After reviewing the list of famous women without children presented on this site, a friend asked me if it was “fair” to include lesbian women. Her thinking was, “Well, of course they’re not gonna have kids!”
I didn’t agree with the statement in my gut. It just didn’t feel true, and it’s not. To date, I haven’t had a super-close friendship with a lesbian, so facts about lesbian households weren’t top-of-mind. It was my Common Sense that whispered “Bullshit.” This week the Supreme Court is reviewing not one, but two, cases related to the legality of marriage between gay adults. No better time to consider issues about lesbian NotMoms.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1/3 of lesbian households have children. Here’s what I believe to be true about women:
- Every woman has options to reach for if she wants to raise a child, including natural or surrogate birth, adoption, and kinship care.
- That effort can be more challenging for lesbians.
- Not every woman feels maternal urgings.
- Not every lesbian lacks maternal urgings.
We all know the celeb lesbian Moms, including Rosie O’Donnell, Melissa Etheridge, Cynthia Nixon, Wanda Sykes and Sara Gilbert. What’s the measure being used to say that someone “can’t be” a NotMom simply because of their sexuality?
One of the best-known lesbian couples, Portia deRossi and her spouse, Ellen deGeneres, were legally married during the 4+ months that the state of California OK’d same-sex marriage — before law (Prop 8) changed things around. I think of both of them as NotMoms.
What I believe to be true about Ellen’s body is that she has all of the parts required to create a child. Moreover, she certainly has the wherewithal to attract a child to her life if that were her choice. Is it so hard to think that a lesbian woman might define herself, with or without melancholy, as being a NotMom?
(Original Post Date: 7/11/11)