People

“I celebrate my same-sex family every day, not just during Pride Month”

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.

The number of same-sex couple families in the UK has increased by more than fifty percent since 2015. But growing up in a small, conservative town, no one else had a family like I did.

I have a mum who is married to my other mum, and a dad. 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’m a firm believer that families are formed - forged, even - not just genetically constructed. I am a product of both of my mums, sharing one’s bone structure and smile, and the other’s way of expression and love of travel.

It has never fazed me that my family looks different.

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.

That I had same-sex parents was something all my peers knew about because I never shied away from the conversation - and neither did they. My parents were prominent figures on the playground, throwing epic themed birthday parties for me that the whole class would be invited to, and they even DJed at school discos.

Same-sex family

Most people were open-minded and accepting, asking questions I’d happily answer about what my life was like. (Amazing.) 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 laughed because, yeah, I kind of am.

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. The celebration of who and what we are has never been contained.

same-sex family

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.

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.

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.

Love is love, but I will argue to the hilt 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 22, 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 it was only last week that the Supreme Court finally passed a law protecting gay people from being fired for their sexuality.

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.