A tale of two Zachs

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com July 04 2005 11:00 PM ET

It always comes
down to the children. The forces opposed to fair
treatment of gay and lesbian families love to claim that gay
people want to rub the noses of innocent babes in the
ickiness of gay sex.

It’s a
lie, of course. The truth is, it’s straight parents,
not us gay folks, who can’t get their minds out
of our bedrooms. We know you don’t have to talk
about sex to tell your child that Heather has two
mommies—any more than you have to talk about the
wedding night when you’re showing children your
bridal photos.

Far-right
lunatics constantly drag children’s minds down into
the gutter with their own. There’s no sex in
the charming and beautiful children’s book
King & King, about a prince who figures out
that he’d rather pair off with Prince Charming
than Cinderella. Yet Oklahoma lawmaker Sally Kern
warned that such books force “6-year-olds to deal
with the issue of sexuality.”

Really? Did Mrs.
Kern’s two sons ask her about canine mating after
seeing Lady and the Tramp? Is sex what most
kids think about after hearing a fairy tale? Or is
that just what Mrs. Kern thinks about?

If children need
protection, it’s from the prejudices and lies of many
of their parents. Unless they’re carefully
taught to be bigots, children couldn’t care
less who’s gay and who’s not, who has two
daddies or none at all. That’s particularly
true of children brought up by loving gay and lesbian
parents such as those featured in this issue’s Gay
Parenting 2005 package.

Take Zach, the
young man raised since birth by two gay men in Northern
California and who graduated from high school last month.
When The Advocate called Zach to ask him what
it was like growing up with two dads, he
couldn’t think of anything special to say.
They’re just his dads—what’s the
big deal? Bad enough, I suspect, that he had to pose with
them for a photo in a dorky commencement robe. I mean, how
not cool is that? But having two dads? So what?

The banality of
it all could give Jerry Falwell nightmares.

Of course
children should be protected. They should be protected from
violent or neglectful parents. They should be protected from
parents who pass along prejudices that lead to
schoolyard bullying and, later in life, hate crimes.
They should be protected from parents who reject them
or abuse them because of their sexual identity.

In Tennessee
there’s another teenager, also named Zach (although
his identity remains unconfirmed). This Zach recently
came out to his parents—who then, he says, sent
him against his will to a prison-like antigay
deprogramming camp called Love in Action in Raleigh, Tenn.
Alerted by Zach’s blog (www.myspace.com/specialkid),
activists have taken to the streets in Raleigh outside
the Love in Action headquarters, demanding that
children not be imprisoned for their sexual identity.

Now you tell me:
Which child has the better parents? The Zach whose dads
are sending a happy, well-adjusted son to college this fall?
Or the Zach whose parents have had him locked up?