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Michelle Cheever

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Lesbian Baby-Making for the Entitled Generation

Posted: 10/02/2012 3:07 pm

I want to have babies the way straight people do.

I don't mean that in a '70s euphemism "makin'-babies" kind of way. What I mean is that I want the ease, the convenience, the -- dare I say it -- naturalness that straight people have when starting a family. I want both the simple beauty of two people loving each other so much that they'd like to see more of the other in the world, and I want that simple beauty to be translated into scientific terms of fairness: chromosomes and DNA given in equal amounts from two parents.

The attitude I have always taken to having a baby with another woman has been this: "It's not fair! It's so hard! Why me?"

I am a total brat about what I consider a biological injustice. Did you just hear me say that? Biological injustice? That doesn't even make sense!

If I were a logical, realistic person I would likely be happy with flipping through sperm donor catalogs, or picking a foreign country to adopt from, or begging my gay male friends to consider jizzing into a warm bowl for me. But I am not logical, and I am not ready to accept the realities of my sexuality compounded by my body's abilities with a female partner.

Why can't my girlfriend and I have a baby that shares our DNA? Why can't an egg from each of us be scrambled up and sprinkled with sperm? It seems so easy! Try harder scientists! Make this a priority.

I realize that this attitude, or rather, brattitude, is neither productive nor truly justified, but I can't help it. There are so many discomforts, concessions, and true dangers that gay people have to deal with already, that I do not want having a baby to be yet another one. I do not care that nature dictates that two women cannot have a baby, because here I am, gay, and I deserve it. Me! And I know how bad I look, how entitled and childish. Here's what I see: me walking into LesboLand (picture a disco held in a gymnasium, rife with rainbow streamers and alternative lifestyle haircuts) raised on the honey-milk of heterosexual privilege, shouting to the crowd, "Hi all! I'm here to stay now, so let's get things done! You've done a great job on marriage equality, glad a lot of that is getting cleared up. You in the back, thank you for your non-discrimination in the workplace actions, vital stuff. One more thing though, now that I'm here, it's time that you guys ask the scientists to get me and my lady a baby that shares our DNA. I deserve it. Your adoptions and inseminations, kids from earlier relationships, trading of eggs to different bodies, taking turns getting pregnant -- not good enough for me. Figure out a way for me to make a baby like straight people do."

So here's the truth: I am not actually afraid that I wouldn't see my girlfriend in another man's baby, the child that we would parent together. It's a non-issue, because when you love someone you end up seeing them even in the places they are not actually occupying. When you love someone, you see them everywhere. In the canned food aisle of the supermarket, what is she doing here, and it turns out to be a different blond. In spite of your lack of interest in Tegan and Sara you find yourself listening to their songs because you know that she is too. Peanut butter cups were never your favorite until she shared with you and now they taste both delicious and faintly of her. If I am already doing this with the tiny details of our lives, then of course I will see her in a baby we raise together. It goes beyond illusion or repetition in the mind until the eye is tricked. I will see her in a baby she is not genetically related to because I already see her in all of the things she loves.

What my trepidation really is about is cultural fear and internalized homophobia. The 'I am a lesbian, but not like other lesbians are lesbians.' My generation of queer women is ruthless when it comes to distancing itself from the antiquated lesbian stereotype. Tevas, man-hating, and hairy arm pits would not be so widely made fun of if that were not so. They are all punchlines to jokes we ourselves tell as queer women. They are punchlines we laugh along to when straight people tell them, too. One of the most widely used punchlines in jokes about lesbians (aside from "U-Haul") has to be "turkey baster." I am sorry, but I do not want my method of bringing new life into the world to have the same resonance as the punchline to a poorly crafted joke. Like Tevas, the lesbian way of procreating seems like a relic from a different time, and the entitled queers of my generation are asking for something more modern.

I cannot speak to whether or not we should work to reclaim all of the artifacts of the elder-dyke culture, like pleated khaki shorts, but I do think it is important to come to terms with the limits of the body within the parameters of a culture. Perhaps in a couple decades science will have perfected a way for two women to have a baby that is genetically related to both of them, but by then I hope to have figured out for myself that it doesn't matter, not really. In the end we all make our own families in one way or another.

 
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