I don’t care if fat old gay people can’t have kids.

And it really pains me to say it, too. I’m not exactly in great shape myself, and I’m hardly a spring chicken. I have always believed in respecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, and in cherishing the diversity of living and loving that is possible among human beings.

I do care if fat old gay people are discriminated against in the workplace. I care if they are denied the same access to housing and health care that everyone else has. I care if they are humiliated, intimidated, insulted, or in any way not treated with the dignity and respect that I believe all human beings deserve. I support the right of fat old gay people to marry other fat old gay people, or whoever else is willing, I mean, hey, whatever man. And I will never just sit idly while the rights of fat old gay people are infringed.

But I will never, ever support the idea that fat old gay people–or, for that matter, skinny young straight people, or any people–are entitled to have children. In fact, it’s really quite shocking to me that anyone would claim otherwise. However, many adoptive parents and other adoption industry cheerleaders (whether gay or straight or anything in between) do this quite frequently by implication. While this is often a source of annoyance or amusement for me, depending on my mood, it was not until I ran across an astonishingly arrogant blog post on the topic of adoption and surrogacy that I began to grasp the scope of this vast sense of entitlement.

So let’s take a little walk through this bit of sophomoric spew and see what it can tell us about the ideology of adoption as entitlement. It’s not that the post in question is worthwhile in and of itself, or that the author is anyone of consequence, but rather that it is an exemplary coalescence of the disparate components found throughout modern adoption ideology: narcissism, avarice, privilege, dehumanization, self-righteousness, deliberate obfuscation of the issues, and more internalized misogyny than you can shake a stick at. It is, in fact, a discourse analytic gold mine, with ore so rich (and revealing) that I will not be getting past the first two paragraphs in this post:

As of June 1st of this year, China has barred singles from adopting their abandoned children – along with couples over 50, overweight persons or those with more than 2 divorces and less than $80,000 income.

Under the pretext of “we have less babies available”, Chinese officials have found a way to exclude gays and lesbians from having families. Along with everyone else they deem as “undesirable”.

Three little words tell you everything you need to know about where this post is going, and it ain’t pretty. PretextWe know you can give us more babies, China. We see through your flimsy excuses. Stop being the OPEC of adoption and hand over those goddamn babies. They deemThese people are considered undesirable only because China says so, and China is being a dick. The exclusion of people who might die soon because they’re old, fat, or both, or who might split up soon because they have a pattern of doing so, or who might not have the greatest financial stability, or who might keep the kid in childcare all the time because they’re single and working, is completely arbitrary. How are any of these people less deserving of having a child? They’re entitled, too!

The exclusion of old, fat, poor people in unstable relationships can be understood as unfair only if the adoptive parents’ “needs” are given priority over the needs of the child, which is exactly what is being expressed here. Maybe, just maybe, China does not want to put children through the difficult transition of an international adoption only to have them wind up in orphanages or other unpleasant circumstances again. Perhaps, instead of using some trumped up excuse to exclude people they don’t like, the Chinese government is simply no longer as desperate as it once was to find homes for these children. If you think that’s bad news, then you need to stop gazing at yourself in the mirror and see the world around you.

Now, I am not trying to make excuses for China. The communist subsidiary of Wal-Mart is not known for being terribly concerned about human rights. And I am not going to even try to defend China’s exclusion of gay couples who are otherwise qualified to adopt. What I am saying, though, is that it doesn’t matter one bit how much this decision “hurts” gay prospective adoptive parents, because–and this is the part that prospective adoptive parents, both gay and straight, really seem to be unable to grasp–it’s not about them.

If the restriction against adoption by gay and lesbian couples results in a deterioration of circumstances for children in Chinese orphanages or a reduction in either the quantity or quality of adoption placements (assuming such placements are an improvement over existing conditions, which is questionable but I’ll go along with it for the sake of argument), then it matters (and by “quality” I mean the quality of home for the adoptee). Because that’s the whole point of adoption, or at least it’s supposed to be: the well being of children born into difficult circumstances. But that’s clearly not what it’s about, here:

Chinese officials have found a way to exclude gays and lesbians from having families.

I’m sure this sounded like some kind of justified outrage at the time it was written but really it’s quite hilarious. Gays and lesbians did not materialize out of thin air; they already have families. What have Chinese officials actually excluded gays and lesbians from having? Kids? No, I know lots of gays and lesbians with kids and none of them had to be ordered from China. Gays and lesbians have been excluded from adopting orphans and abandoned children from China.

Well, thanks, I already knew that. And I agree that it is homophobic and that there is no reason to believe it is anything but against the best interests of the children. But suppose, for whatever crazy reason, that this really meant that gay and lesbian couples could no longer have children. Would that make it any worse? No, not one bit. Adoption is not based on serving the needs of adoptive parents, it is about finding ways to make the needs of adoptive parents serve the needs of children. That’s the difference between adoption and trafficking in human lives.

Tune in next time for part two: The Third World Womb – or – Lesbians Who Think Patriarchy Is Just Fine As Long As It Is Far Away And Works In Their Favor.

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10 Responses to “I don’t care if fat old gay people can’t have kids.”


  1. 1 imtina July 2, 2007 at 5:52 am

    You know, this thing that she said about straight people using surrogates is so ignorant…

    “Nobody would accuse them of having NO CONCERN for the children in question.”

    Um….WHAT? Right, those things are only controversial when the gay, lesbian and transgendered use surrogates. Riiiigghht…

    I tried twice to comment on this post but she’s so defensive about her blog and she didn’t like me questioning the ‘benefits’ of surrogacy to the children born of it so they were deleted. Apparantly she’s not interested in having intelligent discourse. But then, I guess it’s all about her.

  2. 2 iBastard July 2, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Well, if you look around at the rest of her blog you’ll start to wonder if it’s not so much that she isn’t interested in having intelligent discourse, but that she’s just not capable of it. And it’s really a pointless exercise to try; I’m not singling her out to pick on her (well, not entirely, at least) but because she provides a wonderfully condensed example of so many things that bother me about the culture of adoption.

  3. 3 Julie July 2, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Brilliant, iBastard! Have I told you lately that I am in love with your mind?

    BTW she did not publish my comment either. No surprise, since she clearly lacks the tools of engagement.

  4. 4 joyjoy July 3, 2007 at 2:05 am

    I am quite sure the author of the loony blog doesn’t know what subversive means, she just thinks it sounds cool.

    Here are some other cool words demagoguery, sedulous, obscurantist, rectitude, hobbledyhoy and my personal current favorite hemi-demi-semi quaver.

    These have nothing to do with the blog you referenced, I am just spreading good word cheer.

  5. 5 Sunny Jo July 4, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    AMEN, sister! you hit the nail on its head.

  6. 6 Valentina July 5, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Yes, thank you. Entitled to adopt. “If anyone DESERVES that child, it’s you!” Ack! I have heard it said.

    I have unintentionally stopped long and thoughtful discussions cold upon asking the question, in the most polite, logical and conversational way, “Is becoming a parent a human right?” I can guess at what their unspoken answers might have been, but I do hope that one or two might truly ponder that question. It can shift one’s viewpoint.

    Hobbledehoy! Great one, joyjoy.

  7. 7 Margie July 8, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Right on.

    But as a fat old person, albeit straight, who has already adopted, I can say that society made it crystal clear that I WAS entitled. I can remember thinking that adoption was another treatment option for my infertility. And I was most definitely not alone – this point of view was tied up in the effort in the late 80s to have infertility identified as a disease so insurance benefits could be obtained, and it was a small hop, skip and jump to entitlement.

    Our adoption agency actually tempered that a little, but still made it clear that there was something magical happening during the adoption process, something “meant to be.”

    Valentina, your question is the absolute kernel of the discussion. But having lived infertility, I know we started down that slippery slope long ago. Medically the answer is yes, within some boundaries that I’m sure are wider today than they were in the 80s. And as I said, it’s a tiny step from infertility treatment to adoption. Voila! I’m entitled!

  8. 9 Gershom July 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    fabulous in the sense of brilliant original post ibastard.


  1. 1 Homofauxbia and the Third World Womb « iBastard Trackback on July 3, 2007 at 4:09 am

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