Robert_Oscar_Lopez_810_500_55_s_c1About two weeks ago, an article passed across my news feed entitled “My mom’s lifestyle was destructive to me” and I’ve been pondering ever since what I wanted to say in reply. It has taken me multiple attempts to even read the whole thing, and I feel great, great sadness each time I try and make it through. My heart goes out to Lopez, because I’m afraid he has no way of bringing his pain and isolation to an end and move on with his life. And that is truly sad.

Maybe I’m giving this article too much credit, and Lopez isn’t nearly as bad off as he paints himself. The article is so formulaic, designed to demonstrate how gay parenting ruins the lives of children raised without a traditional mother and father. Lopez blames his own problems on his mother’s lifestyle. Let’s unpack that a bit.

Lopez makes these assertions:

  • His mother’s lifestyle was destructive
  • His problems were caused by “gay parenting” as it is understood today
  • Science supports his experience

I think part of why I felt a need to write about this, is there are multiple ways I relate to Lopez. Like him, I grew up without a father who was around, and my mother wasn’t at all like a stereotypical traditional mother. In my case, the issue was that my mother was a rage-filled alcoholic. And I spent years and years blaming my problems on my mother’s behavior. It took a lot of therapy and hard work to let go of the blaming and realize I had it all wrong.

Like Lopez I felt like I would just be normal if I had had what it looked like every other kid had. What I’ve come to know is that many kids for as many reasons as you can name, end up feeling damaged, and believing that everyone else has it better. But that is a fallacious idea.

Lopez doesn’t say why his father wasn’t a part of his life, and that is a real shame. He writes:

Even if my peers’ parents were divorced, and many of them were, they still grew up seeing male and female social models.

Where was Lopez’s father? Why wasn’t he  a role model to Lopez?

My father was absent from my childhood too, and as I’ve dissected my childhood to discover where the root of many of my adult issues originated. I have found that my absent father plays a big part. It wasn’t so much that I had no men around. I had boy scout troop leaders and teachers and many who loved me. But, like many kids in similar situations, I wondered what was wrong with me that my father didn’t want to be around me.

Lopez describes a real source of his problems, even though he doesn’t see it, and what he describes isn’t at all what we would call gay parenting today:

Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house.

Because his home life was secret is a source of problem, not the fact that his mom was involved with a woman. Today’s gay parenting isn’tlike that at all. In fact, that’s why the homophobic folks are so outraged. Indeed! Same-sex couples raising kids very publicly! This openness provides children with the same type of home life as other children.

Lopez wasn’t harmed by the way he was raised. He simply parrots the rhetoric of anti-gay zealots like the National Organization for Marriage.

I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.

Maybe at te time he was 19, it seemed so unusual, but in reality it isn’t. In reality kids grow up with a wide array of home/family dynamics. Lopez is sim0ply playing the melodramatic victim card.

As much as I can relate to Lopez in some regards, he lost me completely when he cited a research study that has been discredited as faulty science. In fact the university where the study was done has spoken out against it and acknowledged the ilegitimacy of the research. Regnerus himself admits the study was not about gay parenting. The problems with the study go far beyond how Lopez paints them and are well documented.

The New Family Structures Study fell under intense scrutiny because of these methodical flaws and because it was financed by two conservative groups with ties to the major anti-marriage-equality movement. (Though Regnerus assured his readers and the press that the study’s funders had no hands in designing or producing the study, it would later be learned this was not the full truth.)

This is not to say that Lopez may wish he had grown up in a different type of family, and he can fantasize that if he had had a more traditional mother, everything would be different. But that doesn’t mean it definately would be.



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