What you need to know
Jay Lin shares four questions out of the many asked at a Hewlett-Packard company luncheon at which employees gathered to interact with two gay parents.
I had the pleasure this week of sharing at a corporate brown bag luncheon, where about 80 HP (Hewlett-Packard) employees gathered to interact with two gay parents: one mother and one father (me). I enjoyed engaging with the curious audience who are in their 20s to 40s; some are married with children and there were also a few who were openly gay. We laughed through the many questions — a great deal of which were about child rearing — and here are some I thought others might be curious to learn about as well:
Is it possible for gays to adopt in Taiwan?
Before embarking on surrogacy, I looked into adoption here in Taiwan. While it is not illegal, single people have a very low possibility, practically none, of successful adoption. LGBT people — even ones committed to long-term, stable relationships and who are able to provide a warm and loving home for children — are de facto bypassed for consideration because they are not married. Roughly 300 children are adopted each year in Taiwan, and half of them are adopted overseas.
How did you become a gay father?
In California, surrogates can help intended parents legally become actual parents. My surrogate gave birth to my twins in California, and before returning to Taiwan, I had a California court order and birth certificates stipulating that I am the sole parent of the twins.
But when I tried registering the twins into the Taiwan household registration system, I was required to assert in writing that the "mom" (surrogate) had intentionally abandoned her own children and that I was therefore adopting my own children as a single parent.
Who plays the father and who plays the mother in a gay household?
I grew up in an environment where both my parents were the caretakers of the home as well as the breadwinners outside, so I never associated particular traits or roles as something only a father or mother should do. I also admire single parents who do whatever it takes to make it all happen.
Powerful role models surround my life, including women, family members, bosses, colleagues, teachers and so on. In these people and others they will meet in their lives, I’m sure my twins will find people to look up to. I hope as we progress into a more equal society, we can gradually move away from traditional notions of what it takes to be a good dad or mom and focus on what makes a good parent.
Children tend to mimic parents. Do you think your sexual orientation will pass to your children?
I am gay. The egg donor is gay. The surrogate is gay. I don't know if my children will be gay or straight, and it won't be my focus as it is just genetics. One thing I do know though is that my mom is straight, my dad is straight, and all my siblings are straight but I turned out gay. If my children turn out gay, I will be able to make sure they can be true to their sexual identity and won’t have to be ashamed of who they are; if they turn out straight, then we will teach them to respect and embrace diversity, including different sexual orientation. We want to raise the twins to be proud, happy, engaged human beings who can relate to and respect all people.
I’m looking forward to more international and local companies that will take the initiative to engage in the kind of exchange I had the pleasure to participate in at HP. I know there are many who would be happy to share their thoughts and experiences because who wouldn't want to build bridges of understanding and empathy?
Check out below the latest video on Jay’s website, GagaTai, featuring two gay parents and their children.
Editor: Olivia Yang