Dervla Murphy on gay adoption

While sail-railing from London to Dublin yesterday, I read Dervla Murphy’s ‘The Island that Dared: Journeys in Cuba‘.

Discussing revolutionary Cuba’s infamous homophobia and a recent proposal to extend family rights, including adoption rights, to gay Cubans, Murphy announces the following:

“It must be admitted that I, if Cuban, would oppose the adoption clause. Growing up in the twenty-first century will be confusing enough without having unisex parents.”

Casual dismissal of LGBT rights (for the sake of the children, naturally!) is always something of a kick in the teeth. Coming from Murphy, who was widely criticised for choosing single motherhood in 1960s Ireland, the hypocrisy is especially galling. Murphy was and remains (quite rightly) defiant about her own non-traditional family. It’s so disappointing that she can’t extend so much as understanding to couples facing almost identical prejudice and intolerance.

Incidentally, her daughter Rachel (not just raised by a single parent, but brought trekking in India at five) appears in ‘Island that Dared’, aged 36 and with three daughters of her own. She seems well-adjusted and content with her lot, as the children of loving parents generally are.


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