Max Mutchnick is the co-creator of that little show called Will & Grace. He’s also a gay dad: He and his husband Erik Hyman (newlyweds!) have twin girls. Adorable! So what’s it like to travel with your same-sex partner and have to explain the makings of your not-exactly-typical family to a Transportation Security Administration official at airport security with a whole line of passengers waiting for you to step through that damn X-ray machine?
Can you imagine if you had to deal with indignity of having to explain your family? Even worse, proving that your biological daughter was yours?
So this is what really happened.
I stood shoeless in front of the metal detector. Rose was in my arms. Her mouth open just a tiny bit and her eyes as wide as they’ve ever been in her hundred and thirty five days of life. Behind me was my husband. He held Evan. (Evan is also girl. See first paragraph).
The TSA guard said it like he was talking to a prisoner. I did as I was told. My husband followed. He held a baby in one arm and four business class tickets in the other. The guard looked at the tickets, then looked at us, then looked at the tickets.
She is. I’m Max, this is Erik and that’s Evan. Rose’s sister.
“Evan’s a girl?”
Yeah. All the kids with kids are doing it.
A moment of silence. Rage started to well up inside of me in anticipation of the next question this giant with a badge was going to ask me. How was this man going to insult my family? In what way would he make me explain my difference?
This is what he said:
“Where did you get them?”
“Where did you get your kids?”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a hideously offensive question, but implicit in what he was saying was the fact that we were the dads and they were our daughters. Progress! Progress from a moron. But progress nonetheless. I was feeling some love for the TSA Giant.
I made them.
This threw him, but I had his attention. And there in the middle of LAX with a line snaking to the front door of the airport I began to explain Gestational Surrogacy.
There’s a donor. She gives us the eggs. We never meet her. She is not the “mom”.
There is no mom. There’s a surrogate. She’s the oven. (Giants prefer short sentences with small words). My husband and I (the Giant winced) fertilized four eggs. They went inside the surrogate. Two of the eggs took. Fraternal twins were born 8 months and two weeks later. One of them was biologically his. One of them was biologically mine. But they’re both ours, you know?
“You can do that?”
You can, Giant.
He wanted to ask more and I wanted to tell him more. But alas a plane trip was waiting with loving grandparents at the other end.