So I wrote to the ABC. This is the second time this year. I can’t stand the whitewashing of the human rights violations going on here.
“I am sad to say that after many years my family will no longer be watching Play School. This decision is in relation to the airing of the two dads segment which has been getting some media. My problem is not the gay dads – this can start off a respectful discussion about sexuality with my children. My problem is your presentation of the girls. They are effectively a misleading advertisement for exploitative and oppressive practices. I am referring to the reproductive technologies and unethical practices required to supply gay men with the children they want.
The absence of a mother in this scenario is notable to my children and probably many others. But on the whole, this generation of children is being trained not to ask where the mother is. They are not allowed to mention this because someone may be offended or worse, call them bigots.
This couple probably used anonymous egg donation, thereby making the girls’ genetic mother invisible and unknown. Then they would have used a surrogate. If it was an international surrogacy arrangement, the exploitation is clear. Women don’t do it unless they desperately need money. The poverty and inequality is glaring – but Playschool won’t show that.
Or perhaps they were adopted. The exploitation and commercial basis of international adoption is now well known, and countries around the world are one by one closing their doors to international adoption. If locally adopted, the separation and oppression issues remain the same. Women rarely relinquish their babies now – instead, the state removes them and gives them to infertile couples. And of course money always changes hands in the process; lawyers, doctors, adoption agencies.
The separation of mother and baby at birth is so widely practiced now, and given such glamorous airtime by the constant stream of happy celebrity surrogacy stories. But science has shown us very clearly how mothers and their babies need to be together for all kinds of biological and psychological reasons. And the groundswell of adoptees, now adults, who are courageously speaking out about their loss, grief and trauma – even those raised by loving, attentive adoptive parents – are the living confirmation of the rock solid science of the mother-child dyad. They have suffered from mental illness, suicide, depression, anxiety, and ‘genetic bewilderment’ (a term that I think downplays the importance of kin, place, genetic identity, and unconditional love).
But they have been and continue to be silenced. Your Playschool segment is part of the silencing. In solidarity with these people who have endured so much in silence, I refuse to nod and smile like almost everyone else when confronted with a “happy” family built out of white privilege and vanished mothers. Of course the girls are happy now, and especially when being filmed for Playschool – they will not question the couple who are responsible for their welfare and safety, and of course they will love their ‘dads’. But these girls may not be happy forever. Girls need their mothers, and theirs were deliberately taken from them. Eventually they will want to know why, and they may not be satisfied with the explanation of “family diversity”.
Up to this point, I have merely made a complaint. But now I ask a question. Why has the ABC aired a segment which celebrates the denial of the human rights of children? Children have a right to remain with and be raised by their mothers according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Australia is a signatory to this convention.
I will go so far as to say that this segment convinces the viewers (children themselves) that people denied their human rights should be perfectly happy about it, even grateful, and that the only real problem (now happily solved in your segment) is that the men couldn’t have their own children. Children need to know that nobody has a right to another person.
The ABC champions human rights for many other oppressed groups. I implore the ABC to consider also championing the rights of adoptees and other children who are denied their parents. I beg you to consider the white privilege, the poverty and exploitation, and the mainstream media’s ignorance of surrogacy and adoption. Please give airtime and voice to the real experts on adoption and surrogacy. The real experts are not the lawyers, brokers, doctors, or adults who want children, but adoptees and children of surrogacy who are now adults themselves.”