‘Out’ as a Parent

June 28, 2018
Jo Ansell - LGBT Youth Support Worker

I am a member of staff at Allsorts and I have recently returned to work after being off on maternity leave. I am a lesbian parent to two children. My wife had our son and I had our daughter.

We are very proud to be lesbian parents. Our son is now at an age that he knows he has two mums. We as a family have friends who are lesbian parents and as a result our son has friends who have two mums like him. This is partly a personal choice about who we make friends with and partially due to being linked into the Brighton and Hove Rainbow Families network. We talk with our son about different parentage combinations and so far he does not have any questions (he is not yet School age).

Our experiences of being lesbian parents are still in their infancy. So far we have not faced adversity in relation to our sexual orientation, we do however have ‘coming out’ experiences on a relatively regular basis. For example a trip with our children to The Royal Alex A & E has involved clearly stating to the staff that our child’s ‘other mum is on her way’. This has not yet been received with prejudice however it has been important for all of us to be proudly clear about our family dynamic in order to not have the assumption of the ‘mother and father’ family set up. This is probably the very beginning of many assumption busting experiences for us. It’s important to us that our son is not faced with the question or statement “where is your Dad?” or anything else that will make him feel that having two mums isn’t ‘normal’. Hence for me it’s important to protect my children from the chance of it happening. I do this by being ‘out’ as quickly as possible. 

I feel that it’s important for me, my family and other rainbow families to be out and proud about not fitting to what was once the expected norm of family life. I feel responsible for paving the way for my children to be confident about their parentage. I feel that the more opportunities I have to come out to people as a lesbian parent the more word will travel that this is a common family set up. Living in Brighton and Hove is a really great place to be a lesbian parent however in proportion to heterosexual family set ups LGBT families are still in the vast minority. So yes there is a chance that there will be other LGBT parents when I go to events such as toddler groups, swimming lessons or the park; however it is still likely that there won’t be any other parents there ‘like me’! It is still likely that I will be assumed to not be a lesbian parent (I often don’t visually fit into the lesbian stereotypes). I consider these social settings as a place where I have the power to choose whether or not to come out!? This comes with both a sense of trepidation of how I will be received and ‘read’ as well as pride about me and my family. 

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