Monday, September 24, 2007

Coworker Says No to Gay Parents Adopting

At work today, the topic of children was broached. I mentioned that I want kids one day, and the newbie to our team asked me if I was serious. I explained to her that I do want kids; however, the want is something I don't see myself feeling 100% until 8 to 10 years down the road. She commented that some places don't let gay people about because "they might come out that way." That way-- I have already told this coworker that it offends and bothers me when she uses that way instead of gay/homosexual/lesbian/etc.

I brought up a great Dateline segment I watched years ago as a high school student. The segment tackled the subject of gay couples adopting or having children and how studies show that the majority of children with gay parents are heterosexual. Mentioning the segment made me remember a gay couple in Florida who are foster parents. I can't remember how many children are in there home, but I want to say it is around 6 or 7....... all of the children are HIV positive. One foster parent is a registered nurse and stays home with the children, and the other foster parent works a "traditional" job. The foster parents would love to adopt the children, but the brilliant state of Florida will not hear of such a thing as gays adopting. My coworker then says, "Well, they shouldn't be able to adopt the children. They probably just want to take life insurance out on the kids." I had to remain silent, take a deep breath because I thought I was going to call her stupid or strangle her. Another coworker looked really uncomfortable; I knew she thought I was going to attack.

This coworker then proceeds to tell me, "My aunt does it. She has more kids so she can get more money from the government." I respond, "Well, just because your aunt does that doesn't mean that EVERYONE else is doing the same. I know that people do such horrendous things; however, you can't use your aunt as marker to judge everyone else. You can't use one single person as a marker to judge the character of others."

Her last comment was something to the effect that it is her opinion that gay people shouldn't adopt. I ended by saying, "Sadly, it's because of people with your mentality that thousands and thousands of kids in this country out of loving home."

Honestly, I feel sad for my coworker, but even more than sad there is an overwhelming disappointment in her. This coworker has talked about being discriminated against because she is a black female, yet the obstacles she has overcome have apparently taught her nothing. People need to wake up; learn from your life experiences. THINK hard before you speak on topics, especially "touchy" topics.

Tomorrow, I am going to once more address the issue of my coworker using that way to describe gay peeps. If it happens again it goes to HR... no ifs, ands, or buts.

9 comments:

Lisa Allender said...

YIKES!! I just caught up with your Blog entries--I certainly hope your co-worker reads your Blog, and finally "gets" it.
I wonder WHY she thinks being GLBT is to be feared? As you said, most of us CAME FROM HETEROSEXUAL PARENTS--so obviously, it does NOT MATTER WHAT the parents' orientation is--children become WHO they are--but they do not have ANY chance of reaching that potential, unless they have a loving, supportive home. I cannot for the life of me, fathom why anyone would prevent them from having that....

God Bless You, Dustin, for being patient withthis frightening display of bigotry(that's EXACTLY what it is). And from a woman, and a woman who's a minority!!

Sibille said...

The sad thing is that, not only is fostering children very hard (harder than raising your own children, I think) and people who do it should really be recognised for the effort, but how many people would want to foster several HIV positive children? Not many...aside from the whole stigma issue, it must be very challenging, both emotionally and physically/practically. Yet this couple care for several children and have adapted their life to be able to do this. It is really admirable. It is insulting to insinuate that they would only do it for money, but the whole situation also seems to imply gay couples are 'good enough' to care for children that nobody else wants to care for, until it is decided that the fostering should come to an end, yet they are not allowed to have children of their own.

Dustin said...

Lisa-- Sometimes, I think living in Atlanta can blur the vision a bit... what I mean is, Georgia may not be very progressive for the GLBT community, Atlanta is progressive. Since a majority of the time I am surrounded by logical and open minded people, I sometimes forget that there are people like my coworker in my "inner circle." (Hope that makes sense.) Maybe one day her eyes will be opened... until that day, I'll keep doing what I do, saying what I think, and toss a bit of patience her way.

Lisa Allender said...

Dustin, I know you're correct-- I am not "in a bubble", but certainly most folks I am close to understand that adoption is adoption is adoption---all that matters is if the person, or two people can provide emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc., for the child/children...

Good point, Sibille, on the folks who think it's okay when gay people are "fostering" but it's NOT okay for those same gay people to have children of their OWN? That's messed up, fer sure!

And we haven't even touched on the other issue of all the children raised in DIVORCED Homes
(For example, Heterosexual marriages have a MUCH higher rate of break-ups than that of lesbians)
Wouldn't an INTACT home--two loving men or women, be MUCH preferable to an arguing, mean-spirited hetero couple, fighting over who gets the children when, etc..?

Dustin said...

Lisa, sasn't saying you are in a bubble.. I was admitting to how I forget about the closed mindedness around because of my living in Atlanta.

Lisa Allender said...

I know--I meant sometimes I AM in a bubble, and YES!-- All of us forget at times, that "the ATL" is indeed more "with-it" in terms of sophistication, and understanding...as the old joke goes:
"There's Atlanta, and then there's the REST of Georgia."

William said...

I'm sorry to read that you have to work with someone who just doesn't get it. Although, as I'm sure you understand, you being there and having conversations like the one involving GLBT adoption helps. She may not show it to you, but she's probably thinking about what you're saying long after it's done. With any luck she'll start to come around... luckily I think most people do.

Thanks!
~William

KATE EVANS said...

I'd say to her:

So what if they turn out "that way" or not--there is nothing wrong with being "that way."

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