One of the biggest arguments against lesbian couples starting families is that the child won’t have a "positive male role model" in their lives.
Like lesbians are somehow keeping their children locked away under the stairs with no access to men - no male relatives, no male teachers, no access to books with male characters, TV shows with male dads, soccer coaches, friendly Bunnings employees and so on.
And while getting your male role model from a TV show isn’t ideal (hello Bill Cosby) and Atticus Finch isn’t going to come to life and teach you right from wrong, I think you’ll find that most lesbians have a swag of men in their lives they can call upon, because they believe it’s important to have lots of positive influences their children can look up to. From my experience, lesbians will go out of their way to find them.
These are a few of my son’s favourite male role models…
I am super-close to my dad and have always thought he was the best dad in the world, so I sometimes feel a pang of sadness that my son can’t say the same. But you know what? He has my dad too. With the added bonus that he’s a retired man now with lots of time on his hands to be the best granddad ever. Granddad gets to do all the fun stuff and not be weighed down by those fatherly financial burdens or pressures of nutrition. With a granddad, trips to the zoo and lashings of ice-cream are the norm. Plus he has a wealth of knowledge to share that may have been wasted on me as a wilful child.
I have two brothers so I’ve always been surrounded by boys. The house was a man cave of body odor, football boots, video games and so on. Not only was it a glimpse (and scent) into the future, it now means that my son has two uncles, each with sons of their own to join forces with. They’ve already assembled themselves into some kind of testosterone-fueled animal kingdom that I am happy to observe safely from a distance.
My gay best friend
Just for balance, our son is very close to one of my gay best friends. He is secretly hoping that my son will be less keen on football and have more of a toe-tapping interest in musical theatre. Front row and centre to every singing, dancing, ice-skating matinee with no piece of merchandise unturned, there they will be. Thank god it doesn’t have to be me!
The straight couple
For some reason we have a young, fun, childless couple who just love to play house with our son. They take him to theme parks, McDonalds, they watch football together and sometimes they just take him grocery shopping and let him pick out whatever treats he wants. They think it’s like a hassle-free glimpse into the future, and drop him off when the sugar high kicks in - so it really is all fun and games. If anything, all parties are getting the wrong idea of reality, but hey, it’s the stuff McDonalds advertisements are made of.
My partner’s best friend (and cousin) is possibly his greatest role model and sees our son every few days. They even share a name, which I think is important for a sense of belonging. While he’s not the most hands-on dad figure, more the type that forgets to put on a nappy after a bath, he is certainly someone that our son can depend upon to be there for him. As he grows, this guy will no doubt be his rock.
We are so lucky to have so many positive male role models in our son’s life. It takes a village to raise a child and as lesbians we have been blessed to find such a high density of quality men.