I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been busy. I have a 3000 word paper to write. But I’ve decided to take a moment from academia because this went up on a lamppost near my house.
As part of the No campaign for the upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum, Mothers and Fathers Matter (and a number of other groups) have taken the time to remind us that children deserve a mother and a father. Let’s ignore that this is a huge insult to single parents who have raised fantastic families. Let’s ignore the fact that there are a huge number of children in a less than perfect care system in this country and apparently this is a preferable option than being adopted into a loving family who want nothing more than to raise kids. Let’s ignore that the majority of the family issues that are being brought up with the referendum are addressed in the recent Child and Family Relationships Bill. I want to talk about what children deserve.
Children deserve to have the security of a family that won’t be ripped apart if one of their parents is trans. For those who didn’t know, in order to medically transition in this country, one must divorce their spouse in order to prevent a de facto same sex union.
Children deserve to have the security of a family that won’t be ripped apart if their biological parent dies. Previous to the Child and Family Relationships Bill, a civil partner had no legal rights to their partner’s biological children.
Children deserve to have a family. No campaigners are very concerned with a child having parents with the correct set of genitals, but seem unconcerned with the state of the care system of Ireland. They are unconcerned with custody issues. They are unconcerned with children born to unwed parents. They are simply concerned with ensuring that LGBTQ couples cannot have children.
Children who have LGBTQ parents deserve not to have their family dragged through the mud. They deserve to not have to listen to how their home is considered a deficient environment. They deserve to not have to defend their families to adults.
LGBTQ children deserve to know that they have a right to as much dignity and respect as any other person. They deserve not to be second class citizens. They deserve to know they are not broken.
Othering of LGBTQ people has many real life consequences to children. Secondary school children who are LGBTQ are 7 times more likely to have suicidal ideation or attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts (Cannon et al 2013). 1 in 2 are subject to homophobic bullying (Minton et al 2008). 1 in 2 bisexual people will be raped in their lifetime (CDC 2010). Designation of LGBTQ people as deviant and different and less than straight people only serves to condone these actions as justifiable. These are the consequences of discrimination.
And children deserve better than that. Please vote yes on May 22.