Daughters of Gay Moms

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In the last few months, The Federalist has published pieces from two straight-identified daughters of lesbian moms who say their experiences have led them to oppose equal marriage and conclude that their lives could have been better if they had a pair of male/female heterosexual parents.

“Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same,” Heather Barwick writes in “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting.” “But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.”

Brandi Wilson, author of “The Kids Are Not Alright: A Lesbian’s Daughter Speaks Out,” echoed similar sentiments in her piece. “Knowing next to nothing about males is hardly all that was hard about being raised by two women. It probably comes as no surprise that growing up in Podunk, Oklahoma, was not a walk in the park. Unlike other kids who were apparently raised in gay utopias, I grew up very alone and isolated. I was an only child and there weren’t other kids around like me to talk with and relate to. No one I knew understood what I struggled with each day, and I had no option but to keep it all inside.”

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These two women are using their experiences to speak out against equality, despite Heather’s saying she’s a part of us (“Gay community, I am your daughter.”), and conservatives have been sharing these stories and others like them in hopes of gaining traction against marriage and adoption laws in the U.S. But the problem is that simply deciding these women are wrong or enemies of our fight doesn’t do anything to address their actual points, some of which could be valid. Which is why we spoke with four daughters of lesbian moms—both straight-identified and queer—to see how they felt about the assessments Heather and Brandi and others like them have made.

Christi Lincoln says growing up in Texas with her mom and her mom’s partner was definitely not easy.

“I only told a select few that my ‘aunt’ was really my mom’s ‘roommate’ and that she didn’t just come over on the weekend,” Christi said. “I understand there can be stress there. But maybe [Heather’s] mom tried to hide it more than mine. Depending on the friends and support her mom had, maybe she stressed about it a lot more than I had to.”

Erin Judge is also from Texas, and lived with her mother and her female partner from age nine on.

“I kept it secret, and so did my parents,” she said. “But yeah, the homophobia was all around, and I was scared of CPS coming and taking me away. I don’t know if I ever voiced that to my mother, but it was definitely something that caused my young mind a good deal of stress and anxiety. It would’ve been crazy for them to do so, because my mom and her partner took such great care of me. But, I was living in Collin County, where as recently as 2013 a judge ordered a same-sex partner out of the house of a divorced woman with kids.”

“It sounds like being raised in a homophobic environment was very difficult for [Heather], and I feel sad for her,” said Rosevan Vickery. “And anyone like her, that her experiences as a child and as an adult have been feeling excluded, put down, and not listened to by both straight and LGBTQ folks. That’s not been my experience, thankfully.”

One of the biggest points both of The Federalist pieces make against marriage equality is they missed out on having a father. The women interviewed for this piece could understand this wanting.

“I did ache for my dad for a while,” Christi said. “I think most kids who feel some sort of abandonment have more aches than others. I blamed my mom for a long time for keeping him away.”

But Christi didn’t identify with Brandi’s writing how she wished she knew more about men.

“I really don’t understand how that is a hardship. I understand ignorance and misinformation, but I don’t understand how that was a hardship,” Christi said. “It sounds as though she couldn’t even talk to her mom about anything including her feelings or curiosities about life.”

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