'Gayby boom': Children of gay couples speak out
CNN -- Jesse Levey is a Republican activist who says he believes in family values, small government and his lesbian mothers' right to marry. Levey is part of the "gayby boom" generation. The 29-year-old management consultant is the son of a lesbian couple who chose to have a child through artificial insemination. He's their only child.
Critics of same-sex marriage say people such as Levey will grow up shunned and sexually confused. Yet he says he's a "well-adjusted heterosexual" whose upbringing proves that love, not gender, makes a family.
It damages the children, says Dale O'Leary, author of "One Man, One Woman: A Catholics Guide to Defending Marriage." She says that all children have a natural desire for a parent of each gender. But children of same-sex couples are forced to repress that desire because their parents won't accept it, she says. Their parents won't acknowledge their children's needs because they don't want to admit that they have caused their children to suffer.
O'Leary says she doesn't personally know any same-sex parents or their children. That's the problem, some children of same-sex children say. So many people are talking about them; not enough are talking to them, they say.
Some gayby boomers say they are tired of hearing that their family isn't legitimate. It's an argument many have heard since they were children. They learned that they didn't fit the definition of the "right" family, and worried how others would react if they found out about their parents.
The result: the children of same-sex couples often lived lives that were more closeted than their parents. "Many of us were so closeted that we didn't know others like us were out there," says Danielle Silber, a 26-year-old fundraiser for the International Rescue Committee, who was raised by lesbian mothers and gay fathers in Takoma Park, Maryland.
"In middle school, because of pervasive homophobia and taunting, I didn't tell any of my new friends in school about my family to the point where I wouldn't invite them to my birthday parties," Silber says. Silber says she didn't tell her parents about her fear of harassment because she was afraid to stand up for her family in school even though she was proud of them.
"Although I would normally turn to my family, I couldn't because I was ashamed that I was ashamed of them," she says.
Shame has now turned to pride for some gayby boomers. Many are now adults. They're writing memoirs, searching one another out online and have even formed their own support and advocacy group.
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4 days ago