Conservative MP David Davies claims “most parents would prefer their child not to be gay”. As a parent, I can only speak for myself but I’d like to think most of us don’t give a shit. Seriously, David. Even those of us who “want grandchildren”. We’re generally educated enough to know that you don’t have to be heterosexual to become a parent and, beyond that, we don’t all hold our children responsible for endlessly continuing the family line. Sod the potential next generation – my kids are complete in themselves.
Of course, my perspective on what “most parents would prefer” will be coloured by the views of those parents with whom I choose to associate. Still, I do have a broader perspective on things – otherwise I’d say “most parents would prefer their child not to be a Conservative MP”. Hell, that’s true of me. I mean, I’d try to be tolerant. I’d still love him and respect his choices. All the same, I fear my Conservative MP son would still see the disappointment in my eyes and it would burn into his soul (that’s if he had one – not that I’m bigoted, despite never having fought and trained with a Conservative boxer).
It’s interesting to consider what might happen were government policy to be based on what “most parents prefer”. To a certain extent it already is. Most parents prefer their children to be more successful than the children of other parents and there are plenty of snide little manifesto promises which pander to this. At heart, though, I suspect what most parents prefer is far simpler than that. They prefer not to see their children suffer. They worry about their children being rejected. They want their children to have the easiest path in life. For some, this might involve hoping your child won’t become the kind of person whom David Davies thinks shouldn’t be permitted to get married. Alas, this is a crap approach to parental aspiration. Even so, I find traces of this in myself, each time I encourage my child not to do something which “might mean the other kids make fun of him”. So far I’ve only done it once – persuaded him not to wear a dress to school on World Book Day – but I fear I’ll do it again. I find the balance difficult. He’s small – I want him to have the short-term gains of easy acceptance. I want to protect him, but I want him to be himself (although ideally not if it involves him becoming a Conservative MP).
Perhaps all of us need to talk to Lara Stone. Pregnant with her first child, the wife of David Walliams has said:
I’d like little gay boys. That would be good. I’m terrified of having a little girl. Girls are more evil than boys. And then they have boyfriends.
See! There is an alternative to wanting non-gay children! Unfortunately it comes in the form of “ironic” misogyny and the fetishisation of cute little non-sexual “gay boys” (who don’t – as far as I can work out – ever “have boyfriends” themselves. It’s all very confusing, really).
I have no idea whom my children will grow up to love. Perhaps one or both of them will be asexual; I have no idea. I’d like to think that in twenty years’ time I won’t be wringing my hands in the kitchen, Victoria sponge and best china at the ready, just waiting for one of my offspring to “bring home someone nice”. I’d like to think I’ll have better things to do and that they will, too. I’d like them to be self-sufficient and not to care too much about what Mummy might prefer. And in return, should the need arise, I’ll gulp down my rising bile at the sight of a blue rosette.