What it’s Like to be Raised by Same-Sex Parents
Being raised by same-sex parents is becoming more and more common in Britain today. Society has become more welcoming towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) parents and opinions have changed drastically over the past few years, making it easier for them to adopt or foster. However, children with LGBTQ parents still may experience a different childhood compared to their peers with heterosexual parents.
We interviewed Maisie, a girl who was raised by two women, on her experience having same-sex parents. We realised that there were many differences between her upbringing and those of her peers with heterosexual parents. She revealed that the main difference was how she was treated due to ‘the stigma attached to the relationship and the ways society perceives them.’ She talked about how having two female parents affected her experience and how lesbianism is fetishized so she would receive sexual comments regarding her parents. Her experience of being raised by two women was made strange only by the comments made by other people. She said, ‘I think, regardless of the gender of your parents, there are going to be differences between what people think is the ‘right’ way to parent’.
Her experience at school was affected by the fact that she had two mums. She told us that people often assumed that she was a lesbian, due to her upbringing.
On the subject of peers, Maisie would explain her background in different ways depending on how she thought they would react. She found that she would tell some friends casually, but if they came from religious cultures her approach was different. For example she said, ‘I had a close friend who was a traveller and I recall being worried about telling her in case she no longer wanted to be friends. In that case I underestimated her, she didn’t care and we continued as normal.’ This both shows the potential that the LGBTQ community can be treated as equals in society, but also the extensive variety of reactions to the topic that people still hold.
When inviting friends over to her house, Maisie was unconcerned about how they would react as she would typically invite friends that were very close to her already. However, she continued by saying that she thought the friends she had over may have possibly felt strange about the situation.
Studies have shown that children with two mums seem to be more confident than those raised by a mum and a dad*. Maisie’s view on the statement was that she would like to believe that she was more confident as she knew that being with a male was not necessary. She thought of having a male partner as ‘a decision you make if and when you meet someone who ticks the right boxes.’ This way of thinking has boosted her confidence and due to this she is content without a man in her life. After being asked if she ever wished that she had a father to look up to, Maisie responded, ‘There is an argument that same-sex families don’t cater to both sexes of children in terms of role models, and this may have been a concern if I were male but I don’t see it as an issue either way. I believe, if anything, it could only really be a good thing to have same-sex parents.’ She reasoned that she had father figures, external to her family anyway, so there wasn’t a loss.
Maisie ended the interview by saying, ‘It takes a lot of courage to be open about your sexuality and identity and the aspects of it that you can’t change so I find it admirable and inspirational. I wouldn’t change my mothers for the world.’
- Palak & Vamika