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Childfree and gay – no surprise!
In my experience being childfree and gay is slightly different to being childfree and straight based on the anecdotal evidence from childfree straight friends.
While the rate of same sex parents (couples and single parents) has increased in Australia over the years, there are a number of single and same sex couples that are choosing to be childfree. However as I’ve discussed here, the perceptions of gay childfree people and straight childfree couples especially from the straight community is quite different.
As previously mentioned my childfree status as a gay person seems to be less of an issue for me with the wider population because it is simply assumed that I will never have children. Nothing about me wanting or not wanting to have children comes into this assumption because same sex couples can’t have children in the same was straight couples do. It’s just assumed we’ll never have them because we can’t accidentally fall pregnant or get someone pregnant. Having children in this respect has been reduced to whether the protection breaks and not about wants and desires. Having children is not seen as a choice for people but as an inevitability when you’re an opposite couple or someone who has sex with the opposite sex.
This is quite irksome because it disregards the fact that parenthood or childfreedom is a choice, rather it is seen as something that just goes with the territory of being gay or straight. I haven’t yet been in a relationship where my same sex partner or I have been asked if we want children, or will adopt or foster. I have had plenty of times before my orientation is known or the sex of my partner has been known where I have been bingoed about having children.
It’s more than a little annoying.
The heterosexual lifescript that is set down and enforced by society tells us that if we are born female, we will grow up to like “girly” things such as makeup and dolls, get married to a guy, get pregnant and raise children either while working or staying at home. If we are born male then we will grow up to like fighting and motorbikes, get married to a woman, get her pregnant and she’ll raise the children because the guy will be out working.
So anyone who doesn’t adhere to that – where do they fit?
Since parenthood is so ingrained in society to the point where it is expected rather than seen as a choice, whenever someone comes along who is outside the heterosexual lifescript, no-one knows what to do. I’m not straight and don’t like men, that must mean I wouldn’t have children and by extension I wouldn’t want children. It’s a weird thought process that I can’t seem to logically connect to each other. The only way I can connect “I’m gay” equals “Will never have children” is based on the assumption that gays can’t reproduce naturally with each other therefore they won’t have children – which disregards adoption or fostering or if a gay person has for some reason gotten pregnant through heterosexual sex. The only way I can connect “I’m gay” equals “Will never want children” is based on the assumption that gays can’t reproduce naturally with each other therefore they won’t want children – which is just plain stupid.
On asking my straight childfree friends about their experiences with being childfree some interesting insights came up. Some childfree friends reported that they were assumed to be gay by people when those people where informed of their childfree status regardless of whether the friend in question was single or in a relationship or stated they were married. Apparently you’re automatically gay if you don’t want children.
What are your thoughts readers?
Feel free to submit your own childfree story by sending your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no guidelines for submissions.
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