People of color often face discrimination based on how they look. Donor-conceived children of color are not excluded from this phenomenon. Having parents or a parent who has faced similar discrimination can help children understand the world around them and what it means to be a person of color. Parents who do not have a similar background may need assistance preparing and/or supporting their child when they are faced with discrimination. We encourage our recipients to consider how they will handle having a child who may face discrimination based on their race or ethnicity, and whether their extended family and community will be able to positively support their child.
Thoughts from Kalisto Zenda Nanen, an adult transracial adoptee:
“… my white parents approached race with me with caution. It’s like the ally rule, [we] can only go so far in our understanding of a life [we] don’t live. It wasn’t until I became an adult [and] got seriously involved in social justice that I got to a point of understanding my race”.
For some parents, choosing a donor who shares their ethnicity helps avoid an additional layer of discrimination against the family and child who may already face homophobia and/or questions about who their parents are and why they don’t have “a dad.” Other families may face discrimination in the form of ignorance around male infertility or single parenting and forming family with the assistance of a donor. Sharing ethnicity helps in day-to-day interactions with the world, including the child being questioned less about who their ‘real’ parents are.
– ”My one tip to give to a queer couple who wants to start a family is to be very aware of how race and gender play into things, at the playground, at the store, on the bus. Our family is a transracial family [through adoption]. I’m Asian, my son is black, and my partner is white. People make assumptions based on race and gender, even in our own LGBT community. Race shouldn’t matter, but it does. And it cuts both ways. A lot of African-Americans, oftentimes just strangers on the street, show us a lot of love and concern for my son’s well-being and safety. But others have asked where is my son’s mother and who are his ‘real’ parents. My son says, ‘My two dads are my real parents.’ At Brooklyn’s Gay Pride Festival, I was talking to some friends, and my son, who was 4 at the time, got away from me and climbed into one of those gold carts for emergencies. One volunteer, an African-American lesbian, told my son, ‘Oh, no, baby, you can’t be there. Where’s your mommy?’ I dashed over with my diaper bag in one hand and baby toys in the other… As I approached, she looked around me, asking, ‘Where’s your mommy? Where’s your mommy?’ When I got there, I looked her straight in the eye and said ‘I’m his mommy [and with a flick of a snap said] Happy Gay Pride.’ We both laughed, but again, race and gender assumptions are very real even in our own LGBT community.”
~ Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, taken from 10 Tips for Starting Families From Families Who’ve Been There