American Girl Magazine has come under fire for publishing a story featuring an 11-year-old girl with two dads. The magazine, targeted at young girls and owned by monolith Mattel, published an article about the charity work done by 11-year-old Amaya and her family. A group claiming to represent 1 million extremely conservative moms is now going off into nonsensical Bible-thumping homophobia, saying that the magazine is “promoting sin.”
Really, do we have to talk about this? I don’t know, man. Gay people exist…like, we are here. One Million Moms says that American Girl could have written the story about any other child with heterosexual parents in order to “stay neutral in the culture war.”
Okay, but there is no war except the one you are insistent on fighting. I don’t think that this family thought about themselves as sharpening the blades on their bow and arrows when they decided to smile for the picture.
It’s also a little depressing that acknowledging gay people and non-hetero families is considered “not neutral.” I’m reminded once again that for some of us, just existing in and of itself is a political stance.
Also, the story was not, “HEY, HERE IS THIS KID, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY HERE ARE HER TWO GAY DADS.” No one is shoving gay pride flags down your throat. The dads don’t pop out of the magazine’s glossy pages riding unicorns and painting rainbows all over everything, although admittedly that sounds pretty sick.
The story was not even about her parents being gay, that was just a coincidental non sequitur. The story was about the charity work done by Amaya and her family. Did you catch that? The story is about Amaya. Not her raging homo family.
The story is about Amaya’s journey from being a foster child to finding a home, and about the work she does to support foster children. She and her siblings were adopted, as was one of her dads. The family works together to put together care packages for children moving between foster homes. Pretty cool, right?
As someone who has two dads myself, it’s hard to muster more than an eye roll in response to this. I don’t know why people think it’s more violent to casually mention the existence of non-normative families than it is to openly shame and stigmatize those families. I think that children are so sensitive to difference and I know that, even if people were “so cool with” my dad being gay, I felt othered. I never knew if people’s reactions would be okay or not and when I was younger, I didn’t have the sense of agency to stand up for myself or just ignore people in the way that I do now. I was lucky enough to have a lot of other privileges, but it’s something that I remember and carry with me.
Having had a journey with foster care and adoption, too, I’m sure that the sense of kinship is really important to this family, and it’s more than really lame for these “one million moms” to slam whatever meager sense of peace this family unit has managed to carve out for themselves in the midst of our sick sad world.
Photos courtesy of American Girl Magazine.
More from BUST