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Politics of "Abused and abandoned" Children

homophobia is not the only ill of the adoption discourse

Forum: tgpoc list
Date: 01/30/2004

On 1/30/04 9:13 AM, "Wivel" wrote:

The latest bill to include his sponsorship (HB 358) would prohibit adoption and foster care in a home where a parent is homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered. What a shame that Mr. Harmon considers it a priority to limit the opportunities of homeless, parentless, abused, or otherwise disadvantaged children to live in a loving home with a caring and responsible adult. This piece of legislation goes beyond any moral agenda to spread hurt and hate at the expense of innocent and abandoned children.

I agree with the idea that potential adoptive or foster parents should not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, but I don't like the sound of this paragraph at all.

I don't like how this paragraph mirrors the dominant social perception of children being "abused" and "abandoned" by their parents when in reality they are often being abducted by the State for what the child welfare agency calls "neglect"--i.e. parents being unable to provide enough supervision, food, medical care, and other basic needs due to poverty, homelessness, "workfare" requirements, (anti-)immigration laws, war on drugs, and the prison industry.

The paragraph blames these parents for being less than loving, caring or responsible when we as the society continuously fail to provide what it takes for poor families, especially poor famlies of colour to remain together--but of course it's nothing new, because the United States of America has been splitting families of colour ever since the time of colonial expansion and slavery. George W. Bush is giving millions of dollars in upper and middle-class welfare disguised as tax credits to encourage well-off families to foster or adopt the abducted children, and somehow we don't have the money to help poor families to spend quality time with their children and to provide them with basic needs in the first place? What kind of family values is that?

I feel that some queers view children as commodities and for them it's all the better that there is a virtually unlimited supply of "abandoned and abused" children for them to pick from. But we can't call for justice in how the State makes decisions on potential foster or adoptive parents without also calling for justice in how the State makes decisions on when it steps in to take the children away, because they are both about the State regulating who is fit to be parents. If the State cannot be automatically trusted in this decision because of its history of homophobia and transphobia, it also cannot be trusted because of its history of colonialism and economic repression.

Some articles folks might be interested in reading:

Emi K.

-- * Putting the Emi back in Feminism since 1975.