Thursday, March 20, 2014

La Joie de Vivre 2:9 -- Kids of Gay Parents Reflect on Same-Sex Parenting, Part 1 of 4



This installment of La Joie de Vivre is Part 1 of a four-part series. In December 2013, three of the most outspoken adults raised by gay parents -- Rivka Edelman, Robert Oscar "Bobby" Lopez, and Dawn Stefanowicz -- conferred for an hour to talk about same-sex parenting. The recording of their voices will be uploaded with graphics as episodes of Rue des Sages, but for now, English Manif is posting the written transcripts of their conversation for people to peruse.

There are some distinctions among Rivka, Bobby, and Dawn that are important to note at the outset. All three grew up with gay parents in the 1970s. Dawn and Rivka, now in their fifties, experienced some of same-sex parenting in the 1960s, while Bobby, in his early forties, experienced same-sex parenting in the 1980s. All three were raised by gay parents in a time when same-sex parenting was not a political phenomenon, and when the gay community was not particularly interested in the experiences of children raised by gay parents. 

Rivka, Bobby, and Dawn are also more educated than the average child of a same-sex couple. Rivka and Bobby both have doctorates in English from highly ranked universities; they are also both professors. Dawn completed her studies in Canada and received her license as an accountant. Since Dawn published Out from Under in 2007, she has been flown around the world, testifying in places like Paraguay; her writing has been translated into languages ranging from Chinese to Portuguese. Likewise, Rivka and Bobby are both published authors.

Rivka at the Well
 The education of these three individuals could be read one of two ways. Perhaps they are atypical of children raised by gay parents. In the Doug Allen study published in 2013, based on 20% of the Canadian census, children raised by same-sex couples had markedly low academic achievement, graduating high school at only 65% the rate of children raised by a mother and father. The only exception to Allen's finding, however, was that boys raised by gay dads fared exceptionally well, finishing high school at a much higher rate than children raised by a mother and father. 

Dawn was raised by a gay father, while Bobby and Rivka were raised by lesbians. Therefore their conversation does not include the fourth category -- a male raised by gay men -- yet the three of them have above-average educational attainment. 

What follows is the unedited words of their three-way discussion.

Each of the four parts of this series represents fifteen minutes of discussion.