Today is LGBTQ Families Day. A Day to celebrate families in all their forms, from same-sex parents to trans kids. I believe LGBTQ families are the future. We are the biggest growing group of adopters and more and more LGBTQ people become parents every day. Whether it’s through adoption, sperm or egg donation or becoming step-parents.
We’re Not All Mums and Dads
I am an afab non-binary/genderfluid bisexual. I’m not the birth parent but I am no less my son’s parent. As a non-binary person, I am comfortable with any and all pronouns, I don’t actually have a preference but I do call myself my son’s mum. I’m not his dad, I am his mum.
There are a couple of reasons for this. One is my own complicated relationship with my dad. I’ve spent most of my adult life desperately trying not to be him so becoming ‘dad’ feels like a step backwards in that regards. Another is that it aligns with my sex and as a person in a same-sex relationship I think it’símportant to stand up for my rights to be the mum. To make having two mums or two dads normal and this is my way of doing.
But not all parents are mums or dads, and that’s actually true for a lot of families around the countries.
My son doesn’t call me mummy. On occasion, he will but he actually calls me Bow. I don’t know where it came from but it’s settled and he’s happy with it and that’s what’s important to me. I’ve gone from podge mummy to bow at home too and I don’t mind. Whatever the parents are called, as long as everyone is happy that’s what’s ímportant.
That’s what should be respected.
Use whatever words fit, whatever labels fit, and make sure people respect those labels.
We’re Not Perfect Either
We fight, we fail, we fumble. LGBTQ families are no different to any other family. We love greatly, inclusively, but we have fears like every other parent.
It’s always been my stance that whatever makes me different, makes us different is down to personality, not gender or sexuality. Same goes for families. My parenting style is different to that of my neighbours, my sisters, my own mother, but that is down to personality more than anything else. Though I suspect my parenting style won’t be that much different from my own mums.
The method of having children is different but once we have them everything is the same. From the basic physical stuff to the emotional development. We’re families just get any cis-het family. We consist of single parents, two-parent families, adopted children, blended families and divorced families.
We’re down the school gates and trying to remember everything on the shopping list and posting pictures on facebook for the grandparents.
And our kids are cis, het, LGBTQ too and trying to navigate through school and friends and video games the same as the neighbour’s kids. Well, not my kid, he’s not even two. Mostly he’s navigating cats and bananas.
LGBTQ Families Aren’t About Biology
My mother always told me you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family and that’s not true. You can’t choose who you’re related to but you can choose your family.
RuPaul preaches this a lot on Drag Race and it’s part of the reason LGBTQ so often gravitate to one another. We create our own families because we so often don’t fit in the ones we were raised in. And still, too often, LGBTQ are ostracised and disowned by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally.
That’s why LGBTQ families are made up of all sorts of people who become momas, and papas, uncles and aunts. We adopt those terms, take them from the people that hurt us and give them to people who deserve them. We often create our own families from the LGBTQ people around us.
I’ve been lucky, I definitely don’t fit in with my family in a lot of ways but I’ve always been accepted and loved by them. And I’m far from the only LGBTQ person in my family. I have created my own Queer Little Family but I am in no way cut off from my family. It’s just that I do feel a little different to some of my extended family.
It’s more my personality than sexuality.
My mum often told me the “You can choose your friends and not your family,” phrase when we’d had a rough time dealing with our dad, or she had struggled to deal with her brothers and sisters. What she didn’t realise is that in moving 142 miles away from her family, prioritising her relationship and her children over her family, and choosing friends who loved her and nurtured her was choosing a family. A family she created.
For anyone struggling with their family right now, there are people out there who love you and will be your family. You will find them eventually.