According to the 2011 census, 64,575 is the number of same-sex couple families in Canada and that number has increased in the last 6 years. Given that figure, it is surprising how some people still say the strangest thing to same-sex parents. Even when such peculiar comments are meant well, they can still cause huge offense.
To avoid any conflicts in the future, here are some questions to avoid when talking to same-sex parents:
“Who’s the mom and who’s the dad?”
For many same-sex families, there is no ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ – so it is best to steer away from this question. Also, this question reinforces gender stereotypes, which actually damages all parents, not just same-sex couples.
“Who is the real mom/dad?”
Do you mean to ask “Which mom carried the pregnancy”? Those two questions are very different from each other. Both moms are the “real” moms, both dads are the “real” dads. Do not leave out the possibility that the kid is adopted.
“Do you think your kids will turn out okay?”
Each kid – no matter who raises them or where they are raised – has a chance to be great. Part of it is HOW they are parented, not by WHOM they are parented. Asking this question to same-sex parents is just plain offensive.
“Does your child miss out on doing ‘dad’/’mom’ things?”
‘Dad’ things? ‘Mom’ things? Again, this is leaning towards gender stereotyping. Nowadays, anything can be done by both genders. Male-gendered activities such as throwing a ball, changing a tire, taking care of the lawn – all these can be done by women, and the same goes for female-gendered activities.
“Are you worried that people will tease your kid for having same-sex parents?”
This question has probably crossed the minds of same-sex couples; you don’t need to ask them. However, kids nowadays can be teased by their peers about anything – for wearing glasses, having braces, their choice in clothes, etc. This question might imply that same-sex parents’ kids might be teased because of them – and yes, that is offensive.
“Wow, you are so brave!”
Saying this to someone who fought robbers or saved someone from a burning building makes it a compliment, but not to a couple who had a child. Saying this implies that having a child is such a frightening thing – no one wants to be caught saying that.
Keep in mind that same-sex couples have the equal rights to have children just as much as any other couple. Let us learn to respect all parents – no matter what gender they have.