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"This is a
children's ride!"

"This is a
children's ride!"

children's ride!" " >

As we shipped off this issue with the amazing basketball star and working mom Sheryl Swoopes on the cover, the Los Angeles Times was reporting on an angry dad in Lexington, Mass., outside Boston. David Parker is furious that his kindergartner brought home from school a picture book that showed two moms and their children washing a poodle. "What people do in their bedroom, that's their business," Parker said. "What they tell my children in school about these subjects--that's my business."

David, darling, get your mind out of the gutter. If your kindergartner sees a picture of a family scrubbing their dog and thinks immediately about what the moms "do in their bedrooms," you've got a serious parenting problem that has nothing to do with the public school system. Fact is, you live in Massachusetts, and some of your kindergartner's classmates probably have two moms or two dads--legally married couples who have no interest in discussing their sex lives with you or your children. Are you planning to blindfold your kids whenever they're in public lest they discover the nonthreatening banality of diversity?

Parker's sex-focused non sequitur reminded me of my experience on a Disneyland canoe ride a few years ago. While our canoe was sitting idle on the Rivers of America, waiting for the Mark Twain Riverboat to get out of our way so we could paddle back to the dock, a friend of mine got a cell phone call. "Who is it?" yelled the Disney "cast member" dressed as Daniel Boone who had run out of scripted patter to keep his charges' attention. "It's Eddie," answered my friend.

"What's he saying?" shouted Boone.

"Something about stroking," said my friend with a grin.

Then from behind us came a gasp and a woman's outraged cry:

"This is a children's ride!"

Angry Mom was not upset because my friend had said anything overtly sexual; she was embarrassed because she got the joke and feared she might have to explain the adults' laughter to her otherwise oblivious children. The kids were all right. It was Mom whose mind went to the nasty place.

The WNBA has too often treated its ticket buyers like overprotected children, quietly hoping no one mentions that many of its players and a disproportionate number of its fans are lesbians, because admitting the obvious might upset sexually obsessed people like Mr. Parker and the canoe lady. The antigay right complains that its disapproval of gay sex is being trampled upon, even when the subject is not sex at all but dog washing or hoops. What they want is for gay people simply to go away so they don't have to explain to their children how upstanding we typically are.

Well, Sheryl Swoopes is not going away, and (so far) neither is marriage equality in Massachusetts. Every day there are more happy, ordinary gay parents at the mall, at sports events, in the PTA. And it's driving the far right insane. How dare we settle down to traditional, family-centered lives, whether we're basketball stars or computer programmers, without society collapsing around us?

People like David Parker call portrayals of the simple, nonsexual reality of gay-led families like Sheryl's "indoctrination." I call it normal. And glorious.

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"This is a
children's ride!"

" >
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