A 2022 Gallup poll reported that one in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ. As these young adults enter the workforce and think about their futures, many of them wonder if that future should involve having kids.
Perpetually is a 23-year-old teacher in the South. Perpetually is not her real name; she has chosen to use an alias because as a “closeted transgender teacher in a conservative area, remaining anonymous is very important to my safety and job security.”
Perpetually believes that “being queer is beautiful and empowering,” but she also knows that it can have a dark side when it comes to the mistreatment and bigotry so many in her community face. “Almost every negative aspect of the queer experience can be tied to how someone else treats me for being queer.”
While Perpetually is someone who works with children every day and cares deeply for them, she does not think she will have any of her own, citing climate change and the rising cost of raising kids as her two biggest concerns. "Would I want to create life if all the coral reefs will be gone before they get to see them? Would I want to bring a child into a world that I am watching end in real time?”
Perpetually hasn’t made any final decisions, and holds out some hope for a better future, and perhaps one in which she has the financial stability to become a parent through adoption.
Daniella S., 30, says that becoming a mom was always part of her plan, but that she also grew up thinking that she was straight, and that she would one day get married and get pregnant. “That all changed when I met and eventually fell in love with my fiancée,” she says.
“As a first-generation [Italian] American, I often wonder if my family picked the correct country to immigrate to," she adds. "I don’t want to seem ungrateful — it isn’t like Italy is the perfect country for LGBTQ people — it is just that this country has a ton of problems.” Daniella goes on to mention guns as the number one cause of death for American children, and attacks against abortion rights and LGBTQ Americans. “Rights are being stripped away and I think I would be doing a disservice to my future children by not paying attention and actively reaching out to local leaders to voice my opinion.” In spite of this, she still sees herself becoming a mom in the future.
Daniella says that coming to terms with her sexuality was a struggle, especially because she grew up in a strict Christian home. When she met her fiancée, she was stuck on the heteronormative ideas of parenthood, and says it took her a long time to accept that if they wanted to have children together, that she and her fiancée would have to consider using donor sperm or adopting She was afraid of what it would feel like to raise a child that wasn’t genetically part of each of them. Now, after confronting these feelings in therapy and with her fiancée, Daniella says she feels embarrassed to admit any of this. “Having a close community of queer friends also helps. Knowing I have couples I can talk to about their process makes me feel better and safer," she says.
In New York City, 27-year-old Nick Brown says he would like some things in his life to align before considering becoming a parent, and that he won’t really consider it for another 10 years, at least. When it comes to the current political climate, Brown says, “I refuse to allow ignorant people spewing hatred and discrimination to stop me from living my life. If I want to have kids, I’m not going to let those people scare me, and I’ll show them that I’m proof that queer people make excellent parents.”
Kate McCard, 29, and her wife Florrie McCard, 27, live and work at an all-girls boarding school in Raleigh, N.C. They are the first out gay married couple to live and work there. The McCards recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary, and the topic of having kids has been prevalent in their home. Kate admits that at times she struggles to reconcile how excited she is to be a parent with the sadness of knowing that no matter how they create their family, one or both of them will have to adopt their children. Knowing that they likely have a long, difficult and expensive journey to parenthood ahead, Kate believes it will be worth it to make a family together. “I am proud of who I am, and I am even more proud that I will be one half of a parenting duo that will help to teach the next generation that love will always win,” Kate says.
Whatever the future has in store for these couples and individuals, none of them will let politics stand in their way. In fact, they believe that it is their responsibility as LGBTQ people to raise the next generation of Americans that will continue the fight for equality. “They are the future,” Perpetually says of children, “and it is our responsibility as adults to create a world that is better for them than it was for us.”
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