Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day, 1st June 2017
Whilst out on a pre-schooler play date last week, I overheard my daughter’s friend ask her mum ‘Why does S have two mummies?’ My ears pricked up from a distance, and her mother seemed to be a bit flustered by the question. She laughed it off with an ambiguous answer that left her daughter none the wiser. Her daughter didn’t request a clearer answer and the subject was forgotten.
This is one of the first times another child has asked directly about why S is different to many of her peers. The question from her friend was asked with curiosity, and it was nice to hear that she had started noticing, and taking an interest in, families other than her own. As I was technically eavesdropping, I did not need to be involved in the conversation between mother and daughter, nor feel frustrated by her difficulty in answering the question.
However, it did make me think about how often our daughters will be faced with these sorts of questions, and how well equipped they will feel to answer them. Our eldest has already asked us ‘why don’t I have a daddy?’; an inevitable question when everywhere our daughters look they are faced with families that have a mother and a father. We have explained that some people have two mums, some have two dads, some have a mummy and a daddy, some only have a mummy… and on and on until we have featured every relative or carer we can think of to show that they are not the only ones who don’t fit the ‘normal family mould’ on TV, in books, comics or films. We have bought a few alternative family books which our girls enjoy, but they are no match for the constant onslaught of normal family media they experience. Luckily we have a built up a network of other two-mum families, so I hope that as our girls grow they will recognise that they are not the only ones.
Until now children, seem to have accepted our family in that lovely way that children have of accepting individual differences in people without any animosity. We are surrounded by our lovely family and friends, and since the arrival of our children we haven’t ventured back to a gay bar. I therefore haven’t had much experience of what it is like to be out and proud (on the scene) recently, and whether acceptance within society has changed much in this hiatus. It won’t be until our children go to school that they will be obliged to answer questions about their family without our help or guidance. I believe that a young child’s opinions are a second hand version of their parent’s (or carer’s) beliefs. And so ultimately the acceptance that our children experience in the playground will come as a result of whether or not their classmates have been taught to be accepting of those who are different to them. We have seen great changes over the last few years and have always felt accepted as a family, and so I hope that things will only continue to improve and that our children will feel accepted and liked for who they are as individuals.
Until then, we will continue to equip them with the knowledge to understand their background and the tools to explain it to their friends, if they want to.
What have you done to help your children explain their background? Let me know below or tweet me @workinglife2016.
If you would like to blog for LGBTQ Families Day, head across to https://www.mombian.com/blogging-for-lgbtq-families-day/.