Life and society are changing very fast. For people of my age sometimes changes come so announced and unsuspected that we can easily be out of place or sound like a troll without intention. I believe is our responsibility to learn and update our social skills and boundaries when we meet other people that is not like us. As a former immigrant, I had to change many of my etiquette rules and perspectives of life in order to fit in this society. Its not easy but it is possible. Here is a list of things you have to avoid saying when you met a family with two dads.
1. Don’t say you have a gay friend as soon as you met them
They get it, you want to relate and sound supportive, but by saying that you are actually telling them: “I am not like you but I am OK for who you are.” It’s not a good thing to start a conversation. Imagine if you go for a short vacation to Bahamas and you met this stranger from France and as soon as he hear you speaking English he said: oh you know what, I have a friend in South Africa, he also speaks English! (totally irrelevant right? )
2. Do not tell them how much their kids look like the parentsYou really don’t know how they created their family, sometimes they may be genetically related, sometimes they may adopt their kids. People try to establish those connections in order to feel they know you better or to be nice but it can hurt in some cases. Some families looks alike for many reason. One big reason: Gays know how to coordinate their outfits and make their family members look alike!
3. Do not ask how they got their kidsIt's not of your business. Making an introduction with such question can cost you a few minutes of embarrassment. Get to know them and maybe share your own story first, they may be willing to share theirs. Think of this, people are not asking you how you got your kids right, so why is OK to ask a gay couple the same thing?
4. Do not ask WHERE is the momThey may not want to think of an adoptive mother who is still in jail, or who died of a heroin overdose, they many not have a mom because the kids were born through surrogacy. Do be a jerk by asking that question, somehow you are pointing the lack of one. Like we all have to have one. Also remember they kids are also listening and reading your facial expression.
5. Don’t ask WHO is the mom
That is another ignorant and/or jerky question. Gay couples not necessarily follow heterosexual roles. In their sexual relationship they may or may not have roles. As parent is the same. No one is pretending to play moms and dads when you are a two guys couple. Forget the roles. They both are parents and that is all it matters.
6. Don’t give advice they didn’t ask for
This is specially for women, whose natural reaction when they see babies is to act like moms, specially if there is not another female present. Hold your horses, bite your tongue! You may have the best advice in the word but you are about to piss off a very proud parent who want to believe he knows better for their kids. Oh yeah their daughter hair may look messy, just leave them alone and if you respect those boundaries you may be asked for help, a little later.
7. Don’t try to hold or touch their babies
This general rule also apply to gays. Just because you don’t see a tiger mom with them you can think they are more free for the touch. Gays are very protective of their kids, as much or more than a heterosexual couple (after all they paid a fortune for them). Many are bacteria and virus freak and very perfectionist, so your uninvited touch or intent to touch can cause a cat fight right there, on the fly.
8. Don’t make gestures of disgust and pretend you didn’t
Don’t forget, gays are masters at reading peoples eyes. They have been in the closet for too long and many more courageous have been in the public eyes getting all kind of offensive looks in public. They can recognize your homophobic ass way before you even open your mouth. If you don’t want to get it back, simply don’t look and walk away.
9. Don’t talk too much simply because you want to be friendly
They get it, if you simply smile, they know you are friendly, but trying too hard actually causes the opposite effect. Uninvited comments is annoying and universal.
10. Don’t tell them how lucky they are for having kids while you couldn’t
Yes it is a blessing to have children but you really don’t know how much cost them to have children. For two males is really hard, sometimes painful and even traumatic to go through the process of surrogacy or adoption. Is not just luck. Its a lot of determination and hard work. Instead, tell them how much you love their courage to create their own family.
In conclusion, always use this rule: If you don’t have anything positive to say, say nothing. It never fail.