My mums have faced barriers to their love that no one should have to, yet so many do. But our story is not one of pain, instead of overwhelming joy.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2019 there were 212,000 same-sex families in the UK, having increased by 40.0% in five years. But growing up in a small, conservative town, no one else had a family like I did.
I have two biological parents, and another who has been in my life for so long that I couldn’t think of her as anything other than my mum. Whose DNA I share couldn’t matter less to me; I am a product of both of my mums and a firm believer that families are formed, not just genetically constructed.
From a young age, having same-sex parents became an identifier for me, like curly hair or wearing glasses. The labelling wasn’t malicious, it was just something that distinguished me from everyone else.
It has never fazed me that my family looks different
Having same-sex parents is never something I’ve shied away from. My parents were prominent figures on the playground growing up, throwing epic themed birthday parties for me that the whole class would be invited to, and DJing at our school discos.
Most people were open-minded and accepting, asking questions I’d happily answer about what my life was like. A first date once asked me if I was “like Ben from Friends”, clinging to the only representation he knew of a situation like mine. I just laughed because, yeah, I kind of am.
I’ve never once wished my family was different
The only thing that’s ever bothered me is the assumption that my life must be compromised because of it, as if having more people to love and love you could ever be a bad thing.
But, I can honestly say: for every time my mums and I were met with stares, sneers and comments, it’s never once made me wish my life were different.
Our legacy is one of resilience. My mums have faced barriers to their love that no one should have to, yet so many do. But our story is not one of pain, instead of overwhelming joy. In the times they’ve been told to hide away who they are, they’ve been beacons. Their commitment to one another is only made stronger by how hard they’ve fought for it, though it devastates me they ever had to.
They live in a way that is so authentic and free that it stuns me. It makes me swell with pride to be their daughter. Because Pride for us isn’t just a month of the year, it’s every day of our lives.
I celebrate being part of a same-sex family every day
I’ve grown up surrounded by the LGBTQ+ community, from attending parades with the circle of women more like family than my parents’ friends, to going with them to gay clubs armed with borrowed ID long before my legal time. To witness the euphoria of people existing in a space constructed for them and their expression has always felt like an honour. Something I know to observe, but never co-opt.
As the heterosexual daughter of lesbians, I have been raised to use my privilege amplify the voices of those who do not possess the same power. I do so proudly. To be an ally is to first de-centre yourself and your feelings, to exist wholly in support to the marginalised.
I cannot begin to imagine the courage it takes to be visible in a world that tells you not to be.
Even just by being themselves, my parents changed the lives of my gay friends who turned to them for advice on how to come out to their own parents. They have taught the people around them to be open-minded and tolerant, and continue to exist authentically whether or not they are given approval.
The day I watched my parents become legal partners - the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act wouldn’t be passed until years later - was one of the happiest of my life. Under the sunshine of an August day, they proved once again how love is a force that unites.
Love is love, but I will always argue that theirs is one of the greatest. To be raised in it, built from it, is a blessing. Our family is my strength, a continued reminder to never let anyone or anything stop me from being exactly who I am.
Now, aged 23, I know a few people like me, and the world, slowly, seems to be becoming a more accepting place. Disney has openly gay characters, and high street shops even sell “for my two mums” Mother’s Day cards, solving my eternal struggle. Yet there is still so much the LGBTQ+ community are forced to to fight for.
Violence towards trans people puts thousands of lives at risk every year and so many people still struggle for acceptance. According to report by LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop, in the last year alone, a quarter of trans people had experienced or been threatened with physical assault. Nearly one in five had experienced or been threatened with sexual assault.
This pride month, and every day, we must use our privilege and lend our voices to show up for LGBTQ+ rights.
I’ll be there, my two mums proudly at my side.
Images: Amy Beecham