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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

pink dad, rainbow moms: why gay adoption in the philippines should see light

“Ako Legal Parent”
Ampon! Ampon! Ampon!
--Lotlot de Leon, I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa
Granting a surrogate family to a child over whom parents have waived their parental rights is a legal procedure here as in other countries. Adoption, as this process is widely renowned, may be voluntarily offered by the incapacitated parents to a capable relative, may be sponsored by an agency like the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Kaisahang Buhay, or may be done independently by searching parents seeking the help of an intermediary.
While there are currently no available statistics on domestic adoptions, statistics on inter-country adoption of Filipino children by American foster parents consistently ranked among the fifteen highest in the world’s lone superpower, although the rate has fluctuated the last 16 years.
As for eligibility for adoption, one criterion states that the parents should be a married man-woman couple, leaving a slim chance of priority on single parents, let alone same-sex couples—both setbacks being reflected too in North America.
The legally unmentioned possibility of gay adoption may be interrogated in the light of the Philippine context, wherein poverty debilitates many parents from surviving their children. These parents’ incapacity to provide even the most basic needs renders the children ill-nourished, shelterless and uneducated. Having their kids for legal adoption becomes an alternative for these parents to secure a better quality of life for their children. Hence, non-traditional adoption should be given a go-signal by the Philippine legislature to qualified parents like same-sex couples. Although a seemingly radical new concept to the Philippine society, the legalization of same-sex adoption should be considered on the best interest of the child, and on the capability of the adoptive parents to foster and care for the child, regardless of the adoptive parents' sexual orientation.
Pink Parents Panic
‘Yung kapitbahay natin, kanina ‘yung babae ang ka-partner niya. Ngayon, ‘yung lalaki naman. Dahil ba ‘yan sa El Niño, o sa peso devaluation?
--Albert Martinez’s character’s neighbor, Pusong Mamon, 1998

However, it will be an arduous battle for well-meaning unisex couples as the conservative sectors of the society dispute gay adoption for a number of reasons, among them unfounded. To begin with, the Church argues that same-sex unions—and by extension, gay adoption—are detrimental to the institution of the family. The Christian Coalition here and across the globe fiercely defends the conventional structure of marriage and family using Biblical allusions. For instance, a man “[lying] with mankind, as he lieth with a woman,” has “committed an abomination” worthy of death.
Another example is the pronounced despicability of men who, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…”
Finally, even “effeminates” whose actions did not necessarily spoke of their sexuality were not spared—they were irreparably guilty of doing the unrighteous.
As these scriptural references against gays are always invoked albeit away from the historical context they were articulated, the point of good parenting notwithstanding parents' homosexual orientation—extensively discussed in the subsequent chapters—is missed. For the religious institution, the traditional family of heterosexual composition should be sustained, displacing that of gay one. Finally, the State does not approve of gay adoption because the law is silent about it—only legally married couples are permitted, as already mentioned in the preceding chapter. Moreover, the government becomes an ally to the Church in marginalizing gay couples by setting a prejudiced criterion about prospective adopters “[espousing] spiritual/moral/philosophical beliefs, value systems, affiliations, attitudes and practices,”which, by Scriptural standards, ousts homosexual parents from the adoption queue. The Biblical depiction of gays as perverts informs the state institution with the homophobic misgivings that gays are child molesters or their personality is a potential hazard to the adoptee’s development. As such, lawmakers have yet to pass a bill resolving the issue in question. In a talk on “Same-Sex Marriage and Spirituality,” Ang Ladlad Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual network founding Chair Danton Remoto mentioned of House Bill 634 or Anti-Discrimination Bill to be filed for the third time in Congress, the first filing time—in 1998, by Representative Bellaflor Angara-Castillo—having been met with vigorous protests from ultra-conservative religious groups.
The twice-defeated bill would have entitled taxpaying gays “the same rights that the other taxpayers and citizens have, as stipulated in [the] Bill of Rights.”
As of now, the state recognizes only court-sanctioned, necessarily heterosexual partnerships and their inherent rights, but Remoto, also a professor at the Ateneo De Manila University and a highly-regarded gay writer-editor, sees that the passing of the bill will legalize “domestic partnership [that] will give the partners several rights” which “include…the right to adopt…, among others.”
While gender-based discrimination is unambiguously wrong and necessitates a formidable justification, the country’s social institutions must be harboring the ideology of this strong and never-wrong anti-gay sentiment.

Pink Parenthood is Good
Si Val! Si Val! Lagi na lang si Val ang may kasalanan! Ang Walang Malay na si Val!
--Vilma Santos, Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig?, 1987
In spite of current social debates, several studies show that there is no appreciable difference between offspring raised by homosexual parents and those raised by heterosexual ones. For one, experiments reveal that gay parents can raise well a family, subverting some anti-gay U.S. courts’ twisted notions that homosexuals have mental illnesses, that lesbians are less motherly than straight women, and that homosexual partners are more sex-obsessed than parenting-oriented.
Research findings prove that the development of sexual identity will not be necessarily ruined among children of homosexual parents, nor the development of these offspring’s psychological health and social relationships. Furthermore, the study implies that children of lesbian parents (whether adoptive or not) follow gender-role templates not entirely removed from those of other children, not wishing to be members of the opposite sex by expressing happiness with their gender.
Ultimately, the data do not suggest escalated rates of homosexuality among the children of lesbian or gay parents.
In the same vein, children growing in stable gay homes are as adjusted as those growing in stable straight homes. In a sociological comparison with non-gay fathers in their responses to the Iowa Parent Behavior Scale, the gay fathers are seen to be more sensitive and responsive to the known need of children. The contrasts and resemblances in parenting behavior of gay and non-gay fathers may be explained by the suggestions that gay fathers “feel additional pressures to be more proficient at their parenting role” and to be “less traditional and more androgynous” than non-gay counterparts.
Contrary to public horror, children raised by gay couples do not suffer crises on gender identity, role-playing or choice. In a survey conducted by psychologist David Flaks and associates involving fifteen lesbian-mother families and fifteen heterosexual-parent families, offspring of lesbian couples born to them via artificial insemination manifested sameness in mental and psychological functioning as those of their heterosexual counterparts’ children’s.
Also, lesbian mothers are found to be more “conscientious” in child-rearing than their straight counterparts.On the other hand, in conjunction with some institutional homophobia mentioned in the previous chapter, a few social analyses debunk the truth about gays as good parents. A study of a number of researches does not give credence to gay parents-championing results as it claims lack of empirical evidences and personal prejudices by the authors. This American study, conducted by sociologist Philip A. Belcastro and associates, claimed that fourteen scientifically-assessed database studies on homosexual parenting “lacked external validity” and contained subjectivities of the authors.
Belcastro and company methodically argued that the impact gay parents have on children’s development cannot be ascertained, contradicting the results of most of the pro-gay experiments. Moreover, there is no data support whatsoever to cement the conclusion that no significant differences exist in offspring raised by lesbian mothers as against heterosexual mothers.
Also, a writer reflects the perspective of the conservative society that gay unions and adoptions defeat the purpose of the family institution. In the article What Marriage is for, opinion writer Maggie Gallagher passionately opposed same-sex unions as this expression of “sexual desires of adults” did not “reconcile [with] the needs of children.”
She went on to say that the advancement of “adult interests in adult freedom” was being made at the expense of the “institution most responsible for the protection of children,” implying that married gays will be more concerned with their homosexual love than with conscientious parenting.

Gay Adoption? Why Not?
Aba, ipagmamalaki ko siya sa mga magiging kaklase ko sa pasukan. Si Darna yata ang Nanay ko!
--Edgar Samar, Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna!
As a matter of course, gay adoption is acceptable, necessary even, because gay couples can provide a good family to underprivileged children. In articles appearing in print media here and in the U.S., a gay couple and a gay child with lesbian parents expressed their common views on gay parenting. On the home front, a gay Filipino male couple was interviewed regarding their plan to advertise in major dailies in an attempt to find a woman willing enough to conceive the child of one of the gay couple—the bisexual guy in the relationship. “…[S]ince we cannot have any [child] of our own,” admits the bisexual guy, he and his gay partner considered “adopting…[,]aware that there are so many homeless and poor children who have been abandoned by their parents and are left at different orphanages or on the streets.”
Through the baby-making setup, they will hope to show to the society how gay parents can be equally responsible like heterosexual couples by promising “that the child will have a good education, college degree and a secure, comfortable life.”
Meanwhile, a gay child, despite the initial stigma of having a gay mother and her lesbian lover for parents, learned to “live peaceably” and feel convenient with the “mother’s lifestyle.”
In her essay, Paula Fomby cannot thank enough having grown up in a unique, non-detrimental homosexual family of gay activists, appreciating “the impact [the adoptive lesbian parent has] had” on her.
Finally, That’s A Family, an American documentary film dealing with the diversity of contemporary families in America, features children who candidly share their lives as young members of families of mixed religions or races, divorced parents, single parents, gay or lesbian parents, foster parents, or extended members as custodians.
This film helps encourage tolerance and acceptance among the young and old members of the society regarding adoption, homosexuals as parents, religion or race because it emphasizes love and support as those which truly keep family ties. As may be gleaned from the aforementioned, legal adoption should be made available to homosexual couples as it is lawfully acceptable to heterosexual ones. Adoption should not factor in the parents' sexual orientation because the latter is independent of a child's adjustments. Biases against gays as bad parents are without basis. In fact, gay couples prove to be at par with if not better than heterosexual ones in terms of good parenting. Gay parents across cultures and history have shown that they can maintain a well-functioning family. If need be emphasized, the access of children to quality life should outweigh their adoptive parents' homosexual orientation. The necessity of gay adoption is timely in the context of world liberalization, the plight of poor children and gays as responsible people. It is high time to afford open-mindedness regarding gay adoption following the trail of unisex unions. Even as it is spoken, the radically liberalized world presently opens up to same-sex unions and its related issue, gay adoption. Gay adoption should be permitted in the Philippines because homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are capable of good parenting. The Philippine law should grant gay adoption in the name of anti-discrimination and liberalization.

I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa, dir. Mario J. delos Reyes. time n.a. Regal Films, 1986. Film.

The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines, “Local Adoption: How to Adopt a Child.” Last modified June 21, 2004. Accessed September 5, 2006. <

United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, “Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans Coming to the U.S.” Last modified August 31, 2006. Accessed September 5, 2006. <
[4]Riggs, Diane, “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Single and Gay Adoption in North America.” Adoptalk Summer 1999. Accessed 10 August 2006. <

Pusong Mamon, dirs. Joel Lamangan and Eric Quizon. 120 minutes. Viva Films, 1998. Film.

[6]“Leviticus 20,” In Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, ed. Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage, 2004), 49.
[7] Sullivan, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans I,” 50.
[8] Sullivan, “1 Corinthians,” 51.
[9] The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines, “Local Adoption: How to Adopt a Child.” Last modified June 21, 2004. Accessed September 5, 2006. <

Remoto, Danton. “On Same-Sex Marriage and Spirituality.” In Lodestar. The Philippine Star. February 13, 2006.



[13]Wintemute, Robert. Sexual Orientation and Human Rights. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 3.

[14] Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig, dir. Edie Garcia. time n.a. Viva, 1987. Film.

[15] Patterson, Charlotte, “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Summary of Research Findings,” Lesbian and Gay Parenting: A Resource for Psychologists, American Psychological Association, 1995.


[18]Bozett, Frederick W. and Marvin B. Sussman, Homosexuality and Family Relations (New Jersey: Haworth Press, 1990), 67.

[19]Flaks, David K., et al, “Lesbians Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children,” Developmental Psychology 31, no.1(1995): 77-83.


Belcastro, Philip A. et al, “A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Children’s Sexual and Social Functioning,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 20, No. 1/2. (1993): 127- 135.

[23]Gallagher, Maggie, “What Marriage is for,” Weekly Standard, August 4-11, 2003, 17-18.
[24] Ibid, 19.

[25] Samar, Edgar. “Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna!” 2005. September 5, 2006 <
[26] Cruz, Louie, “Wanted: Womb,” Sunday Chronicle. 1992. In Ladlad 2, ed. Garcia, J. Neil and Danton Remoto(Pasig: Anvil, 1996), 16.

[27] Ibid, 15.
[28] Fomby, Paula, “Why I’m Glad I Grew Up in a Gay Family,” Mother Jones, May/June 1991, 5.
[29] Ibid, 6.

[30] That’s A Family,! dir. Chasnoff, Debra. 35 minutes. Women’s Educational Media, 2000. Film.

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