Psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere is very sorry he said having gay kids was the “worst nightmare” for both straight and gay parents on CNN. Please allow him to apologize!
A segment on one mother’s defense of her son’s Daphne/Scooby Doo Halloween costume had Gardere opining on the proper way to raise children, where — besides telling mom Sarah that she shouldn’t have outed her kid on the Internet — told viewers “it is the worst nightmare of both the heterosexual and the gay couples to have to fathom that their child may be gay.” Oops! Gardere now says he takes “full and total complete responsibility ” for his poor choice of words and that he feels “horrible” about it. Just like parents with gay kids!
“What the full statement should have been and what I always say because I do work with straight and gay parents, it is a real issue for them because they are afraid, and this is the part I didn’t say and what I should have said, and you can go back and research it and you’ll see that I’ve said it in every other place,” he tells AfterElton. “And that is my fault and I accept complete responsibility for not saying that. Those parents, even gay parents say it, as controversial as that will sound, do not want their children to have to deal with the pain and the isolation and a lot of the emotional trauma that they have to go through as far as coming to terms with their sexuality. They know that they went through it and they prefer that their kids not go through it. And that’s what the full statement should have been.”
As for telling Sarah — Halloween’s most awesome mother — that she did a disservice to her five-year-old boy for speculating that he might be gay, Gardere says, “It was never my intention to criticize this mother. I think what she did as far as supporting her child and allowing him to express himself in anyway possible is 100% admirable. I think at this point in our history this is what more people need to be able to do, to step up in that way.”
So next time Gardere will phrase his words better. Or say nothing at all.
What’s clear from Gardere’s apology, and his previous psychological work (dude is a big time, nationally known head doc), is that he does not actually think malicious things about gay children, or homosexuality, or parents who embrace their children’s otherness. So we needn’t attach the hatemonger label to him. But for a man who is so used to speaking publicly about childhood psychology, one would expect he’s well rehearsed in choosing appropriate language.
In the meantime, Sarah appeared on Today this morning to continue telling her story: