AS A QUEER ECOLOGIST, I’d like to say something about population. But I cannot. What I would say if it were permissible is that, as queer people who want families, we are uniquely positioned to raise and develop the multitudes of the neglected and unwanted. Yes, cleaning up the procreative messes of straight people sounds unsavory—particularly in the light of the 2016 election—but altruism of this nature carries a measurable ecological weight.
If it were discussable, I would share the stories of my contra-sexed and coupled friends who tell me that, if their truth be told, they’re terrified to have children. They recognize that modern parenthood is based more upon market consumerism and human ego than upon securing some imagined brighter future.
Let me say to all such couples: come with my partner David and me, and we’ll spend our lives drinking wine from local vineyards, growing food in our backyards, playing music, walking in parks with stray dogs, and designing small, sexy, efficient homes while enjoying more evening sunlight and windstorms and bird migrations. We’ll stop buying one another useless gifts for hollow made-up occasions. We’ll indulge our senses for no reason at all, at any time we like, never beholden to absurdly explained, consumption-based justifications. There’ll be no need for greeting cards, gift certificates, or specialty cakes baked by bigots (or not baked by them).
One is not allowed to say that most parents are incompetent and many of their kids are zombies. I can’t say these things because I’m just some gay guy who can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a parent. Criticizing parents and their children is like telling people to stop breathing because you’re annoyed with the mouth noises they make. I can’t say these things because of God and Republicans and capitalism and because of Macy’s and Disney and Coca-Cola and every company that automatically defaults to the imago of the family as the single most effective means to sell a product. I can’t say these things because I believe in politically protected, procreative personal choice and self-determination.
But because people like me cannot say these things and be taken seriously, there is no serious conversation taking place around the damaging effects of today’s reproductive cultures. I’m just some self-centered white guy who has sex with other guys like myself while we spend a lot of money on organic produce, drink more than we should at Sunday brunch, and experience pleasure for no reason at all. Gay men like me have no reproductive value. Our sexual efforts amount to nothing. And that is precisely the point: that is what just might save the planet. Nothing. We need more humans engaged in more activities, sexual and otherwise, that amount to nothing.