By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com August 29 2014 12:25 PM ET
I knew when we chose to be parents that the decision wouldn’t be met with open arms from everyone. Unlike being gay, parenting is actually a choice we made, and it involves a child, which is the ultimate sin in homophobes’ minds.
Fortunately, most haters don’t have the balls to say something directly to our faces, so I’m sure most of the negative chatter has been behind our backs. However, I am very quick to pick up on passive-aggression, as I used to be a pro at it myself. Something we hear repeatedly, under the guise of a compliment, is “You’re doing such a good job.” Really? I’m doing such a good job? Why don’t they keep going and say the rest of it: “Wow, I can’t believe that a gay couple can actually raise a child. That being considered, you’re doing such a good job.”
Don’t tell me I’m being too sensitive. I’m a Twitter comic and practically enjoy when people (try) to troll me. I’ve never given a shit about what people think about me, and I wear that like a badge. But a backhanded compliment is the lowest of lows. To those who doubt that this is a dig, let me ask you, would they say the same thing to a straight couple? Would they go up to a random mother and say “You’re doing such a good job?” I highly doubt it. I’ve asked all of my mom friends this and they agree, it’s technically inappropriate. Some of you might reply, “At least they don’t say you’re doing an awful job,” which is true, but they don’t have to say shit at all. They could easily say something like “What a beautiful family you have” or “Your kid is so obviously happy.”
Maybe I’m thinking too deeply about it, but it has always bothered me and it always catches me off-guard. I was not seeking approval in the first place, so why do they feel the need to give me theirs? I don’t necessarily think they do it meaning to be passive-aggressive, it’s just what I consider accidentally offensive. And yes, typically it’s older ladies who are shocked that we’re parents in the first place. Still. It’s rude because it comes with the notion of surprise. As in they’re surprised I can raise my child well. They’re surprised that my kid is well-adjusted and clearly is on top of the world. I know there are bigger problems when it comes to gay parenting, but if we can collectively shut down the “you’re doing such a good job” people, then we will have won one more tiny battle.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.