Menagerie Menagerie Feature

Strokes of a colorful childhood

With the spirit of queer freedom, same-sex parenting is a distinct force in breaking the heteronormative tradition of building a family.

As children, we panicked whenever we’d realize that the color we needed was missing from the box of crayons we held so near and dear to our hearts. If we envisioned the outline of a sun to be filled in with bright and cheerful yellow, then it just had to be yellow. No other color on the spectrum would suffice.

As we journey through life, however, there comes a point in time where we realize that no matter what color a crayon is—they all color just the same. Life teaches us that there are many dimensions to everything we see. Sure, we might not understand all the dimensions, but they exist nonetheless. The sun being yellow is only one part of the whole truth of its existence. The sun can also be orange—or even red. But regardless of the color of the sun, we know the sun to be just what it is—the sun. The same can be said with human beings.

Different colors for different folks

The concept of same-sex parenting is something many would prefer not to acknowledge. But as society is beginning to become more accepting of same-sex relationships, people must acknowledge the real possibility of those relationships progressing into one in which a child is involved.

Some same-sex couples would want to start their own families. Such is the case with couple Nathanael Batang and Kayron Chang. Having been in a relationship for two years, they “definitely” see raising a child together as a very likely future endeavor, confident that the parenting approach of same-sex couples could bring something new to the table. The way they see it, the spirit of freedom that is instilled in their somewhat defiant attitude toward what society deems “normal” or “acceptable” will shape the human being that they might possibly take under their wings and raise as their own.

“They would have a strong backbone, they [wouldn’t] easily be pushed or persuaded to follow a path that they do not believe in,” they explain. In a world where society plays a huge role in shaping people, Nathanael and Kayron see “being true to oneself” and “not allowing anyone or anything to dictate who he or she can become or achieve” as some of the core principles they want to impart to their future child.

Outside the lines

With each step taken by society, discrimination and hatred still exists in the space between. Society still continues to frown upon non-heteronormative identities and behaviors such as  same-sex couples raising a family. Though the circumstances don’t exactly put the ball completely in their playing field, they both acknowledge the progress society has made, “It takes time and patience. The world is changing—the way we think is changing.”

For  Nathanael and Kayron, being patient as opposed to forcing people to change their views is key, “The worst that [we] can do about societal pressures on [LGBTQ+] parenting is to demand it just like in Western countries. It cannot be forced as it can do more harm than good.” They emphasized that people cannot be forced to change their beliefs regarding the LGBTQ+ community and that change will happen with representation. Such eventualities could only arise from personal contemplations, not from societal assertions urging people to conform. Waiting for the change to occur—for people to accept certain realities—could take time, but it isn’t impossible.

Despite the ongoing issue of discrimination today, the two remain hopeful, believing that “humanity is on its path there.”

They color the same

Years of research have thrown out the antiquated notion that same-sex parenting could only nurture a breeding ground for extreme mental health issues. Recent scientific studies in the subfield of LGBT Psychology have brought forth new research pointing out that the sexual orientation of parents does not determine how a child develops and that it does not determine their effectiveness as parents—and Nathanael and Kayron agree with this.

For them, it makes no difference. Parenting is parenting. When it comes to raising a child, what matters is the environment and the safety the child is raised in. “An [LGBTQ+] couple can still raise a bad child just like in a traditional straight couple setting. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation,” they affirm.

It’s the parents’ mindset on how they want to raise their children that lead to different approaches in parenting. For Nathanael and Kayron, it’s the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community combining with their own personal sentiments that will add a more contemporary touch to their parenting. “We would want our children to really follow their own path rather than be controlled by what we believe is right for them. Yes, there would still be guidelines, what we want for our children will be secondary to the primary goal of letting [them] follow and believe in what they can achieve,” they shared. They see this aspect, which is overwhelmingly filled with support, as something that may set same-sex parenting apart from its more traditional counterpart.

Society will always have its own opinion. Discrimination is difficult to uproot from society—but so is the essence of humanity.

There will also be people who will stand by the rights of others, giving strength to those who are discriminated in society. These are the people who see the beauty in that splash of color, who know how to appreciate how it fits just right in the spectrum of differences.

Beatrice Del Rosario

By Beatrice Del Rosario

Kay Estepa

By Kay Estepa

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