My step-brother is gay and has been in a relationship with another man for three years. This year, they started the process to adopt a child. All my family fully supported his decision and we were all very happy and excited for him. However, when my stepbrother’s in-laws heard of the news, they disapproved the decision and stated that children must have a mother. My step-brother’s case shows the two sides of the debate concerning gay adoption: while some people is fighting for gay couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples, others think that this practice should not be allowed since it deprives children from having both male and female role models.
I understand that this topic might seem irrelevant to people who are not gay and want to adopt a child. However, according to UNICEF’s 2011 report on orphans nowadays there are around 153 million orphans in the world. The lives of many of these children can improve if different countries around the world implement laws allowing gay couples to adopt. Thus, to consider that this topic concerns the rights and well-being of millions of people, including gay couples and orphans around the world, can help us realize the magnitude of the topic in question.
In fact, The Washington Post reports that, although each country carries its own laws for gay adoption, the number of countries where gay couples are legally allowed to adopt has noticeably increased over the last few years. The report also provides the two main reasons why courts are increasingly recognizing gay parenting. First, there is no data that supports the claim that children raised by gay parents fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples. The second reason is that experts have found out that denying gay partners the right to joint custody with a gay partner contributes to create a legal regime in which millions of children have one legal parent and one legal stranger.
In Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, well-known Communication Studies researcher Dr. Julia T. Wood states that each society has a generalized other, which is the general notion that a person has regarding the common values, understandings, and expectations held by others in a society. In the majority of cultures, heterosexuality is the “normal” sexual orientation. For this reason, most societies tend to give privileges to heterosexuals and disfavor people with other sexual orientations, for example by denying gay couples the opportunity to adopt a child. Dr Julia T. Wood also points out that societal groups generalized others’ views are arbitrary and therefore must be challenged when unproductive. People and organizations that resistance to values of societies’ generalized others that are unfair, such as The International Gay Lesbian Rights Commission, promote change and prosperity in society. For example, CNN reports that although the progress is slow, there has been a great deal of progress in the granting of rights to gays in the United States.
In conclusion, it is important to notice that a society generalized other is arbitrary and ongoing, and therefore can be modified. Thus, even though there are many perspectives of the generalized other of our society that we do not share or approve, we can challenge them and change them. If gay couples would have not fought to challenge society’s views on sexual orientation in the past, nowadays my brother would not be able to adopt a child. Thus, by modifying rigid values of our society that are unfair we help ourselves, the society as a whole, and future generations in creating a humanity where everyone is accepted for who they are.