“Do You Miss Not Having a Father?”

Australian filmmaker Maya Newell gave one of the best responses I’ve ever seen to the mistaken assertion that all kids need a mother and a father.

Newell, who has two moms, is director of the upcoming documentary Gayby Baby, which I mentioned (with trailer!) a couple of weeks ago. Writing in Australia’s Daily Life, she says that she has often been asked, “Do you miss not having a father?” She observes:

Kids need a mother and a father only so long as we keep those roles quarantined and artificially separated into rigid, airtight compartments. In this day and age it is safe to say that dads have resilience that enables them to do what mums do, and vice versa for mums. . . .

Fortunately, in my house, family is not defined by biology or gender stereotypes.  I have learned this from two mothers that have taught me that women can be whatever they want to be, and that there are countless, exciting and powerful ways to ‘do’ femininity.

The whole piece is a great read—and I’m delighted once again that she’s getting such good publicity for the film.

It’s funny. My own nine-year-old son and I were talking the other day about his teacher’s request that all children bring in a book for a holiday book exchange, and that it be appropriate “for either a boy or a girl.” He said that was silly, since books could be for anyone. He then paused and reflected that perhaps that was why some people didn’t want two women or two men to marry. He explained, “They think that if two men marry, they’ll both go to work and no one will take care of the kids, or if two women marry, they’ll both take care of the kids and no one will earn any money.”

Yup. Much of the opposition to same-sex parents boils down to an inability to come to grips with the women’s equality movement. Kudos to Newell for continuing to highlight that message. It makes opponents of our families look even more behind the times, and gives me hope for the world into which my son will grow.