A post by Roy Youldous Rosenzweig from International Surrogacy Company Tammuz, went viral on Israeli Family Day (formerly known as Mother’s Day) that took place last Sunday. In a moving post, Roy describes his longing for a family and the dreadful fear of not having one because he’s gay.
Roy Rosenweig (left) with his partner Ur and their Eliva and Liri
Memory #1: I am 8 years old, in my room, crying. My father comes in and asks what’s wrong. I find it difficult to express it in words, but in the end I tell him that I understand that one day I will be all alone. “Don’t worry,” he replies, “me and Mom are not going anywhere, we’re here with you for years to come, and besides, when you grow up you’ll have a family of your own.” I calm down.
Memory #2: I’m 17, in a club, confused. All my friends have found a girl to make out with and I’m just looking at some guy in the far corner. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, who am I, and especially what will happen to me in the future. On the horizon there’s no one like me: no actor, no singer, not a TV host nor inspiring politician. Along with the confusion and helplessness of keeping the secret from myself and the world, I find time to worry about the future as well. I’m positive that my greatest fear is going to come true: I’ll end up being alone.
Memory #3: I’m 21 years old, at home, pulse at 200. I tell Mom that I like men. She hugs me and says she’s always with me, no matter what. She’s sorry I didn’t tell her sooner and that I had to deal with it by myself. Two days later, my father returns home from abroad, and I call him into the room and tell him that I am in love with a guy and that I’m probably gay. Following the hug and the tears, he raises the question, “how will you have a family? kids?” and I answer without thinking too much about how: “I’ll be a father, you’ll see.”
Memory #4: I am 33 years old, in Bangkok Thailand. Outside the delivery room. After two years of surrogacy, four failed fertilization attempts, three egg donors, months and months of waiting, headaches, stress, excitement, disappointments, money spending and expectations, I am going to be a father. Next to me was my partner Uri and my mother who accompanied us to support and help in the first few days. My father in Israel supports, especially emotionally but financially as well, and with him the whole family. A few minutes later, Eliya and Liri are being born. I’m a father.
My journey to parenthood was anything but obvious. Like many other gay parents, it was a dream come true against all odds. Like them, for years I grew up with almost complete understanding that I would be alone in the end, childless, lonely. Apart from the fear of alienation, homophobia, and loneliness in the present, the fear of loneliness in the future was constantly hovering, the how the hell am I going to have a family.
I was able to become a father only because I was born at the right time. Too many gay men who were born a little while before me, when there were no opportunities to become parents in an LGBT household, simply missed the bus, and were forced to give up parenting or formed a family out of constraint rather than out of love.
I know that many gay men choose not to have children today. They are happy with themselves or with their partners without children and I respect their decision and perception, but it still seems that the dream of parenting is the great and true dream of the gay man. This is like the Promised Land that until a few years ago we had no access to, and on the way it’s also provides us a full entrance ticket into the general society. But that’s just the bonus.
The moment when I realized that I had a family somewhere in faraway Thailand was the moment of a great victory for me. The moment when, contrary to all expectations, I became Father. The journey to parenthood pushed aside other ambitions: professional, aspiring career, etc. But it was worth everything.
It is precisely for this reason that we will continue to build families, in spite of the opposition of the State of Israel. Father and father and mother and mother, co-parenting, single parenting, traditional families and new families of various kinds. No minister, no Knesset member, no rabbi nor a commenter on the Internet can stand up to the desire to realize something so basic and essential in our life here. This is also why the Israeli Knesset will ultimately have to decide on the issue of surrogacy and allow everyone to become parents, to stop this despicable discrimination against hundreds of people who want to live in love and raise a family. Preventing someone from starting a family is unfair, miserable, too cruel.
Memory 5: Yesterday, I am 37 years old, in the living room, assembling a puzzle with Liri and Eliya. Uri makes meatballs in the kitchen. This is my family. My greatest pride in the world.
Happy family day!