Stonewall's report Different Families shows that children with lesbian and gay parents don't see their family as any different. It's only when they realise their family isn't talked about in class and when other children ask questions that they feel they can't be themselves.
How I feel about my family
- Eleanor, eight, feels that her family may be different, but not particularly due to having two mothers. When asked if her family is like other people’s families or different, Eleanor replies ‘I think it’s different. I think that … well first of all, they don’t have Charlie, my little brother, running around the place spoiling everything … dribbling all over your homework. I don’t know how to explain it but I just feel there’s some difference between the other families and us. The way we all work together really, yeah. We all link up like a puzzle.’
- Daisy, nine, says her family is different ‘because you have different faces, different colour hair and different sizes of hair’.
- Seven-year-old Alice says that she thinks her family is different from other families ‘because I think I’m the only person in my class who has two gay mums’. Alice says she feels ‘very grateful’ to have two mums ‘because they’re both very nice mums’. What Alice likes about her family is that ‘everybody loves each other in my family and we always care for each other and we watch out for each other’.
How other people see my family
- Nine-year-old Joseph explains ‘I say that I have two dads and they’re fine with it, and then they tell me about themselves.’
- Jennie, ten, says that everyone in her school knows that she has two mums and that she doesn’t really get much comment about it. She explains how her friends feel about it. ‘My friends say it doesn’t matter, it’s just like a man and a woman, it’s alright.’
- Ten-year-old Jennie explains an experience that she’s had being teased by some older boys. ‘It used to be some boys in an older year, they kind of picked on me sometimes, but that was years ago. They just went oh, you’ve got two mums, I think that’s wrong, blah blah blah … I just ignored them and said it’s fine, you know, it’s the same as a man and a woman, and they kind of left me alone after that. They were just silly, they were trying to have a laugh, they thought it was funny but … hollow brains.’
Questions, questions, questions
- Alexei, seven, says ‘well, people ask me ... it’s impossible to have two mums and dads ... it’s not possible, it’s above the human abilities ... stuff like that and I say it’s obviously possible ... I just go yes it’s possible and then they say ... no it’s not ... and I say yes it is ... and then they say no it’s not and then I say oh yes, just be quiet, yes it is.’
- While some children are at ease with answering questions, some like Siân, age nine, can feel uncomfortable. ‘Sometimes people ask me and I get a bit awkward so I just sort of … I try to cut down the story as much as possible so I don’t have to say that much. I feel sort of a bit awkward about it. It got a teeny bit annoying because they were like ... how were you born then? So I think umm ... stop it.’
That's so gay and you're so gay
- Mark, eight, explains that because he has gay parents ‘when people say “gay” ... I feel worse than other people’. He says that a lot of the children in his school say this, but when asked how teachers handle it, Mark says ‘well they’re not usually there. The people are clever by being naughty’. Mark doesn’t say anything when this happens. He says ‘I just ... walk away from them.’
- Katie, 12, had a particularly upsetting experience. ‘I can still remember when I was younger we had to draw a medal that said No. 1 dad. I said I didn’t want to do it. And they just said … well my teacher, it was like a supply teacher, and if I’d have had my normal teacher I think she would have said well you could draw one for your mum, but she just sort of said … well just do one, don’t moan. And I found that really hard.’
Read more in Different Families