So, while it's nice to be known for something other than my unusual conception and birth, the reality is ...
You Become A Weird Symbol/Political Tool Forever
I did my first international medical conference at 10, because I wanted the chance to speak on my own behalf. Of course, as a 10 year old, my conference paper was more "I like The X-Files and Good News Week and think my parents are good" and less of the academic analysis on the psychological effects of surrogacy the 2,000-plus doctors were probably hoping for. By that time, I had already had a couple of articles published on the matter, but it wasn't until I was 12 or 13 that I did my first conference overseas and had my first peer-reviewed journal article published in a respectable journal. Unsurprisingly, it still sucked, but it was reassuring to the medical community and potential parents that surrogacy didn't create the monsters religious fanatics prophesied.
At some point, around age 20, I realized that when I'm asked to speak at conferences, they're never actually interested in me. All I did in this process was show up at the end and not be (too) weird. The prospective parents just see me as decorative hope. I'm there to be the one they prepared earlier and prove that at the end of this expensive emotional roller coaster, things usually end happily. While the lack of interest in me as a person bothered me for a little while, I get it now. I'm preparing to have my own kids using donor sperm, and I get wanting to make sure there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Alice Kirkman / Instagram
My light: riding a motherfucking tank and knowing my future children can, too.
When the surrogacy law reforms were being debated in parliament here in 2008 (surrogacy wasn't mentioned in our laws when I was born in 1988, but was outlawed soon after), I would go there to watch and be available for any MPs that had questions. Some of the gay parents there asked me not to mention to anyone that I was gay until after the law had been passed. They didn't want to scare any MPs off from voting, because maybe they might think surrogacy makes you gay or whatever. I kind of understand their fear -- there weren't any straight examples yet, and there's nothing a conservative politician fears more than a gay atheist created by science.
For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Awful Lessons I Learned Living With A Mystery Illness and 5 Horrifying Things Real Dead Bodies Do (Too Weird For TV).
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