17 October 2011

Book Review: Gay Dads

David Strah is a New York City resident who is a gay father and a writer. He wrote this book based on his experiences as a gay dad with his partner Barry.

This is definitely not an academic book and everything about gay fatherhood in the U.S. One of the benefits of being gay is that most gay men do not have accidental children. However, the mystery of the accidental child reappears in the wholly arbitrary process of social workers, adoption agencies, lawyers and government officials.

It's clear that not every person should be a parent. This is true for both biological parents and prospective adoptive parents. At one point, the inquiry regarding adoption was that it was a benefit to childless parents. Now, we look at adoption as what is in the best interest of the child.

But this is quite a subjective analysis that is loaded with tremendous social implications. Art. 185 of the Family Code requires that "Husband and wife must jointly adopt, except in the following cases: (1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child; or (2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other."

This provision, for intracounty adoptions in the Philippines, limits adoptions by gay men to those that are married to women. However, it is possible for an unmarried gay man in many other countries to adopt a Philippine child through an intercountry adoption so long as he is "eligible to adopt under his/her national law." Sec 9 of RA 8043.

What a strange sort of discrepancy in the law. It is much more complicated and expensive to complete an intercountry adoption. How funny this strange sort of discrepancy is. What does this really tell us about our country? Especially if you look at the fact that the standard for adoptions is the best interest of the child. How is only married parents for intracountry adoptions in the best interest of the child, where other forms of parenting are not -- except if the child leaves the country? Is the standard the best interest of the child or the best interest in the integrity of outdated, reactionary public policy on marriage in our country?

This book does not address any of those issues. Rather, it focuses on the stories of how men of varying backgrounds who feel the call to be a parent go through different trials and tribulations to become parents.

The version I read was a 270 page paperback published by Tarcher/Penguin (2003), ISBN-10:1585423335. It is written in English. The lowest price I found online was used at abebooks.com.


  1. I can see why you'd want those questions to be answered. I have my own. Does it say anything about if your dads are bakla then you become bakla too?

  2. no and actually it sort of avoids that issue like the plague. in my narrow view of the world, however, it is much more likely for someone who is secretly gay but living the life of a straight person to make gay children than it is for a secure gay man to make their children gay. this is especially true if the child is fostered or adopted after those first couple of years.