If we don't look good, we don't look good.

Today at work they handed out these one sheet calendars. Looking at all the dates that will comprise 2007 and 2008, I first looked to see where my birthday will fall (monday, labor day, nice! and wednesday, eh.) and then I thought "Hey! If all goes according to plan, my theoretical future baby's birthday will be one of these days I am looking at right now!"

That slightly scary. I mean, all of these dates fit on an 8.5x11 sheet, with room left over to advertise 18 musicals and the Broadway.com phone number. It isn't that much time. But mostly, it was thrilling, in a positive way. As much as I have no idea what I'm doing, no savings, no home equity, no property at all, no car, and no idea how I'll be able to deal with life if Jen can't pay attention to me almost constantly, I really do want us to have this kid.

There was an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine yesterday - about gay men and lesbians redefining nucler familes. The main cases they focused on were lesbian couples who went with a known donor. Basically, the article attempted to explore how the known donor - be he friend or acquaintence - fit into the life of the child. Although the article didn't put any thing radically new on the table as far as my knowledge of these things goes, it was interesting to see how people tried to organize themselves ahead of time, and how things inevitably turned out differently than they expected.

Mainly the differences between expectation and reality fell into three categories:
1. The donor reacted differently to having a child than he anticipated - usually on the side of wanting more and more consistent contact with the child than was initially agreed upon.

2. The mothers reacted differently to having the donor in the child's life than anticipated - usually wanting him around less, or possibly actively disliking him, or possibly breaking up and having to deal with a third parent or quasi parent i the visitation schedule.

3. The child is the real wild card. The main thing that threw one family for a loop was when their son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5. With a seriously ill, possibly dying child, the donor became more of a dad. The kid got better and the donor dad wanted to fade back to his old, less active role. The non-bio mom was upset. The donor dad's partner was upset. On the cover of the magazine, the kid looked pale, but fine.

For several reasons, I feel that my child, and my child's life, should be exemplary. Some of it has to do with how I was raised, how my family views achievement, but much more of it has to do with the fact that I am queer. Lots of queers that I know have implicitly and explicitly agreed. We have to be better than everyone else.

Coming out is a process whereby you recognize that you are different than the majority. Whatever you think at first or have been taught about your difference being a liability has to go out the window. In order to combat self loathing, you instead enter a period of intense and gorgeous and extremely annoying self love. Worship even. And you're hideous. But you have to do this to break away from the conventions of society. You can't allow yourself hear anyone else, or think that there's even the slightest possiblity youd' be wrong or you'd never come out. You'd hate yourself and hurt yourself, which may be what you had been up to before. To stop that you have to come to a point where you say say "I am special, I am not bad or evil or sick or wrong or mistaken. I am excellent. And SO right."

It fades. But a part of it has to stick. Or else every time someone voted against gay marriage or ambushed a poor fag and beat the shit out of him or looked sideways at you on the subway for holding a girl's hand or asked you why you didn't have a boyfriend, it would totally fuck you up. And as you build a life as a queer person, and become sucessful in a relationship or in your career or in your social circle, the feelings of worth come less from an inflated sense of self, and more from an actual sense of self - pride in your accomplishments, evidence that you are worthy and normal (as far as anyone can be) and you were right all along.

So once you've proved it to yourself, you have to go on and prove it to everyone else. Because as much as you know you're right, the bashing and the slurs and the fact that people openly hate and are frightened of you really hurts. So you have to be better than everyone else. For some people that means earning more money. For some people that means being as non-mainstream as possible. For me, that means raising the best, healthiest, smartest, funniest, funnest, most creative, high tech, down home, retro futuristic traditional queer family I can manage.

You know that all along when I was saying "you" I meant "me" right?

So. Now that we've decided on a known donor (assuming he has enough sperm. A tale for another day) and know that I know dealing with a known donor can be a complex, shifting proposition, we've gotta do it, not just well, extremely well. With legality and panache. With witty banter and wry observations falling out of pretty mouths at every step. With everyone looking hot and making their parents proud. If MY queer nuclear family is on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine in 10 years, we will not look like four John Goodmans (2 male, 2 female) and a cancerous child. We will be slim and genius. We will glow with organically grown good health.

Ironically enough, I think the key is being mutable. All the people in the article had lined up a life and were surprised when they didn't get to live exactly that. I am not opposed to changing my vision of the future. As long as we all continue to excel the hell out of everyone doing whatever the fuck it is we end up doing.

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