Trans v Ultra-Orthodox

A judge has ordered that a trans woman should never see her children, because their Orthodox Jewish “community” would ostracise them.

The fact that made the judge refuse contact for the trans father with her children may be that J, the father, still wants her children to be brought up as ultra-orthodox. The judge recognises all the reasons why it would be good for the children to see their father, and the list is heartbreaking. They have an irreplaceable relationship, a right to family life, they want it and not having it will be deeply distressing causing a deep sense of loss; the children will resent the injustice that their community deprived them of contact, and that deprivation is discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment; the children’s sense of identity and self worth will be affected if their father is treated as a sinner, unworthy to see them; they won’t know if J is well or ill; they will not get to know or understand J, as the “community” will denigrate her; depriving her of contact is similar to adoption, cutting her out of their lives; if they have contact now, they might get some experience of the outside world, some chance at being able to make their own choices; they may never be able to choose to see their father, even as adults; contact now means that professional help is available; the court has ordered that the father send four letters a year, but the community may prevent even that. It is an appalling list.

Against the father having contact, the court counts the extreme pressure she has been under, which may make her upset in front of the children. That is Kafkaesque. If they saw her upset, they might see how transition helped her, and how she overcame her difficulties. However the judge says that indicates caution but would not by itself prevent contact.

The father’s lawyers argued that the schools should obey the law. If they did so, teaching tolerance and respect, attitudes might change. The judge disapproves of the schools, and will send the judgment to the Department for Education. I hope some attempt may be made to enforce the law on them.

The judge had hoped that a “warm, supportive” community would support children’s need to see their father. When he pointed out that the evidence had dire warnings of ostracism but no examples, the mother’s lawyers produced statements showing that child victims of sexual abuse had been ostracised. He told them he did not think they could be that monstrous, and they desperately scrambled to prove that yes, they were.

Even though he heard evidence that Jewish law could tolerate trans people, he accepted that this particular community could not. The community is proved to disregard justice, and the welfare of the children. The community all say they will continue their discrimination and victimisation. The father accepts the community is like that, but hope it can be made to change, but even educated people are unyielding and there is no evidence anyone in authority in the community wishes it to change.

The judge recognises that sexuality and gender are not a matter of choice. Trans folk have a right to be recognised and respected as such. “Sin” is irrelevant to law. The children could adapt to their father’s change, but the adults involved could not. The children would be taught in the community that their father was a sinner, and in the outside world that she was an acceptable person. They could never speak of their father to their friends. It would put too much pressure on them. It is too wide a gulf for them to bridge. They would have no support: everyone would take the community line. They might be ejected.

The judge says, I have reached the unwelcome conclusion that the likelihood of the children and their mother being marginalised or excluded by the ultra‐Orthodox community is so real, and the consequences so great, that this one factor, despite its many disadvantages, must prevail over the many advantages of contactThis outcome is not a failure to uphold transgender rights, still less a “win” for the community, but the upholding of the rights of the children to have the least harmful outcome in a situation not of their making.

In the locker room

The trans girl is in the girls’ locker room, in a cubicle with a curtain for privacy. Should the curtain be closed? Whose decision should that be?

The child retains her penis. Some teenagers can have puberty blockers- not without risk, but less risk than true-gender hormones, less final than surgery. She might want to be private about that, or no more private than the other girls, just getting changed together.

She might be less risk than a lesbian for staring at the other girls and getting aroused, if arousal is thought to be a risk to the cis girls. Androphile trans women claim they are more likely to transition young than us gynephiles. The trans girl is as attracted to boys as the other girls in the locker room. Teenagers have to learn to cope with not acting on arousal, both boys and girls.

Does she breach the other girls’ privacy?

There seem to be two principle risks in the minds of the transphobes: that the trans girl herself will assault other girls, or someone will pretend to be trans in order to get access to girls. But being trans is not necessarily attractive to girls. Judge us for what we do, not for what someone fears we might do. The hard right’s need to “protect” girls from people like me is a threat to me. People can get violent if they feel a need to “protect children”.

Whose decision should that be? The girl’s, herself. If she does not want to show her penis to the other girls, she should be entitled to her privacy. Forcing her to close the curtain, as if she were a threat, is harmful to her wellbeing, as her mother said.

Illinois school district 211 kept their federal funding, $6m of it. All the school pupils who spoke out, spoke in the trans girl’s favour. On other websites you will read what “Americans for everything Americans love” or whatever they call themselves- they would not call themselves “Transphobic Bullies Against Trans girls”- said. Ooh, ooh, they said something horrible! You will not read that here. You can imagine it. You know it’s bullying rubbish.

Her mother wrote, We knew that a big factor in whether our daughter would be fully accepted by her peers was whether the High School would treat her as a girl in all respects. If she was segregated, forced to use separate facilities, it would signal to others that it was acceptable to treat her differently. Not everyone would, of course- only the bullying cowards.

Trans children are normal and well-adjusted, if allowed to transition socially: see this research. This is International Women’s Day.

transgender penis tucked bikini yacht

Pink gendering

I am growing: I write about this differently from how I would have two days ago.

I was with parents of small children discussing potty-training, general stuff. A mother notices how rigidly gendered toys are: an art easel is either pink or blue, for goodness’ sake. Why can’t it be wooden, and wood-coloured? Fortunately, — is quite happy playing with “boy’s” or “girl’s” toys. At school, another child mocked his pink shirt, and he said, “Don’t you know, real men wear pink?” Wonderful, repartee in a six year old.

On the Tube, a woman gets on with a man and a girl. The woman clutches a cuddly toy penguin, a cuddly toy Santa, and a three foot high helium balloon with a picture of Disney’s Snow White on it.  She loses grip of Snow White, and the balloon hits the ceiling. I catch her eye and grin. “Nightmare,” she says. She pulls it down and it sticks out across the aisle to her daughter, who is sitting forward in the seat despite being told to sit back: as I watch, she caresses the plasticky surface of her balloon.

The thing I would not have written, would not have admitted, is that I was staring at that balloon with great interest and a mix of emotions. I notice the full petticoats and the shape of the pose. It is a symbol for the child, but also for me.

I absolutely agree that there is more than one way to be a girl, and that heavily stereotyped and limiting roles for girls are a bad thing: but not that Pink Stinks. By all means produce wooden easels, and encourage girls to play with chemistry sets and join the school debating team; but leave Disney Princesses alone, for me and those like me.

On the train, crowded with people standing, a man explained that there was one fewer carriage than there should be. Just to make conversation, what are you doing for Christmas? His sons are joining him. He does not know what men in their thirties have in common with him: they have all these electronic devices, and he does not understand them at all. He got off, and three women got on. I stared admiringly at one, in a long-haired fake fur pelt and a narrow headband with a row of fake pearls (large and quite spherical) surrounded by glittery stuff. The woman beside me wore a Christmas red jumper with a cartoon reindeer face on it. I commented that not everyone could carry a headband like that off, but she does, beautifully. The woman in the jumper agreed. They are off on a works night out, to see the musical Matilda and have dinner. She forgot the champagne- it was in her fridge chilling and everything. I condole. What work do you do? They work in a bank- she hopes that does not bore me, she apologises. No, not at all.

I have been in jeans too long. Sod comfort and fashion, I am wearing skirts more.

Snow White

Ryland

Artemisia Gentileschi, SusannaOooh look! A trans boy!

Katy commented, and her acolyte Pruett led me to this post with hundreds of comments. Lindsay writes that she was a tomboy as a child, and preferred “boy-things”, her friends were boys, but now she is happy as a wife and mother, who likes DIY (“man thing”) as well as nice clothes (“woman thing”) and therefore shows rigid division into male or female activities or ways of reacting or anything is ridiculous. And so is the phenomenon of transsexualism.

Then all Katy’s regulars, and hundreds on Lindsay’s post, showed off their writing ability, reasoning skills, empathy and common sense to a greater or lesser extent, all shaking their heads and expatiating on one of two main themes:

1. The parents are monsters, torturing their child for their own nefarious purposes, seeking notoriety perhaps, or being “liberal”, and the child could not possibly imagine herself to be a boy unless tortured by monsters; or

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant2. The parents are idiots, letting the child follow a silly whim.

There is an intermediate position- the child had a silly whim, and the monster-parents are forcing “her” to go through with it, but it all boils down to, “Of course she’s a girl!!! How could it be otherwise? Transition is kooky and wacky and completely wrong and NO GOOD CAN COME OF IT.” Few suggest that the child, the parents, and any other involved adult, are doing their best and might have some idea how best to live their own lives. Katy has met the parents of a trans child, and can accept that the woman she has met might be doing her best, but not the mother she has not met, who is obviously a “trendy crusade junkie”.

Yet I, and thousands of others, go about our normal pursuits, transitioned.

Yesterday I mentioned Miriam, and her trans-exclusionist argument. It makes some sense. Some might say it was a valid argument. It appears to hang together. So I say to Miriam’s TERF friend,

 I don't care.

So she says to me “In saying that you are a typical trans, an M-T, you insult all women, you insult all women who have ever been victimised by the Patriarchy and you are part of the Patriarchy and you are the tool of the Patriarchy and the weapon of the Patriarchy against all women and you are using the Patriarchy to oppress women and perpetuating Rape Culture…” and I say

 I don't care.

And I go about my ordinary life, using women’s loos and changing rooms, and going to the lesbian weekend. Bit scared, even though they have said they accept lesbians who are trans women. Still going.

It’s all different world views. Take Tim, who has accumulated this vast store of argument to make the Bible literally true and inerrant, and in doing so has ripped out its poetry and metaphor and story. I debated with him far longer than I should have. Too much effort and too little chance of success. We might seem to be using words to communicate and argue logically, but we are not. Not really. He hears mine through his worldview and refutes it to his own satisfaction. There is nothing for me to say but

 I don't care.

Love and kisses to all. May God bless you and keep you and make God’s face to shine upon you, and give you peace.

Language

van Gogh- Olive trees 1I met my neighbour today. He saw me bringing my wheelie-bin in, and followed me. So I went in my back door, and he stood on the mat, looking in, making wordless sounds. I told him he could come in if he wanted. This is my bicycle. He tapped the light, which was just below head-height on him. Then his grandmother came round after him, and called him out, scolding him, and apologising to me.

-He asked, and I said ‘yes’, I said, to excuse him.
-Sorry, no speak English, she said. At least she wasn’t accusing me of being a pervert.

His toys, a beautiful big lorry and an ambulance, were on a rug outside, as it was so warm, with his older sister’s tricycle.

At the bus stop, a lad was complaining about someone else at the college. “He said, ‘you said “Death be upon you!”‘ That’s stupid, fam. He doesn’t understand Arabic, he doesn’t have a clue, fam. My dad speaks Arabic.

“You could tell him anything! You could tell him Bismillah [in the Name of God] meant anything you like, and he would believe you. If you say Salaam Aleikum he says Salaam Aleikum.” Rather than van Gogh- Olive trees 2Wa-aleikum O-salaam, or indeed Slamakum- well, “Goodbye” is contracted from God be with you, then further to ‘bye. That was the first time I was aware of Muslims locally, there is a large Hindu temple on Victoria St and when it has come up Asians have been Hindu.

Not sure about the word “fam”. I guessed it meant something like calling a friend Family, close friend I can trust: to my mind, a need to keep telling someone “I trust you” implies something else, and also implies that those guys over there can’t be trusted, it’s just you an me, bro.

How do you spell ‘bide’? asked the child. Mmm. It is an odd word for a child, a bit archaic, dialecty, not a word I thought he would get in primary school. “As in I buy a toy”. Oh, it’s “bought”. Yes, it is a bit odd for a verb. I remember my nephew saying “goed”, when just learning to speak: he knew the general rule, and applied it.

There was a pong from the landfill, which is 2km away. You only smell it when the wind is in the right direction, but that is the prevailing wind. There used to be a pong from the chicken factory. I remember the Coupar Angus chicken factory, the smell of guts and death: far better to live the other side of Marsby.

Towards a meeting of minds

Avenue_of_Plane_Trees_near_Arles_Station (2)Children have a right not to be brought up by gay couples, because children suffer loss by not having connection with both biological parents.

Well. Children are separated from one or both biological parent in the cases of sterility of one heterosexual partner and artificial insemination, or by divorce, or death. Loss of connection with biological parents is no more an argument against gay parenting than against all infertility treatment.

There is a separate argument about whether children have a right to be brought up by opposite sex parents, for whatever reason. Well, my mother “wore the trousers” in their relationship, but I would rather exist than not- given the range of parenting situations, it is wrong to restrict only gay couples from having children, by legislation or by social shaming, by punishment or by restricting access to medically assisted fertility.

Research into gay parenting is unclear, not proving definitively that children of gay couples have as good outcomes as children of straight couples; and if their outcomes were worse, whether that was a result of prejudice against the parents, rather than a bad experience of family life. Problems include the paucity of research subjects, and lack of funding. In the absence of long term large scale quantitative studies, small scale qualitative studies provide useful evidence, if not definitive proof.

Given that Western society restricts parenting in only the most extreme situations, with social workers ready to take the baby from certain unfit mothers, there is no ground to restrict gay parenting unless it could be proved to be harmful. The onus of proof is on those who would restrict gay parenting.

Askme argued that there is insufficient research to show gay parenting is not harmful. In this post Violetwisp argues that separation from biological parents is not a good ground to restrict gay parenting, and provides a forum for two sides to meet. You may detect a tincture of sarcasm in her post. Do have a look. It seems to me that Askme is right on her narrow point that available research does not yet prove that gay parenting Avenue_of_Plane_Trees_near_Arles_Station (centre)produces at least equal outcomes, but Violet is right on the wider point that this gives no ground for restricting gay parenting.

So, we talk past each other.

This is an emotive subject, and the argument descends. The first comment gives an example of a parent whose insanity has taken the form of religious extremism. It is not, by itself an argument against religious people being allowed to be parents- insanity can take many forms- though there is such an argument, in that religious people often inculcate beliefs in their children which are harmful. So- arguments by religious people for restricting parenthood can simply be derailed by saying religious people should not be parents- even if the religious people are not making specifically religious arguments.

What brought me to post on this? “Hewhoshallnotbenamed”. He widens the argument onto gay marriage and gay parenting in general, making sweeping assertions including Homosexuality is an error. All species driving primary imperative is to reproduce and no one has produced any evidence to support Homosexuality being aligned with that goal. That makes me want to start railing, with sarcasm, rhetorical questions, dismissal and mockery. Any chance for a meeting of minds has gone.

I have drafted and redrafted this post, teasing out the disputes and arguments. There is certainly a place for encouraging our own side by stating the arguments and deriding the opposition. How much more difficult it is, to hear the opponent’s arguments and argue courteously.

Choosing the ground of an argument- what research shows, on whom should be the onus of proof, do children need caregivers of both sexes, is homosexuality natural- can give tactical advantage in arguing, but shifting the ground of argument just distances the parties further.

In my own comments there, I notice myself unconsciously alluding to particular grounds of argument with a brief summary of my side. This makes an argument against me either appear tedious and plodding, teasing out all the questions and answering them, or appear to fail to answer my points. I can express myself clearly and elegantly, but that requires effort.

Avenue_of_Plane_Trees_near_Arles_Station

Christmas

Opening the presents

First, a Poem:Adjusting the balls

Please give way to the cyclist, cos the cyclist is me
I’m a squishy, breakable cyclist, and I don’t want to die you see
It’s fun to be a cyclist, in the sun with the wind behind-so-
Please give way to the cyclist, if you don’t mind.

Please give way to the motorist, if you don’t want your frame all bent.
I don’t want to deal with the paperwork, but I don’t mind a scratch or dent
The roads have a plague of cyclists, all getting in the way-so-
Please give way to the motorist, if that’s okay.

H meets me off the train, having taken an hour to drive to the station. The rain is lashing down, and the forecast is worse storms, but people have still got their last shopping. At home, I meet her cats, who are completely gorgeous, and welcome me in. I love to be sat on. Then they jump off, busily opening the presents and rearranging the tree decorations.

Best present for the child, 7, is a motorised ballerina. Press the button and her tutu spins round like the rotor of a helicopter. Up she goes, bounces off the ceiling with her rubber head, drops about two yards then moves upwards again. Her arms out, she rotates in a stately manner against the direction of her skirt. I would love a skirt like that: I have the legs for it! So has C, now 15, in a skirt which looks like a belt: her mother told her she could only wear it with opaque tights, but after I tell her with her black eyeliner she looks like a Goth, her legs are bare. She got an iPad Air, which means she can be completely sociable and ignore all the people around her. She is Snapchatting, a selfie with every text: another social media site I had not heard of.

If the ballerina is knocked off the vertical, she becomes unstable and falls. “Don’t fly it under the light!” says Daddy, with greater emphasis on the DON’T each time. I am unsure. When it breaks, how much upset will there be? Once you watch it going up and down, how much more excitement can you get from it? It is lovely for me, though, spending a day with the toys. She brings out her hamsters, with their black eyes, and H and I cuddle and coo over them. They have hollow plastic globes: put one in, and it can scuttle round the floor and not get stepped on, or escape. The balls are more fun than motorised toys, but they have to be put away before Granny comes, who does not like little mammals.

I have been coming here for ten years, after my father did not want me there after his marriage. I met H at a dinner my trans email support group held, to mark the death of one of us who had killed herself after she transitioned and could no longer see her children.

Encounters at Buddhafield

campsite

After a hot and sweaty ceilidh,Tara I am standing outside the marquee with my wig in my hand, and a small girl approaches me. She could not be more than six.

-Is that a wig? I say, yes, it is.
-Why do you wear a wig? I show my pate- very little hair grows there.

“Put it on,” she says, definitely, imperatively. “Now, a boy might kiss you.” She turned away, leaving me, well, awestruck.

“41 is a prime number” announced a high, clear voice. How old is he? I asked his aunt Lucy, whose tent was near mine. I had approached her for a chat, and we had chatted easily of life and stuff. She spent days cycling here. “Five in three months’ time,” she said. “His father’s a mathematician.”

When I told that to R, she disapproved: we pump children so full of information, nowadays. Though she was reading very early. I was impressed at his ability to take in such a complex concept. Earlier I had watched him climb onto the canvas of the bell tent, stretching the guy ropes. Initially he was leaning on the guy, then straddling it, then finally climbing on the canvas, looking over at Lucy and me, three yards away. When he was lying on the canvas, feet off the ground, she told him authoritatively not to climb on it. She explained she needed to sleep there, and did not want the tent pulled down. And when he reached out to touch the guy rope, later, looking over at her, she told him not to. “I wasn’t climbing on it,” he said. No, but we need to sleep there.

Boundaries tested, boundaries stated, all beautifully done. How difficult to raise a child! I still don’t feel ready for that effort. It feels that my emotions would be too quickly engaged in the No. As I had breakfast at my tent, I listened to a man tell his son The Truth, addressing him as “Son”- the fatherly fount of wisdom- and then saw that the boy had indeed gone to lie in the sleeping-place as threatened, and the father had to tell his wife The Truth. And she told him The Truth.

Then there was Finch, whom I saw in his sling, and wondered at how small he is; then we knelt in the women’s space tent for a workshop, and cooed over him. Hands! Toes! Face! He was seven days old when the camp started. So tiny! He was eight pounds when he was born, a good weight- but babies grow so quickly, one rarely sees one that young.

They’re all boy, aren’t they? I said, admiring, and we talked of how difficult that can be. In a workshop, the facilitator referred once to choosing a partner and working with “him or her”. At the end, when she asked for “challenges”, I said this challenged me, as it excluded me. I am both, and neither. We talked of it, after. I think I let her off too lightly- gender binary is all-pervasive in our culture, and I was at pains to point out that it was not her I objected to, but the cultural assumption, and that her workshop was wonderful. I did not make clear enough that dividing people into “man” and “woman” oppresses both, and that anyone may choose to distance self from it.

Moral objections

File:Cressida - Edward J. Poynter.jpg

Is there any moral difference between someone having a moral objection to homosexual behaviour, perhaps religiously based, and someone simply hating queers? No.

The hater needs human beings to despise. It makes him feel better about himself. Many “Christians” who are particularly vocal about homosexuality fall into this group.

If he surrenders his moral objection to gay lovemaking, will he have also to surrender his objection to sex with animals, children, or corpses? No. People over the last fifty years have surrendered their moral objection to black men having sex with white women. However loudly they protested that this was Moral rather than hate-based, we now think such a moral position merely prejudiced.

Also, there is a difference between gay lovemaking and sex with corpses. It unites two people in Love, which is the primary purpose of the sexual act in human beings: we make love when we are infertile, we make love far more than we make babies. Baby-making is essential, but not everyone has to do it. Not every straight woman who has sex has children. 

Gay sex is morally objectionable if it is oppressive, just as straight sex is, for example sex with children.

What about the results of gay sex, the spreading of disease? But straight sex spreads disease too. Perhaps unsafe and promiscuous sex might be argued to be morally objectionable on the ground of its outcomes, but not gay sex per se. And, as straight promiscuous sex carries the risk of unwanted pregnancies, straight promiscuous sex is actually more morally objectionable than gay promiscuous sex, from the point of view of outcomes.

What of a Bible-based objection? It is a delusion. It has no moral value. Some of the clobber passages are translated to mean a wider range of behaviour than the original justifies. Others are ridiculous. Gay people an abomination who should be stoned? Well? Should we stone people to death, or not? Idolising the Bible above the needs of human beings, that is the immoral act.

_____________________________________________________________

I have no partner at the moment, and I am not thinking of marrying. So why do I believe equal marriage the most important thing for LGBT folk to campaign for? Because it is the strongest symbol, now, of our equality. Because the State will collude in the celebration and support of our relationships on an equal footing with those of straights. Because the haters find it sair to thole, and are campaigning strongly against it. Because greater equality will follow. Because there is no good ground to oppose it, and many Conservative arguments in favour, about helping people be happier, more productive members of society. File:Charlotte and Susan Cushman - Romeo Juliet 1846.jpgBecause it catches the imagination of straight allies. Because it is simple to achieve and costs nothing- a one line Act of parliament will make it. Because the only people who oppose it are homophobes.

Because it is coming, and coming soon, and we can make it come more quickly.

_____________________________________________________________

I went to the top deck of the bus, and then thought, this is the bus the schoolchildren get. Should I go downstairs? I decided not to, though I was the only adult here. After they got on, I heard voices from the back- “That’s a tranny.” “A tranny, there, at the front.” One came forward to have a look, and I smiled at her. They did not bother me particularly. They are good kids round here.

That is my main argument for work on equal marriage. We need to win equality battles. Any equality battle won makes all our lives better. This is one we can win.

Evidence

Brueghel Jan - Heilige Familie in einem Blumen und FrüchtekranzThe American Medical Association has declared that

the conclusions by the leading associations of experts in this area reflect a consensus that children raised by lesbian or gay parents do not differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents.

I found that here. Debate over. Thank God, we can be left in peace, and possibly even permitted to marry like normal folks. However, here is a claim that “a study reveals that kids fare worse in same-sex households”, here is a claim that “a study suggests that traditional marriage promotes child welfare” and here is an assertion that the AMA’s claim “cannot be supported scientifically”, based on this article by Loren Marks. Oh, and here is a woman who has gay friends, but who when she wants to pluck from the air an example of sin, just happens to pick on homosexuality.

What should be compared? A straight couple who stay together throughout their child’s adolescence may produce better outcomes for the child than a gay couple adopting a child, but the true comparison is a straight couple adopting a child. And a gay woman having a child and having a partner should be compared to a lone parent who finds a new partner. So Loren Marks’ criticism of comparing with lone parent families is unjustified. They are the proper comparator. The “Marriage-based intact family” is increasingly rare.

Possibly a marriage-based intact family is the best environment for a child. This does not mean that public shaming should be used against other groups, or that parents who “stay together for the sake of the children” do not screw up their kids worse than loving gay couples. And my AMA quote does not refer to marriage based intact families, only to “heterosexual parents”.

Then, studies before 2000 generally used educated, high-earning lesbian couples as the homosexual parents. This is because they were the gay couples who could parent children. Also, there are no longitudinal studies of children brought up by gay parents, compared to equivalent straight couples, dealing with adolescent issues, educational attainment and salary at age 30. That is because it has been extremely difficult to live in a loving gay relationship in the 1970s, let alone bring up a child: 1% of couples in the 2000 US census were gay. As Loren Marks states, Southern California is not typical of the US. Well, go find a sample from rural Alabama, then. She criticises the small sample sizes. Qualitative research generally has small samples.

Then she describes a study by Sarantakos, from 1996 where children were assessed by teachers. 54 children of married couples, 54 of cohabiting couples, and 54 of gay couples were assessed, and the gay couples’ children came bottom in eight of nine categories. The APA has reasons to discount this study, and I am not aware of all of the reasons. Sarantakos published a book in 2000 on Same Sex Couples, stating:

children of homosexual parents report deviance in higher proportions than children of (married or cohabiting) heterosexual couples.

Brueghel Jan - Der GesichtsinnI would be interested to know the incidence of bullying of those children. This is my fall-back position: how would the children of gay couples fare in a society without prejudice? We cannot know.

Loren Marks refers to childrearing outcomes of concern to society:

intergenerational poverty, collegiate education and/or labor force contribution, serious criminality, incarceration, early childbearing, drug/alcohol abuse, or suicide

whereas the studies of gay couples’ children have considered such matters as emotional functioning, which generally affects these outcomes, or sexual orientation, necessary to refute a Scare story of the oppressors.

Her main criticism is that the studies are not large enough positively to support the statement that there is certainly no difference, rather than the much weaker statement that no difference has actually been found. Loren Marks gives a counsel of perfection. Yes, a larger longitudinal study considering outcomes would be of value. However, it would be difficult to find a representative sample, and costly. She asks:

 Did any published same-sex parenting study cited by the 2005 APA Brief (pp. 23–45) track the societally significant long-term outcomes into adulthood? No. Is it possible that “the major impact” of same-sex parenting might “not occur during childhood or adolescence…[but that it will rise] in adulthood?

This is mere scaremongering. It is no argument for the societal prejudice against gay couples, and their legal restrictions, which are the problem and not the solution.

Here is Loren Marks’ conclusion:

Are we witnessing the emergence of a new family form that provides a context for children that is equivalent to the traditional marriage-based family? Even after an extensive reading of the same-sex parenting literature, the author cannot offer a high confidence, data-based “yes” or “no” response to this question.

She does not know. And so where that Catholic priest claims the APA statement has been “debunked”, Loren Marks’ article does not support his claim.

Of course I have an interest here. We do not know how children would fare, brought up by gay couples in a land without prejudice. That is an argument for eliminating prejudice, not for restricting child-rearing.

Being no more qualified than that priest to read scientific literature, and not having the time to read the studies themselves, I am reduced to the argument from authority. However, I think the support of the AMA and two APAs make a very strong argument from authority.

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