My friend Dan Savage chimes in:
I feel for Bruce Bawer ...but try coming back into the US from Europe with your partner and your adopted child.
DJ is, as you know, a quick kid. He spends a lot of time around adults, he's not oblivious, he can read adults. And we go to Canada and/or Europe at least twice a year. I can't tell you the number of times we've had passport and/or customs officials literally and audibly scoff when we tell them DJ is our son -- you know, that "uusssggghhhh" sound people make when they're told something they don't believe or are offended by, a cross between groaning and clearing your throat.
We've had passport control officers roll their eyes, glare at us, look down at DJ and slowly shake their heads. And DJ understands everything -- these people, these people in US government uniforms, think we did something wrong by adopting him. That there's something illegitimate about his family.
The worst part, of course, is that we can't say anything. We can't defend ourselves or him or his family as we're insulted and demeaned because God only knows what will happen if we get into an argument.
So you know what we've told him since he began to understand the scoffing and eye rolling and disgusted looks? That these people work for George W. Bush, and that George W. Bush doesn't approve of gay families, and he hires assholes that feel the same way. They're George W. Bush's employees -- that's why they treat us like that.
What are we going to use for an excuse after Bush is out of office?
Whether it's fair to demonize George W. Bush in this way, it certainly seems to me that this is exactly the intention of the Christianist right in crafting policies that are designed to ensure that the children of gay parents are constantly reminded of their illegitimacy. Just as the HIV immigration exclusion is designed to make people with HIV feel ashamed of their illness when they come and go. It maddens me to think of, say, Jenna Bush or Laura Bush sympathizing with African women with HIV - when their husband and father supports a policy that makes the U.S. an active stigmatizer of those very women in immigration. The point of this policy is to stigmatize those with HIV. That was Jesse Helms' intention, and he was the one who crafted the policy Bush maintains.