It’s great that LGBT+ families are getting a lot more space in the media today. Most people I speak to seem broadly supportive of the rights of LGBT+ people to have children, and appreciative of those families. My main problem with the increasing focus on LGBT+ families, is that much of the focus is still on new families with young children, and the reason that worries me is that the debate is still too often framed in a subtly critical way. What will the consequences of this big experiment be? How will these children turn out? Will they be normal and happy?
What is too often missed, is that there are literally hundreds of us who have grown up in LGBT+ families and lived to tell the tale. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I am not even close to being in the first generation of children of LGBT+ parents.
When I read this article in the Guardian (Gay parenting: it’s complicated), I was happy to see this paragraph:
‘Will Halm’s oldest daughter is one of the first generation of IVF babies born via surrogacy to gay dads. “Not to brag,” her proud father says, “but she goes to Andover and gets A-plusses. She sits on the student council, volunteers for various gay/straight alliance charities. That a test tube baby, from two gay men, is a well-adjusted, smart, polished girl at 15, who is comfortable talking about her family – she is what I would like the world to see. Not the parents who are creating the child, but the children themselves.”‘
I wrote a letter expressing my desire that the paper’s journalists might want to follow Will’s advice, and get in touch with some older children every now and again. I received no response.
Gay parenting is not an experiment. There is no reason to imagine that LGBT+ people having children will necessarily raise them any differently than heterosexual parents. And if you want to know what the consequences are, then talk to the grown up kids.
I’ve started this blog because I don’t think that many people have the opportunity to listen to the voices of (grown up) children like me. You might be thinking about starting your own family, and unsure about what’s best, or you might be curious about what my experience has been like. I don’t pretend to speak for everyone – there is no standard form of LGBT+ parenting and no consistent product. However, in discussing my own experiences I hope to shed some light at least on how my life has been, and how much I value having grown up with my wonderful family.
I hope that as this blog grows, more people will contribute their own stories. There is no single truth, but there are stories which will inspire, amuse, anger, provoke and delight you.
And please do note, that although I refer to my own family structure (two mums, anonymous sperm donor), I recognise that LGBT+ families take many different forms, with varying number of parenting adults, and that each of those families is perfectly valid.