My girlfriend and I recently found out she is pregnant. I told her I’d support her and the baby, and secretly started saving for an engagement ring. She said she thought I would have wanted her to get an abortion. I didn’t—at least at first.
She was excited and started planning the nursery. It took me two months to save up, but I finally got on one knee and popped the question. She cried and said yes. I’m still scared about being a dad, but I’ve got a good job and so does she. We’ll make a great family, just the three of us.
Last week, though, she went in for a checkup. We decided to get full fetal blood work done. Everyone’s doing it; the doctor said there is little risk to the fetus, and better safe than sorry, right? I’m sure everything will be fine, and we’ll learn the sex. I really hope it’s a boy.
Oh, and we decided to make everything official with a trip to the courthouse. We are married now!
Well, got the blood work results, and there’s good news and bad news. Good news: It’s a boy and he’s healthy. Bad news: He’s gay. I didn’t even know there was a blood test for that now, but I guess it’s new? They found the genes that cause homosexuality and they test for them now.
I’m a really tolerant person, but this has made me think hard. I don’t know how I feel about trying to raise a gay son. Will I be able to relate to him? Won’t his life be super hard? I know things are getting better for gay people, but it seems to me that being gay is really hard in the South, where we live. Gay people aren’t really accepted here like in other parts of the country yet.
This really started to weigh on my mind, so I did some research. Suicide attempts are significantly higher among gay teens—five times more likely. Gay kids are five times more likely than a heterosexual youth to end up hospitalized as a result. More than 70 percent of calls to Trevor Lifeline, a targeted suicide prevention hotline, come from the South and central regions of the country, right where I live.
Another study found that any kind of victimization at school leads to much higher risks of substance abuse. Studies in progressive states like Vermont and Massachusetts found that for gay and bisexual boys, rates of victimization were nearly five times that of straight kids. More disturbingly, that victimization coincides with a host of risky behaviors, from cigarette and alcohol abuse all the way up to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Gay kids are way more likely to do all of these things than similarly persecuted straight kids.
On top of that, in every studied risk factor but cigarette use, gay and bisexual boys are at a much greater risk than girls. What kind of life will my gay son have? How could I justify subjecting him to such horrible experiences for his entire life?
I can’t imagine what things here in the South must be like. I remember being accused of being gay in school. It was awful. I don’t know if we could send our child to public schools. We would need to find and pay for a progressive private school. If we couldn’t afford it, I guess we could homeschool.
But this is not at all how we wanted our future to be. We both have good jobs we love, but I don’t see how we can afford private schools—and which one of us would give up our job to homeschool our son?
So my wife and I talked, and we’ve decided we aren’t ready to raise a gay child. It isn’t fair to raise a gay child in our area. It would be so hard for our son to live here. And I don’t think either of us could handle it if he killed himself.
Moving elsewhere just to have this baby would be totally unfair to us. We are going to get an abortion, both for the child’s sake and for ours. It’s the best thing for all of us. I’m really glad we found out before it’s too late. I’ve never been more thankful for a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body.
My wife told one of her friends that we are going to have an abortion because we don’t feel equipped to deal with raising a gay child. Apparently it got around to some of our gay friends from college. I’ve been getting emails, texts, and IMs all day from them asking me why I’m a homophobe, and why I hate gay people.
I don’t hate gay people! I just can’t bring a child into the world who would have such a hard time. I mean, we’d do the same thing if the fetus had Down syndrome, and so would about 67 percent of others if they found themselves in that situation. Even Richard Dawkins tweeted that it would be immoral to have a child who would suffer because of his genetics. Many people believe it’s immoral to bring a child into the world who is just going to suffer. Ending the pregnancy is just better for everyone. It seems so obvious.
I don’t understand. It’s my wife’s body. It’s her choice, and I agree with it. It’s our choice of what to do with our pregnancy. How can anyone else tell my wife what to do with her body?
Tomorrow is the day we are supposed to go in for the abortion, but we’ve had to switch clinics twice due to the threats. We actually ended up crossing state lines to go to a clinic, four hours from home. Thankfully the federal law allowing abortion makes that possible. I was exhausted, but it’s our choice. No one else can tell us what my wife is allowed to do with her body.
We got to the clinic almost an hour early. They made us sit in the waiting room for a while and finally called us back, but instead of walking us into a table with stirrups like we expected, they escorted us into an office. A man in a lab coat was waiting at a desk.
“I recognize you,” he said, after looking at us sternly for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. My wife didn’t speak either. “What you are doing should be a hate crime, and I won’t have any part in it,” the man said, looking angry.
“But it’s my body,” my wife said, sounding defiant, but like a little girl too. “It’s my right.”
“It’s hateful,” the doctor responds. “You are terminating this pregnancy because you don’t want a gay child. Are gay children less valuable than straight children?” He sounded like a teacher trying to impart a lesson to a very slow student.
“No, but—” my wife started to say.
“A gay child has just as much value as a straight child. In fact, you are lucky! Gay children are very rare. Census numbers put the number of homosexuals in America at around 3 percent. It wouldn’t take many more people like you,” he nearly spits the words, “to eliminate homosexuality in America. That’s genocide, and I won’t have that on my conscience!”
With that, we were ushered out. My wife cried all the way home. When we got there, we found that someone had firebombed our rented townhouse and wrote “Bigotry Doesn’t Belong Here!” and “Love Wins!” in spray paint on the sidewalk. I guess some fetuses are more equal than others, but I can’t understand it. I just followed all the arguments I’ve heard from our society to their logical conclusions.