Nothing in my last post should be read to imply that having children is a necessary part of having a “rich life” for gay people. That’s it for us, and that came about when I underwent a divorce, and then when I worked for the subsequent years with my children, as they grew older, so that I could be a gay man with children and they could be children with a gay father. As is sometimes the way with these things, my children—a boy and a girl—grew up and became an adult man and an adult woman who eventually got married and had their own children and so, by that time, my partner and I, who had found each other about the time our children became adults, became grandparents. This was at a time when having children seemed to be a relatively transgressive thing to do and didn’t seem like anything we were trying to foist off on any other set of people. In fact, the way we got here—finding ourselves gay grandparents with children—seemed at the time like the last thing anybody should do if they wanted to be assimilated into either the gay or the straight communities.
One of the cool things is that I have never lost my sense of gays as transgressive people, which they were when I was first dealing with them, a sense that I have carried right up through Adam in the Morning, my book on the Stonewall Riots. We were always fighting some oppressive force, and if, in my own case, these oppressive forces were also trying to keep me from having children, well, at least I had already learned how to fight them, and to win.
One has to eventually impose oneself on one’s culture, not the other way around. In another context, having children might be the absolutely least transgressive thing a person could do. But in my context it was the most transgressive. Now, to bring all this back full circle, I have my being gay to thank for that. I think, for many people, having children grounds them firmly in their culture. For me, and since I am gay, it grounds me firmly in rebellion against my culture.