The Selfish Side of Gay Rights

by Sara Rylander
Originally Published: 

I tend to be very outspoken when it comes to gay rights. When I voice these opinions to other people, the inevitable questions roll in. “Why do you care so much? You’re a married heterosexual woman. What do gay rights have to do with you?” There is a stock answer, of course. I can say that I want my gay and lesbian friends to have the same rights that I do. I can say that’s it simply the right thing to do. Both of those statements would be truthful. But if I really delve into my true feelings, the answer is a bit more selfish.

Because my daughters could be gay.

Avery sure does love those dinosaurs! And how about Zoe and her fascination with all things cars? Baby dolls and Barbies are neglected in this house in favor of trains and building blocks. Sure, I’m grasping at stereotypes here, but the truth of the matter is–I don’t know who they’ll love when they’re capable of falling in love. Regardless of what some folks would say, this is one part of their development I have absolutely no control over. I’m okay with that.

What I’m not okay with is knowing that some day my daughters may not have the same rights as others based simply on whom they love. This is not okay. This is not right. And this is why I care so deeply about gay rights.

If my daughters want to fight and possibly die for their country, they should be allowed to. As a mother, I would never want them in harm’s way. But when your child comes to you and tells you that THIS is what they want to do and they’re very passionate about it, how can one look them in the eye and say, “Sorry, sweetie, but if you want to do that you will have to deny everything that makes you you. Are you willing to do that and risk your life at the same time?” I am constantly telling my girls that they are perfect as they are, quirks and all. That is not something I want to backpedal on later in life.

If one of my daughters wants to marry a woman, by golly I want to plan the biggest, fattest, gayest wedding ever. And I want it to be legal in all fifty states. If I’m going to go to that much trouble with caterers and dance halls and big poofy dresses (Or fasionable women’s tuxes, as the case may be) then I want some validation for that. I want my daughter to be able to shout it from the rooftops that THIS is her wife! And they’re going to live happily ever after! And it’s legal! Because that’s what all married couples should be able to do.

If that daughter then decided that she and her lovely wife want to adopt a baby, then Lord help the person that stands in the way of me and my potential grandchild. It will never make sense to me how adoptions can be denied in this country because the adopting family is non-traditional. What’s traditional anyway? Can you describe a traditional marriage right now? Every family is different, heterosexual or otherwise. It should only be the capacity to love that determines a family’s worth as an adoptive family. Period. I have (potential) grandchildren to spoil and I will not be denied.

Selfish? Yes. My passion for gay rights has everything to do with insuring my daughters’ happiness later in life. Of course, they will probably grow up and marry men just to spite their mama, but honestly, you just never know. What if they grow up to marry men, make beautiful grandchildren, and one of those grandchildren is gay? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Gay rights affect us all. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but somewhere along the line, it will become a Very Big Deal for you and your family, if it isn’t already.

I’m a heterosexual woman who cares deeply about gay rights. Because you just never know.

(And honestly, it is the right thing to do. No matter what your reasons may be, selfish or not.)

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