When you become a parent, you will inevitably be judged for the decisions you make. Whether it’s by people you know or complete strangers. Some people won’t even know they’re doing it, but you will. It could be about whether you chose the bottle or the breast, the way you birthed your baby, deciding over baby-led weaning or traditional weaning. They will judge or pass comment.
But how about judgement over the person you choose to fall in love with? Or telling you that because you go to bed with a certain gender or sex, your child will fail.
Don’t believe it? This exact thing happened to me and several other rainbow families just the other day.
The other night, I was tagged in a post relating to some hurtful comments one rainbow family had received on a post they had contributed to. The post detailed their journey to becoming parents through IVF, still birth, and miscarriage. If you haven’t read The Legacy of Leo you really should, it’s a heart wrenching one.
Despite all this heartache though, Jess and Natalie were able to shine a light and offer support to those currently going through their fertility journey and give them hope. Shortly after the post was published, however, a number of comments were then made against them:
I’ve never been on the receiving end of actual homophobia before. A few comments here or there maybe, but these comments go one step further. This is such unapologetic ignorance about same sex parenting, and a huge sweeping generalisation of many issues. #lgbt @stonewalluk pic.twitter.com/txL3MdmDs5
— JESS (@TheLegacyOfLeo) June 5, 2018
I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Was this person really saying what they were saying? That because I was born gay that I was failing my son? They were. Even though the comments targeted Jess and Natalie, they targeted my family and every other rainbow family. I was angry. Saddened. Disappointed. What does going to bed with a woman have to do with how I parent my son? I wanted to comment and respond to this troll immediately, but ignorance like that cannot be changed overnight – certainly not with words from people who this person already thinks is damaging their children – it needs to be taught. It’s one of the reasons we started this blog!
Looking through the other comments within the article and on twitter I thankfully witness several outpourings of support, and the kindness started to outweigh the ignorance. It was reassuring.
Don’t be a Libby
All a child needs is a loving home, if that’s with one parent, two parents, two mums, two dads or with grandparents. As long as they are loved and supported that child will grow up totally fine.
— Lauren 🌙 (@lauren_w_88) June 5, 2018
I was starting to feel better. However I still had a sour taste in my mouth knowing that this person still existed in the world and that there were probably more just like them. What could I do? I decided to address some of their points made – in case one day they may stumble across this post. I’d also like to point out that none of their points are actually ‘facts’ and funnily enough, they didn’t respond with statistical evidence when challenged.
“Deliberate fatherlessness wrecks children’s lives – on average their life outcomes are severely diminished”.
Let me introduce to you to my son. He is dressed and fed better than me most days for starters. He attends nursery and has more books than I have pairs of socks. And whilst all this isn’t a measurement for success or happiness, I’d like you to know that he will want for nothing. He’s going to be fine.
We are also going to teach him about respect and acceptance (which is more than your parents clearly did for you) and how kindness trumps hate.
Our children are going to change the world and make waves in how people treat others.
— My Two Mums (@MyTwoMums) June 5, 2018
“Prisons are full of fatherless boys and men.”
They’re also full of men and boys who grew up in a ‘traditional’ family units but still fell into hardship, landing them in prison.
Perhaps their mothers fled the family home from an abusive relationship to protect their children? Would you have rather they stayed for the sake of remaining in a ‘traditional’ unit?
“Men and women have different qualities and parenting styles which compliment each other.”
I agree. Men and women do have different ‘qualities’, but they do not need one another for their qualities to succeed. Look at single parents. What I don’t agree with though is saying that men and women have set parenting styles. No. Every person is different, which means every parent is different.
You could stick two fathers in a room and they would be completely different. That’s not because they have a penis, it’s because of how they are as a person, how they were nurtured and how they were raised in the first place.
No matter what was said, this person didn’t seem to grasp or care about was how loved children in same sex families are. We have fought tirelessly for our children. Do you really think we’re not offering everything we can for the children we’ve worked so hard to get?
That’s absolutely not to say that children of heterosexual families are loved any less – far from it. It’s just unlikely that a day hasn’t gone by for a same sex couple when planning for a baby that we haven’t thought about every moment in our child’s life. From first steps, to their first meal, birthday parties, school choices. You name it. Our children have become our life. Even before they were even conceived. Are you telling me that we’re still poor parents? Even after all this?
Sharon and I are amazing parents. We know we are. I’m not even sorry about being boastful. We might not always make the right decision, but we think about every decision we make for T with his best interests at heart. Every time. From what we’re going to be doing for breakfast to what route we take on a car journey (thanks to toilet training!) to what school we eventually want him to go to. But not once have we stopped in our tracks and wished a ‘father’ could come in and deal with a situation or that we can’t resolve something because one of us isn’t a father.
Sure T has plenty of male role models, but that’s as far as it goes when it comes to a ‘father’ figure. Sharon and I cover every aspect of parenting T just fine. He is happy because he is loved. And that’s all any child needs (and maybe food).