Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mombian Book Review

Are you a parent? Have you read our book? Neither Lipstick nor I are parents, but in writing the chapters about being in relationship with someone who has kids, or deciding whether or not to have children, we consulted our friends with children and read up on the lesbian mom experts, like one of our favorite blogs Mombian.

So, we were honored when Dana Rudolph from Mombian offered to review Lipstick & Dipstick’s Essential Guide to Lesbian Relationships for us from a parent’s perspective. In part, here is what she said:

Although neither Belge nor Daggett is a parent, for the most part their advice is sound. They first tackle the issues that can arise when you are dating someone who has children. “You gotta like kids,” they observe, but note with honesty, “They don’t have to like you.” Learning to share time and space with children is key for those who suddenly find themselves in a household with them. They advise taking things slowly, and not being hasty to move in or take on a parental role towards your new love’s children.

For the most part, she loved our book. She did have one little quibble, though. In an answer to a quiz about whether or not you’re ready to have children Lipstick wrote:
Oh, dear dyke, you are going to be the PTA Mother of the Year and your child will be a straight-A student and a stellar concert pianist. You’ll raise her well and she’ll go through life with her head high, fighting for her rights as a straight ally.

I guess this hit a sore spot with Mombian. But she does have a good point. Children of queer parents aren’t really our allies, they are part of the LGBT community. Read on.
She’s exaggerating, and that’s fine, but she also makes some potentially offensive assumptions about the children of LGBT parents by calling the one in her example a “straight ally.” Statistically, some children of LGBT parents will not be straight. We should not ignore or marginalize these “second generation” LGBT individuals for the sake of avoiding the old stereotype that homosexual parents always lead to homosexual children. To use the example of a straight child in parallel with being a top student and skilled pianist implies that the opposite would be to be a poor student, with no musical skills—and gay. I don’t think that was Daggett’s intent, but it comes off that way.
Furthermore, many, if not most, of the straight children of LGBT parents do not view themselves as allies, but rather as members of the LGBT community, as Abigail Garner has shown in Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is, and on her blog. “Ally” implies an outsider, however supportive. People who grew up in LGBT households, learning the lingo and the in-jokes, attending Pride marches and other LGBT events, and sometimes bearing the brunt of anti-LGBT prejudice as much as, if not more so, than their parents, deserve to be members of the community in which they were raised. They are “culturally queer,” as Garner puts it, even if they are straight.

Thanks Mombian for the review and a bit of education about our community.

Read the full Mombian Review


Anonymous said...

Did you mean 'quibble' instead of 'quivel?'

Dipstick said...

Oh, that's why it didn't come up in my spell check. Thanks Tracer. I'l fix it now.