Senior Noam Dror's parents bring him chicken soup whenever he has a cold. They scold him when his room isn't clean. They nag him to finish his homework and smother him with hugs after a bad day. His two moms have done everything required of caring, loving parents, so when Dror is confronted with awkward stares and raised eyebrows because his parents are gay, he's liable to be a bit upset.
As the controversy over gay parenting continues to grow, Dror and the other 10 million children of gay, lesbian or bisexual parents in the U.S. cannot escape the ignorance and curious questions inherent in the lifestyle. But they stress that, aside from being confronted with prejudice in occasion, their lives are similar to those of children of heterosexual parents.
"I never really noticed the difference"
"He has the coolest parents," says Dror's friend Jake Riley as he leans in over the cafeteria table. The others at the table nod their heads and murmur in agreement. "They were open to the idea," Dror explains, gesturing toward his friends. "It wasn't like it was a big thing."
Introducing a new friend to one's two moms may seem like a daunting task, but Dror insists that embarrassment doesn't factor into the equation; they are his parents, with the same quirks, failings, strange habits and unconditional love as their heterosexual counterparts, he explains.
Freshman Avi Silber has "never really noticed the difference" between his family and families with straight parents despite the fact both his biological parents are gay. Instead of dwelling on the differences, he points out the parallels between his family and families with heterosexual parents. "My biological dad is more like the funny uncle," he notes, recalling the many times that "papa" played hide-and-seek or board games with them. His other father, Art, an ex-Marine, is the disciplinarian.
To differentiate between mothers, Silber calls his biological parent "mom," while the other is called "mima." Chuckling, he explains that his sister mispronounced "ema" (which means `mother' in Hebrew) when she was young. The name stuck.
On a typical afternoon in the Dror household, six Siamese cats rummage around the house and The Simpsons plays quietly in the background while Dror's mothers, Irith and Drorit, fiddle over dinner in the kitchen. In between their quick conversations to one another in fluent Hebrew, both parents describe how their son's everyday lives are the same as anyone else's. "We are a normal family," says Irith.
"We even have a minivan!" exclaims Drorit. "Except I don't know how many other families have six cats!"
Dror says having two moms can be "double the fun," but it can also be double the discrimination. Though instances of overt prejudice are few and far between, according to Silber, there are those who believe parents like Dror's and Silber's are inherently unfit to have children, as evidenced by the political battle over gay rights they are confronted with every time they open a newspaper.
Silber's family has taken action to demand tolerance by appearing on ABC's 20/20 and in YM magazine. He is less inclined to correct students within school walls when they shout "that's so gay" or "you're a fag" across the halls, however; he says rebuking his peers won't evoke a sufficient change in them.
Occasionally, says Silber, he is thrust in situations where he cannot disregard the prejudice around him. During the Students for Global Responsibility debates in December, one student expressed his belief that being gay is a sin. When Silber calmly told the student that his own parents were homosexual, the student was shocked: "You seem so normal!" the student exclaimed.
Recently, one of Dror's teachers made crude comments toward same-sex couples, inciting an angry reaction within most of the class. "He said it was disgusting and nasty," Dror says. Dror was one of the students to march out of the classroom to the main office to recount the event to an administrator. It was Dror's first face-to-face encounter with prejudice.
Proving the theories wrong
The strongest weapons critics of gay parenting wield are the theories about the effects of the lack of one mother and one father. Psychological troubles, they cry. Difficulties socializing. Frustration over sexual identity. All are theories that are unsubstantiated, according to Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE).
For Dror, the only major effect of having lesbian parents is that he has grown up to be "a more accepting and open person" than those not exposed to different lifestyles. His one wish, however, is to get to know a father. "When I hear of a dad throwing a ball with a kid, I think that's something I want…" His voice trails off, but then Dror shakes his head. "But my parents do that too," he adds resolutely.
Melanie Thompson. Melanie Thompson is currently a junior in CAP and a page editor on Silver Chips. She enjoys hot baths, appearing aside famous stars in movies, and watching Agent Vaughn on Alias. A little known fact about Melanie is that she is a huge fan of … More »