Lesbians raising boys... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We found out a couple of days ago that our little Squeak is a boy. After some initial disappointment, we are now really excited and completely psyched for the challenge of raising an evolved, emotionally intelligent, feminist man. :

What we're not dealing so well with is the little comments about male role models that family members keep making. It's driving me nuts and I've found myself in some serious arguments that I'd rather not be in. Frankly, I'm a little shocked and surprised by how conservative my family are being.

I have some really firm ideas about a good diversity of role models being more important that the sex of role models. In our case, there will be a great diversity of role models in Squeaks life and a nice smattering of them are men, queer and straight, but they certainly aren't in our lives because of their sex or their sporting/woodwork/car mechanic abilities...

How do you all deal with such concerns?

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#2 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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Sort of in the opposite position you are, being two men with a dd. Everytime it comes up though, we just tell people "We DO have female friends you know."

Any of these family members guys? Cause that would be a great time for "So... you have no intention of being a part of his life then?"

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#3 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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Any of these family members guys? Cause that would be a great time for "So... you have no intention of being a part of his life then?"
I agree!

We have a 9 year old and while his father does play a role, we STILL get people who talk crap to us (mostly family) like, "now that he is getting older do you think he will resent you for not trusting men enough to have a relationship with one"?

I just ignore it. I know they are using this as a way to let us know that they don't agree with our lifestyle. It's sad that people can be so ignorant.

Congratulations on your little man! He will bring you lots of joy...trust me!
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#4 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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Congrats on your boysprout!

"Raising Boys Without Men" ... it's a good read. We don't know the birth gender of our baby yet, but DP is preparing already. She's lined up male friends to be dudes in our kid's life either way. This one will be his snowboarding buddy, that one will come to her baseball games ... that sort of thing. Although I'm not worried about raising boys. My brothers and I were raised by a single mom, so I've got a good role model already. And we do a lot of fun stuff as a family anyway ... stuff that society might think more appropriate to a well-rounded boy childhood: camping, skiing, fishing, hunting, ATVing, etc. But I just think all that is super fun ... and I'm super femme! So who knows ... well rounded does the trick every time it seems.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#5 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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"Raising Boys Without Men" ... it's a good read.
Huh, never knew this book was out there....

I might just check it out...thanks
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#6 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 03:04 PM
 
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I love boys parented by lesbians! Some of the most amazing guys I know (all straight by the way) were raised by two mamas. I'd be happy to have any kind of squeak, but I think I'd rather have a boy. The world needs more good men raised by queers. However, I understand being a little worried about what to do with a boy child. I am totally clueless when it comes to boy...stuff.
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#7 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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When we were pregnant with E we didn't know what we were having, although I suspected that it would be a boy (and I was right.) We really wanted a boy though, so we were very happy.

In all honesty, we haven't had anyone say anthing at all to us about the fact that we're two women raising a boy. Perhaps because they think we're doing a good job now that he's here? Perhaps because most of our friends are women and they don't really think anything of it? I dunno...

In all honesty, now that we are TTC #2 I am terrified it will be a girl. I don't know if I know how to parent a girl.

lemurmommies, loving wife to ruvalokiteshvara, proud moms to our intact son E (12/06), and mourning the loss of our daughter Noelle (stillborn 12/08).
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#8 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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Family members have said some pretty ridiculous stuff to us in this line of thinking. Basically we either ignore them (if it is really pushing buttons at the time this is the best way for us to handle it, otherwise things can get really out of control with some of my family ) or tell them that DS has plenty of good men in his life, just not one that he calls "dad".

Mommy to a wonderfully passionate little one
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#9 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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Our little boy is 3, and was adopted at 9 months. We haven't had too many comments from friends or family (or, maybe I blocked them out and just don't remember) It is mostly strangers - "doesn't he ask about his dad?" Ive allways taken this as an adoption comment, but I guess it is more of a queer parenting concern. We don't have many male friends, so it has been hard to find him some male role models - my dad is fantastic, but lives 6 hrs away, so we don't see him much. We do try to get DS to talk to him on the phone weekly or more.
The only time having two moms has been a "problem" was when ds was about 20 months old. My DP has a small daycare in our home, and had a few weeks where every child's dad was the person to pick them up in the evening. (instead of the usual mix of mom or dad) DS started asking "where my daddy?", and looking out the window. sooo we did some quick thinking and changed what he was calling my dad from "grandpa" to "granddaddy" and Also stressing that any male relatives (uncles,etc) are "____'s uncle brien",etc has seemed to calm him. We were surprized by the stress that he showed as a very young child (one and two) about this. He doesn't seem to be looking for "daddy", but just wanted to have ownership of a man - if that makes any sense. The relief in his eyes when we said "here is ____'s granddaddy" was a little heartbreaking. I have gone through my life just expecting that "of course" my child would be happy and well adjusted with two moms, and he is, absolutely, but it has taken more work than I orginally thought.
I know this isn't exactally what the OP asked, but I thought it was relevant.
: for more little boys with two moms!

rainbow1284.gifMama to JP (5.5)  weadopted.gif  Gearing up to TTC #2  ~ Blog
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#10 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 06:48 PM
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Congrats!!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#11 of 31 Old 08-07-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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Congrats!

I just wanted to jump in & say that my Mom with my brother did what a lot of people here have said making sure uncles & our actual father were involved - until we moved across the country & we no longer knew any men. Then she got him involved in the Big Brothers program where he had a big brother who was his main male role model through his teen years. It worked out really well & gave him opportunities he would not otherwise have had (going to camp, etc.)

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#12 of 31 Old 08-08-2008, 12:00 PM
 
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I was shocked by my family's reaction when we found out we were having a little girl....at first dp and I were a lil surprised she was a girl because for some odd reason we kept referring to our baby as him before the ultrasound.....my family was very happy that it was a girl especially my mom and made the comment like "oh thank god its a girl you know its just harder when women raise boys ya know with no father".....I was totally caught off guard and stunned with the comment and of course didnt come back with a good reply at the time. I hope to raise my daughter and any sons we may have the same way...with both strength, dignity and pride in who they are. Like previous poster said....well duh don't YOU all... meaning my dad and brother want to be involved???

: DD 8/29/08 and twin boys 11/3/09
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#13 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 03:09 AM
 
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My partner and I have taken to answer the 'male role model' question with another question: "Do you mean how will he be exposed to masculinity or will he hang around a person with a penis?" Because for the former, he has his baba. (We just recently bought him a shirt from lesbiandad.net that says 'my other mama is a baba) For the latter, he has his donor (Uncle J), a fabulous queer man who has more feminine energy than me! (and I'm the more 'girly' one in our relationship.)

People automatically assume 'male role model' means a masculine male person. I usually tell people we want our son to have several different models of 'maleness' in his life. He will have relationships with masculine men, feminine men, masculine women, feminine women and lots of wonderful intermixes of all of the above! With all of these examples, he is bound to find a reflection of gender and sexuality that 'fits' the person he is becoming.

Karrie.  Partner to my best friend and wife (aka "baba") and mama to son G (10-24-2007).

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#14 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughts folks...
It unfortunately hasn't been the men in our family who have had role model issues - though they have all gotten very excited about teaching Squeak whatever their favoured sport.

I realise I'm just gonna have to suck it up and pick my battles. He's our son and we'll raise him conscientiously, with love and compassion. That's all people need to know.

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#15 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 06:34 AM
 
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Ah so the men understand that they get to be role models but the women just don't get it... Hehe next time it comes up you could list all the men and what sport they plan on teaching the little guy and ask if that enough male role models.

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#16 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 07:05 AM
 
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I agree!
"now that he is getting older do you think he will resent you for not trusting men enough to have a relationship with one"?
I really just can't believe somebody actually said that out loud to you.



Okay so my situation is different, but thought I would share anyhow. I'm a single Mama to my dd age 8. When she was in preschool the kids starting discussing what their dad's do for a living. My dd stood up proud and said "I don't have a Daddy, I have a Pap-pap, and he's a real tired" (retired). When her teacher told me this it just filled my heart with pride.

I was worried when my dd's dad cut out of her life. Worried about having a male role model in her life. My best friend (who was raised without knowing her father) was trying to give me advice, and she said "I never wondered why I didn't have a dad, I wondered why I didn't have anybody". Her mother dealt with addiction issues.

This changed everything for me. That one statement. Kids raised in loving homes aren't missing anything. Role models for life should be loving and solid people, not males and females, it's all love.


Congratulations on your boy. :

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#17 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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My dd stood up proud and said "I don't have a Daddy, I have a Pap-pap, and he's a real tired" (retired). When her teacher told me this it just filled my heart with pride.
I overheard a similar exchange between ds and a fellow 3yo a few weeks ago. Ds's friend said "well, YOU don't have a daddy" and ds put his hands on his hips and gracefully said "well but I have a mama and a mom and a granddaddy and an uncle trey and..." and proceeded to name as many family members as he could. So, yeah, I'm not too worried about him.
Also, having raised DP,s sister from ages 12-18, I would choose boy children over girls (that will inevitably grow into teenage girls) any day. THAT'S what I tell people who ask about us raising a boy.

rainbow1284.gifMama to JP (5.5)  weadopted.gif  Gearing up to TTC #2  ~ Blog
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#18 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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I overheard a similar exchange between ds and a fellow 3yo a few weeks ago. Ds's friend said "well, YOU don't have a daddy" and ds put his hands on his hips and gracefully said "well but I have a mama and a mom and a granddaddy and an uncle trey and..." and proceeded to name as many family members as he could. So, yeah, I'm not too worried about him.
Also, having raised DP,s sister from ages 12-18, I would choose boy children over girls (that will inevitably grow into teenage girls) any day. THAT'S what I tell people who ask about us raising a boy.
As a former teenaged boy I can only say... Good luck with that!

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#19 of 31 Old 08-09-2008, 08:01 PM
 
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I'm not raising a boy, but I hope you don't mind if I post anyway. We had to verify for our adoption that our daughter would have "male role models" and we had to list them by name.

Now that she's four, I find that a variety of people have come into our lives, of multiple genders, since her birth. Not always the people we planned on in advance either. I don't think this is something you can map out ahead of time. That said, I find it interesting that there's an assumption that "boys need male role models" or "girls need female role models" but not the reverse. Given that we live in a world of more than one gender (more than two, in fact!) it seems to me that all children benefit from being around healthy, loving adults of various identities.

I agree with a previous poster that these kinds of comments are often people's way of expressing their discomfort with your relationship.
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#20 of 31 Old 08-10-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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I really just can't believe somebody actually said that out loud to you.

Unfortunately, yes.

My DP's father has gone back and forth from being supportive, to being in denial about us. At one point, he had it in him to say this to both of us.
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#21 of 31 Old 08-11-2008, 05:00 PM
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hey MMM et all

just wanted to chime in here, In preparation of the statistical likely hood of having a boy--I just finished "The will to change" by bell hooks
a little repetitive, and only a few slight nods to queerness, but I found it an interesting perspective overall.

11/24/08 SMBC with a loving LTR DP in a Queer & Poly relationshiploving my new baby Kale Cqolbi Justice!!!!!
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#22 of 31 Old 08-12-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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We've been plagued with these kinds of comments from DW's family and it's so, so annoying. It's so bad that our DS actually has LESS exposure to "male role models" because we don't want him around my FIL too much because of his pushy "modeling". We too want him to have exposure to all kinds of people so he can be himself without pressure.

Megan-39, Postpartum Doula, DW to Sacha-40 (18 years together) and Mama to Finn Alexander born 4/2/07 and Zivia Littlewood born 8/23/10

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#23 of 31 Old 08-12-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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i don't really have an answer but i do have a son. he is the most amazing little guy. i secretly wanted a girl and we did not find out the sex until he was born. the minute i met him on the outside, i was in love, and that love grows deeper everyday. congrats on your little guy!

Eryn, wife to Amy, Mum to Eli, b. 1/9/08 and Willow, b. 5/29/10
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#24 of 31 Old 08-13-2008, 07:03 AM
 
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We have two boys and a girl. We've fielded lots of dumb comments about role models for the boys. It was never going to be an issue given that my father and 3 brothers live within blocks of us and my dad especially sees the kids more or less daily. But I also think it is unimportant, we'll be travelling and likely without many male role models over the next couple of years and I think our kids will grow with our loving guidance regardless.

We never found out the biological sex during pregnancy, in fact I wore a t-shirt that said "Is it a boy or a girl? Yes". When people asked we'd say, "Gosh, that's a big decision, we think we'll let the child decide at about 18 years of age". Way to silence already freaked out straight people! I have a great relationship with my mum and am the eldest child and a girl so I felt like our first would be a girl. He was born early and I was unconscious and when I did wake up all I cared about was that the kid was alive and doing ok. My partner wanted sons because she doesn't like catty girl behaviour. We've never looked back and went into this last pregnancy totally expecting to wind up with 3 boys. At 6.5 months I can't say parenting a girl is any different but we'll see how it pans out in teenage times...
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#25 of 31 Old 08-13-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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We have a son and I worry people will think this but no one has said it yet. We have a lot of male family members and some male friends. I'm glad to know of the book mentioned earlier and plan to check it out.

If anything, my side of the family (mom, namely) is pretty anti man. So sometimes I worry that that will come through and thet our little e will hear that men are bad and can;t be trusted. ( mo was left by dad after 32 years of wedded unbliss...but has always slammed men in very graphic verbally abusive ways).

We plan to limit ds contact with this side as it's not a healthy limb of the family tree.
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#26 of 31 Old 08-19-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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we have a son and i think only one person has made a negative comment - it was a sub teacher at his daycare who asked dp how it was working out with 2 women raising him. dp just looked at her and said like a normal 2 parent family!! the sub coordinator overheard the conversation and that teacher doesn't sub at his daycare any more.

our son has enough male role models - and plenty more once he's old enough to start playing sports. he is ALL boy too, full of energy, throwing his toys around to hear them bang, etc...etc... i wouldn't worry about it.

g

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#27 of 31 Old 08-19-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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i have always wondered why people think that boys need men in their lives but girls don't. i want to expose my daughter to great, loving sensitive men because i want her to know that they are out there if she winds up being straight.

i also would point out that there are men out there that you may not even know yet that can be part of your kids' lives- father's of their friends, teachers... they will turn up in your life and you will go out of your way to make the connection.
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#28 of 31 Old 08-19-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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Hello...
Congratulations first on having a healthy pregnancy - that's great news!

My partner and I have a five year old girl (who we did not find out the gender of before birth) and a 1.5 year old boy (whose male parts were unavoidable on a late-term ultrasound).

With dd, people would ask us when I was pregnant about "what we would do if it was a boy." Depending on who was asking, I had a number of responses to this question. Pretty much we had already answered all of these with my daughter, but when we found out for sure that we were having a boy, there were a few more who trickled down.

*There is a difference between boys needing male role models as they grow and develop and needing a "dad". Our children will never have a father; they have a sperm donor, a mami and a papi. My own father died while I was young. There was nothing I or my mom could do to control those circumstances and while I was a girl, I found my own male role models as I got older. None of them were my dad. If our children "need" men in their lives, then how about all the kids of divorced parents who live with their moms?

*Children need positive role models of both sexes, regardless of what sex they are. Role models are available every where in our lives if we choose to see them. Positive is a key word here. You cannot guarantee your children positive role models except in yourself. Honestly, I would be hard-pressed to come up with a list of men that I find so admirable that I would want them to present them to my son as role models; the kind of man I would like him to be.

*We interviewed a (female) pediatrician who was concerned that if we had a boy, he would need a male to talk to about masturbation and peeing. I thanked her for her time and told her that if I wasn't comfortable talking about masturbation and peeing, I shouldn't be applying for the job of parent.

*It's OK to say that you'll cross that bridge when you come to it and state that you have many wonderful people in your life to support you and your family. I also like the suggestion of asking the men in your family to step up to the plate.

On another note, I did have some grieving when my intuition about having a boy was confirmed. After hearing everything that people had said to me about me personally having a boy, about lesbians having boys, etc... I was a little scared. I do take it on as a challenge. I think that in our culture, it is now easier to teach girls to be strong and self-assured and that the real change will come about when we teach boys to be emotionally confident and communicative, gentle and self-assured without chauvanism. I also know that I love my son and that I am excited to see him grow into a man who goes out into the world with conscious eyes and a sensitive soul, just as his sister will.

Good Luck & Best Wishes,
Chance
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#29 of 31 Old 12-11-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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People automatically assume 'male role model' means a masculine male person. I usually tell people we want our son to have several different models of 'maleness' in his life. He will have relationships with masculine men, feminine men, masculine women, feminine women and lots of wonderful intermixes of all of the above! With all of these examples, he is bound to find a reflection of gender and sexuality that 'fits' the person he is becoming.
Amen, sister.

My kid will grow up surrounded by whole truck-load of queers. And if that means it's difficult for him/her/hir to come to grips with gender roles, fantastic. What's so bloody fantastic about gender roles anyway? A bunch of half-baked, noxious, divide-and-conquer, caca!

Gender is tricky for everyone to negotiate. Why raise a kid in the same "blue and pink","barbie and ken" hegemonic straight jacket we grew up in, so he can grow up confused and disillusioned.

I have heard that thrown about by my guys friends (and fantastic role-models they're going to make-oy vey!). But the research is all done by men. Probably insecure men who are already out there trying to find evidence to support their hypothesis which were built on dodgy grounds in the first place.
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#30 of 31 Old 12-11-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alienwhistler View Post
i have always wondered why people think that boys need men in their lives but girls don't.
Amen sister.

And all these people wringing their hands about lesbians or single moms and their children's lack of male role models (oh horror!), but what do you hear of boys and girls raised by single men (it happens) or gay gouples and their lack of female role models? ::crickets chirping::

What a load of baloney!

Besides my son or daughter has a male role model. Me.

So take that , heterocentric poopooheads.
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