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Our Kids Have a Gay Parent. Gosh, Who Knew?

What About the Kids?

Lately, in the USA it‘s news that gay people can create children.  Its news that they can parent children. And it is beyond the stretch of many people to realize that they can have children without marrying a straight spouse.

The children of straight spouses have a gay parent.  They may also have a gay step parent, and a straight step parent.  Some of our children live with us, the heterosexual parent.  Some of our children live with the gay/lesbian parent.  Some of these children may themselves be LGBT. Our children face many of the same issues in their lives as children of any other divorce.  But they also face something unique.

At least one of their parents is gay.  And for some, that affects how other people view them.  Peers, teachers, neighbors, parents of peers.  Sometimes its a pretty easy transition.  Many times it is not.

Even if children of mixed orientation families are not bullied by their peers, it can take some adjustment for the families of those peers to accept their gay parents.  Sometimes children of gay people are bullied by their peers and we straight parents must cope with school personnel who do nothing or who blame the victim – or blame us and our gay spouses.  Sometimes children of gay parents see their parents being treated hatefully by others for loving a partner. Sometimes they arent bullied directly but hear constant “thats so gay” insults among their peers and wonder if they will be targeted because they have a gay parent. They live in a hostile and indifferent world that often denies their existence or the more positive realities of their familiy life.  Sometimes, our children are gay themselves.

And sometimes, our children from our mixed orientation marriages are living with the gay parent, being raised by a gay couple in joint custody with us. Many resources have evolved to support gay parents, and to lift up the public perception that they are truly capable of having and raising children.  There still remains scant awareness of the straight parent, or the parenting and step parenting conflicts that can commonly result and be resolved.

When we straight parents are the primary custodians of the children, we face dilemmas such as telling the children about the other parent’s homosexuality in an age appropriate way, communicating with the other parent and new same sex partner or spouse in a constructive way, and supporting our child with the social adjustment.  We also face frustrations.  We may delay getting involved with a new relationship but find that the gay spouse has moved on very quickly.  Sometimes our children will notice multiple new friends, and ask us the questions they dont want to ask the gay parent.

The Straight Spouse Network is here to support us through these transitions, build bridges, help us find solutions.  Our families matter.

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