David Shneer, his partner Gregg, and their friend Caryn are a “three-parent, two-house, one-home family” getting ready to bring a new life into the world. As you can read in his piece, “My Big Fat Queer Jewish Family,” their lifestyle choices haven’t always been met with rapturous applause. Much to his chagrin, the number one question he’s receiving is “Which one of you is the father?”
I never understood the power of biology quite so starkly as when I began the process of building my family. I’ve always encouraged others to think about family in new ways and to emphasize that family members are the people who care for one another, who create webs of mutual interdependence upon which the others rely. At first when people would ask, “Which one of you is the real father?” I’d play dumb, pretending that I didn’t really understand the question. “We’re both the dads, of course.” But the inevitable “clarification” would follow. “I mean, which one of you is the real dad, the biological dad?”
I had to do everything possible not to get bent out of shape that the world into which I was bringing a child was still so dominated by the idea that a sperm and an egg make a family. So, I would usually tell people that it was none of their business.
When Caryn, Gregg, and I embarked on the road of co-parenting, we knew that we were going to be put under the microscope by the people around us who were curious about what we were doing. I love curious people. That’s why I became a professor. Curiosity is what sparks creativity and the advancement of knowledge. Curiosity can be harnessed to create social change. Curiosity is what builds intimacy.
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