in five of seven areas, including social acceptance, self-worth, behavioral conduct, physical appearance, and close friendship” (Gershon, Tschann, and Jemerin 442). However, this data was quantitative, and it is preferred for this subject that the data be qualitative.

Mark Gianino, Abbie Goldberg, and Terrence Lewis also conducted a study taking into consideration how the parents deal with their child’s stigmatization. It was discovered that the adolescents they interviewed found middle school as the hardest time of their lives (214). While this is true, it should not be understood as only adolescents raised in homosexual homes have difficult times in middle school; all adolescents experience bullying independent of their parents’ sexual orientation because “adolescence is generally considered a difficult transitional stage of life” (Bos and Gartrell 567). Most importantly, these adopted adolescents found it easier to talk about their families after consulting with their parents (Gianino, Goldberg, Lewis 221). Here, we have another example of how important it is for adolescents to have strong relationships with their parents. Gianino, Goldberg, and Lewis, though, found that around middle or late adolescence, most children were able to have a group of friends who accept their family structure (227). Wainright and Patterson found through their study of 88 adolescents that they had positive peer relations and an average of about five friends (121). Despite living in a gay/lesbian home, these adolescents with same sex parents were able to have at least five close friends, indicating that the parent’s sexual orientation doesn’t play a role. In fact, this study “revealed no significant differences in adolescent peer relations as a function of family type…and relationship variables such as the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship were significantly associated with several aspects of adolescent peer relations (Wainwright and Patterson 124). Again, another study shows that the better relationship an adolescent has with his or her parent, no matter the sexual orientation, the better the relationships with their peers. Wainright and Patterson concluded that whether the adolescents lived with same-sex or opposite-sex couples didn’t matter as long as adolescents had a close and satisfying relationship with parents because this warranted “better peer relations, more friends in school, and greater centrality within their friendship networks…” (125). Despite this evidence, many courtrooms use the notion that children of gay and lesbian couples will be harassed or ostracized to deny these very couples the right to adopt (Johnson and O’Connor 36-37). If that is the case, then many heterosexual parents should be barred the right to adopt because their children might face harassment for simply being adopted. It may seem that homosexual adoption is not the ideal option for adolescents, but good can be found in everything.

Living in a gay/lesbian home can have its advantages. During the teenage years, many are confused about their sexuality. Some are even ostracized by their parents for their sexual orientation. In spite of that, adolescents who grow up in gay/lesbian homes don’t have to agonize over the idea that their parents might not love them anymore based on their sexual preferences. Lisa Saffron, an author of many parenting books, notes that teenagers with gay/lesbian parents find the process of coming out easier because it is less painful, and adolescents are faced with less parental rejection than a teenager with heterosexual parents (39). Nowadays, the homosexual lifestyle is a hot topic. However, behind closed doors, many families forbid to talk of such an illicit subject. In gay/lesbian homes though, “young adults with lesbian mothers [seem] to be more at ease in relation to talking about lesbian and gay issues” (Saffron 40). As previously mentioned, too many children reside in foster care, and foster care can be detrimental to a child’s psychological health. According to Richard R. Bradley, a lawyer in Texas, allowing gays/lesbians to raise children gives children the benefit of being in a permanent home instead of the insecure environment of foster care (139). If foster care systems and child welfare providers put their thinking caps on, they would realize that the LGBT community is an “untapped resource” and would greatly reduce the foster care population (Mallon 3). Another advantage to being raised in a gay/lesbian home would be the diversity. In today’s world, there is so much diversity it’s unfathomable. Children raised by gays/lesbians would have a “greater acceptance of differences in lifestyles, types of families, cultures, religious beliefs […]” (Saffron 45). Also, if children were to be raised in a lesbian-headed home, the children would understand the independence of women. Children would see the inequality typical in heterosexual relationships. Says one adolescent, Katrina:

Other girls my age aren’t able to hold their own because they’ve been brought up by dominating fathers. They can’t stand up to boyfriends that bully them. My Mum is assertive and strong. She just won’t be pushed around. I’ve learnt that from her. I’ve got confidence in myself. I’d say I’m more emotionally stable than many of my friends who are living with both their mum and dad (Saffron 45).

To say the least, children raised in gay/lesbian homes would just be more open-minded and tolerant of others. In this day and age, many of those people are needed.

As previously mentioned above, the movie The Kids are All Right, had a pretty suspenseful plot. After the sperm donor, Paul, enters the lives of Joni and Laser, he grows closer to them as he continues to visit. This bond he forms with his children starts to bring strife upon the family, particularly Nic. Worse comes to worse, and Jules, the other mother in the relationship, has an affair with Paul. Turmoil unfolds, and the family faces a dilemma: will Jules leave her wife for a husband? In the end, the family ends up rejecting Paul; the kids do as well, and the family overcomes a near break-up. This movie showed that lesbian/gay couples go through what an average heterosexual couple goes through: raising children, dealing with conflict, and overcoming those conflicts. However, this was a Hollywood version of what the audience wanted to see. In reality, these gay/lesbian couples fight for their right to raise children. These couples struggle against biased courts, or those who come out as homosexual already with children struggle to obtain custody of their own offspring. Children are precious gifts. The catch to receiving a gift, though, is that you can choose to receive them or reject them. Children who are declined are usually put into foster care; they reside there in a desolate wasteland with no parents there to tell them they are loved. These gifts wallow away, marking time for someone to come along and open up their box of love that will surely overflow. Thankfully, there are the few who have a heart for adopting these children, many of whom happen to be homosexuals. Many homosexuals whether single or in a relationship, are ready and willing to become parents.

Psychotherapists Damian McCann and Howard Delmonte suggest that lesbians and gay men desire to nurture children because they “enjoy having children around and want them to have a valued place in their lives” (334). And for the parents that come out as homosexual and divorce their husband or wife, still love their children. So why can’t they see them anymore? Is society afraid that the children will become gay/lesbian themselves? It doesn’t matter to a child whether the parent is straight or homosexual; what matters is that the parent loves them, cares for them, and is always there for them. Even if the child did come out as homosexual, we live in a society where homosexuality is starting to become accepted as a lifestyle. The laws preventing homosexuals from raising children should be abolished so that the children in need of adoption can have permanent homes. Let the child with a gay dad or lesbian mom continue to see their parents; don’t rip them from love.

Works Cited

Bradley, Richard R. “Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill: A Law and Economics Defense of Same-Sex Foster Care Adoptions.” Family Court Review 45.1 (2007): 133-148. Wiley Online Library. Web. 22 April 2012.

Erich, Stephen, et al. “An Empirical Analysis of Factors Affecting Adolescent Attachment in Adoptive Families with Homosexual and Straight Parents.” Children and Youth Services Review 31.3 (2009): 398-404. Elsevier SD Freedom Collection. Web. 26. Feb. 2012.

Erich, Stephen, Sharon K. Hall, Heather Kanenberg, and Kim Case. “Early and Late Stage Adolescence: Adopted Adolescents’ Attachment to Their Heterosexual and Lesbian/Gay Parents.” Adoption Quarterly 12.3/4 (2009): 152-170. Taylor and Francis Journals Complete. Web. 18. Feb. 2012.

Farr, Rachel H., Stephen L. Forssell, and Charlotte J. Patterson. “Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?” Applied Developmental Science 14.3 (2010): 164-178. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 09. Feb. 2012.

Gelderen, Loes van, Nanette Gartrell, Henny M.W. Bos, Floor B. van Rooij, and Jo M.A. Hermanns. “Stigmatization associated with growing up in a lesbian-parented family: What do adolescents experience and how do they deal with it?” Children and Youth Services Review 34 (2012): 999-1006. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26. March. 2012.

Gershon, Tamar D., M.D., Jeanne M. Tschann, Ph.D., and John M. Jemerin, M.D. “Stigmatization, Self-Esteem, and Coping Among the Adolescent Children of Lesbian Mothers.” Journal of Adolescent Health 24.6 (1999): 437-445. Elsevier SD Freedom Collection. Web. 14. Feb. 2012.

Gianino, Mark, Abbie Goldberg, and Terrence Lewis. “Family Outings: Disclosure Practices Among Adopted Youth with Gay and Lesbian Parents.” Adoption Quarterly 12.3-4 (2009): 205-228. Taylor and Francis Journals Complete. Web. 01. Feb. 2012.

Goldberg, Abbie E. Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2010. Print.

Golombok, Susan. Parenting: What really counts? London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

Johnson, Suzanne M. and Elizabeth O’Connor. The Gay Baby Boom: The Psychology of Gay Parenthood. New York: New York University, 2002. Print.

Mallon, Gerald P. “Gay Men and Lesbians as Adoptive Parents.” Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 11.4 (2000): 1-17. Taylor and Francis Journals Complete. Web. 26. Feb. 2012.

McCann, Damian and Howard Delmonte. “Lesbian and Gay Parenting: Babes in Arms or Babes in the Woods?” Sexual and Relationship Therapy. 20.3 (2005): 333-347. Taylor and Francis Journals Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

Patterson, Charlotte J. “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents.” Current Directions in Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell) 15.5 (2006): 241-244. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16. Feb. 2012.

Ricketts, Wendell. Lesbians and Gay Men as Foster Parents. Portland: University of Southern Maine, 1992. Print.

Saffron, Lisa. “Raising Children in an Age of Diversity-Advantages of Having a Lesbian Mother.” Journal of Lesbian Studies 2.4 (1998): 35-47. Taylor and Francis Journals Complete. Web. 22 April 2012.

Telingator, Cynthia J. and Charlotte Patterson. “Children and Adolescents of Lesbian and Gay Parents.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 47.12 (2008): 1364-1368. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26. March. 2012.

Wainwright, Jennifer L., and Charlotte J. Patterson. “Peer Relations Among Adolescents with Female Same-Sex Parents.” Developmental Psychology. 44.1 (2008): 117-126. PsycARTICLES. Web. 10. Feb. 2012.