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Monday, April 21, 2008

Children 

I often read, and sometimes write, posts on b3ta.com's question of the week. This week's subject has been "kids" with the intention that people leave amusing stories about themselves as children or about children they know.

Most of the stories have been along those lines and have been very funny as well. There have, however, been the odd one or two posts that have been about people's choices to not have children because "the world is too populated". These posts have resulted in arguments.

That led me to question my own choice to remain childless and I thought I would dump that train of thought here.

Many people would think that being gay was enough of a barrier to having children however I do know of several gay men who are fathers. Some fathered children before they had accepted their own sexuality. Others have entered into arrangements to produce children and some have adopted.

I don’t want to adopt and I don’t want to get to know a lesbian with a turkey baster. I don't actually think I would want children even if I were straight.

Why?

Basically, I don't think I would be a good father.

I didn’t get on all that well with my own father when I was a kid. He wasn’t abusive in any way. He didn’t really relate to children that well. With my mother I knew I was loved and wanted but not with my father. There was always some distance.

Whether this was because I was a late baby (both my parents were 43 when I was born) or because their marriage was fraying at the edges by the time I arrived, is anyone’s guess. Whatever the reason I think my Dad possibly resented my arrival at such a point in his life.

I didn’t really understand my father until long after his death when I discovered that not only did I look like him but, to a great extent, I behave and think like him as well. Indeed, apart from me being gay, I could be a clone of my father.

This is one of the reasons I think I would be a bad father.

I know that a child would grate enormously in my life and that I would probably resent its presence. Worse, I know that I probably would be as cold a father as my Dad was to me. I wouldn’t want to wish that on anyone.

Of course, knowing or thinking you would be a bad father hasn't stopped other people breeding. The difference with me and with other gay people and with people who want to adopt is that we have to make some sort of effort to bring children into our lives.

We're not like rutting chavs dropping kids left right and centre just because we couldn't keep our tracksuits on.

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