Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Gay for a day


A few weeks ago, I looked after a friend's two preschool kids while she was at work. During the day, the kids' colds turned into something more sinister, and when my friend got home we took the kids to the doctor. In the consultation room, my friend and I cuddled a child each, and together answered the doctor's questions. It became clear as we spoke that the doctor thought my friend and I were a couple.

To our pleasant surprise, the doctor was nothing but accepting and kind to us. He didn't look askance at us - in fact, he didn't skip a beat. He was supportive of our assumed joint parenting, involving us both in the conversation about the kids' health, and advising us both on how to care for them.

I'm not naive enough to think the lives of gay and lesbian parents are all smiles and rainbows. Still, I felt buoyed by my experience at the doctor's. I can't help but compare it to twenty-odd years ago, when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was the topic de jour. I was a kid living in Southland, and I still find it unsettling to think back on the dreadful homophobia expressed at this time.

My dad once told me an anecdote from the controversy surrounding the Bill. He'd been listening to talkback radio, and had been stunned by the announcer's ignorance. According to this guy, decriminalising homosexual acts was going to lead to hordes of leering paedophiles at school gates around the country. To illustrate that the announcer wasn't well informed on the issues, my father rang in and asked on air, 'My young daughter is being taught by an openly heterosexual teacher - what should I do?'. Pull her out of school immediately for her own safety, advised the announcer.

Dear oh dear. Homophobia is of course still with us, and is as hurtful as ever for those who are its targets. But to get acceptance and support from a doctor - an authority figure in our society - seems to indicate that, in some quarters at least, social progress has been made. If I'd been a 'real' lesbian, I think it would have made my day.

6 comments:

stephen said...

Anna, where does that image come from? I am in love with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Stephen, where did you get that image?

Signed

A "real" lesbian - and a parent too ...

Anna McM said...

It's one of those images that just get circulated - it appears on one of those faux motivational posters. None of the places I found it had any explanation for where/when it was taken - I can only assume it's a pro-queer person taking the piss out of fundamentalist Christians at some sort of demonstration!

Idiot/Savant said...

According to this guy, decriminalising homosexual acts was going to lead to hordes of leering paedophiles at school gates around the country.

People in Dannevirke still think that:

The brothel would just bring trouble and crime, Mr Taylor said.

"They are offering a gay service as well. Most paedophiles are homosexuals, and you know we don't want to bring that here.


(Oh, and I also love the image...)

Anna McM said...

Dear God. Just when I thought we'd replaced the gay=paedophile thing with some more sophistocated prejudices...

The ex-expat said...

I do wonder though... how would the doctor have reacted if you were male?