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LGBT parents

Questions same-sex parents get asked all the time...

71 replies

SophieBMumsnet · 24/06/2014 16:27

This week is Pride - a whole week dedicated to celebrating the LGBT community, and to challenging prejudice and inequality.

Which has got us thinking about same-sex parenting at MNHQ. A same-sex parent of our acquaintance says she's often asked, 'Which one of you is the biological parent?' Now, this is a pretty personal question, and we're fairly sure it wouldn't be asked of heterosexual parents - so we wondered: what other challenges do same-sex parents face?

Whether you're in a same-sex relationship, or know people who are, we'd love it if you could share the most-asked questions, and least-loved prejudices, about same-sex parenting. Please feel free to share your wittiest comebacks too!

With luck we'll be able to collect all of your experiences just in time for the London Pride celebrations on Saturday - and we'll be sharing them to let people know the sorts of things they shouldn't be asking same-sex parents.

Happy Pride!

OP posts:
hummingbirdhostage · 26/06/2014 08:12

Completely agree Dottydot. Curiosity about our family is indulged, despite my occasional wince, as I figure, the more people that understand means that our experience is less remarkable. I think that our generation is part of the openly gay baby boom, and as such we have a chance to help future generations become more mainstream and less alternative, which always leads to greater acceptance. Wow. I'm still in bed. Soapboxing from bed. Gotta deal with our section of the baby boom and get them to school & nursery. Good topic tho :-)

Fideliney · 26/06/2014 08:22

Blimey VeryDull people ask that to parents sans their DC Confused ?

Fideliney · 26/06/2014 08:34

Maybe Xcountry we have to start talking about the traditional way to make a baby and newer ways in which kind people and doctors help couples?

DottyDot · 26/06/2014 08:57

why are questions about the donor always a no no? The donor has had a huge role in making the child, in whatever way that's happened! Nothing should be off the table, surely, otherwise things continue to be secretive and mysterious and all the things that contribute to a lack of understanding?

It's possible though that dp and I are at the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to being open about our experiences - there's even a chapter in a book about gay fostering and adoption about us Grin.

DottyDot · 26/06/2014 09:10

xcountry you could do with knowing how they've gone about it really..!

But in the absence of knowledge, I'd probably just say that x's Mummys probably either went to get some sperm from a clinic/doctor to help them make a baby, or that they might have asked someone to help them make a baby.

Would that help? In terms of how the sperm got in there to meet the egg, either the doctor put it in with a syringe (explain no needles, easy peasy) or one of the Mummies could have done it.

Fideliney · 26/06/2014 09:22

But in the absence of knowledge, I'd probably just say that x's Mummys probably either went to get some sperm from a clinic/doctor to help them make a baby, or that they might have asked someone to help them make a baby.

Dotty I would really hesitate to speculate to my DC in this way about specific families.

Shallishanti · 26/06/2014 09:31

maybe you could explain that you don't know!
and that with people, we are less front....than we are when talking about farm animals Smile
you could add that you know some mummies do this, some do that, but it would be rude/unkind to ask such a personal question unless you know them really really well.

Xcountry · 26/06/2014 09:52

I know about how doctors 'help' like suggested, just didn't know it was appropriate to say it. It wouldn't be that hard to teach her about the AI route because we also use that a lot with horses too but I didn't know if it was right to which was sort of the pint I was getting at. I didn't see the thread before but sounds like its along the lines of what I was asking.

I don't want to explain that I don't know because DD is a nosey cow curious, and I would like to educate her somewhat before she asks the little boy herself and maybe offends him. He's quite confident and really outgoing and she likes playing with him so they are friends in the playground so I don't think he would get upset if she asked but you just don't know and really I want her to grow up accepting of other families and not be the sort of person like a lot of people have mentioned before asking ignorant questions.

We all have 'foot in mouth' moments with lots of things, not just subjects like this but I think she is more likely not to if she is raised with some degree of knowledge about it.

DottyDot · 26/06/2014 09:58

ds's are 12 and 10 and have been asked a fair few times about how we went about it. They know the answer but we leave it up to them to explain or not, depending on whether they want to.

Agreed - given there are other ways babies can be made, it's probably better to say you're not sure but maybe give a few different examples?

Xcountry · 26/06/2014 10:09

Ok, that's a good suggestion and would probably work to answer her "but how?" questions. Should I give her the go ahead to ask him herself or do you think he is still a little too young? Is your 10 year old ok with being asked or does it upset him or her? the reason I ask this as he is closer to their age - your 12yo is probably more mature.

I feel quite bad sort of hushing her about it when she asks and feel like I am planting the seed that it is something to be kept secret and not talked about in her head but I just don't know how to broach it with her like I said in the appropriate way.

Fideliney · 26/06/2014 10:14

The idea of secrecy or subjects that can't be broached is just so uncomfortable to our generation isn't it?

bealos · 26/06/2014 10:17

There's some people who will always ask slightly inappropriate questions. I've always found that pregnancy and birth seem to be a green flag for everyone to have an opinion and ask what they want. Personally I find the 'was it planned?' question during pregnancy from acquaintances and colleagues quite offensive.

But back to the topic in question, what's the BEST question you've been asked?

Xcountry · 26/06/2014 10:21

Fideliney It is, I think it adds to the problem though. If something is secret and not to be broached then it is often viewed as bad or wrong and I don't think it should be. I think if I teach her openly about it it would be better.

MrsMarigold · 26/06/2014 11:14

Interesting thread, I confess I'm quite curious about how everything operates but only know one lesbian couple with kids.

Fideliney · 26/06/2014 11:18

Oh I agree X, the irony is making me chuckle, though. We are only two or three generations from repression and the stiff upper lip after all.

LurcioAgain · 26/06/2014 11:55

Not gay, but a single mother by choice so some of the same questions come up. Recently a friend's 4 year old asked (in the run up to father's day) why DS didn't have a daddy. I gave him a variation of my "where you came from story" that I've been telling DS since he was too small to remember (never wanted that "big reveal" moment): "You're right that everyone has to have a father, in that babies are made with ingredients from a man as well as a woman. But I wasn't lucky enough to meet a daddy for DS - a daddy is someone who helps to look after you and tuck you in at night, and read you stories. So I got some nice doctors to help, and a nice man gave them the half of the baby ingredients they needed to put in my tummy." (One of my gay friends uses the phrase "So-and-so helped to make you" with her son regarding the friend who donated sperm - my donor was via a clinic, so anonymous from my perspective, but contactable when DS is 18).

Someone up thread said roughly that it was their children's story to tell or not, so they (the parent) were hazy on the details when telling third parties. I can see the reasons for and respect that point of view. As you can see, I'm taking a different tack - I am open with DS, with my friends, with his friends (in an age-appropriate way) because I reckon it moves it as close as it can be into the category of "no big deal, just part of the rich variety of life and the wide range of ways families can be and still be loving and supportive" rather than "this is something a bit unusual, and maybe embarrassing, and maybe something not to be open about." Maybe when DS reaches his teens/adulthood it will turn out I have made the wrong call on this one, but at least it's something I've thought about long and hard, and will be able to explain to DS why I chose to address the issue the way I have.

DottyDot · 26/06/2014 13:27

neither ds gets upset about it or seems to be bothered and they're completely opposite types of child - one introvert one extrovert and both seem to be fine about being asked. It's possibly a bit irritating for them but they're probably used to it! We've said to ours they can say as much or as little as they want. I don't actually know how the 12 year old has dealt with it since starting secondary school - he might not have told any of his friends (he's the introvert!) for all I know - but it's up to him.

Best question..? Tricky! Because ds's Dad is our friend, I did get asked once whether we'd had a threesome... Hmm. And someone thought we had somehow injected the sperm through dp's stomach to get her pregnant (I'd mentioned using a syringe), but I think that was a naivety thing more than anything else Grin.

FarelyKnuts · 26/06/2014 17:30

The reason I said about questions about the donor being a no no is that it's not our story to tell, or involves someone else's information being talked about or is just plain intrusive IMO.

FarelyKnuts · 26/06/2014 17:31

And I mean questions from outsiders. Not my kids btw!

DoMeDon · 26/06/2014 18:22

Think this boils down to personalities as with all questions. Not just SS couples- new mums, pregnant women, single parents have no-no questions. I am an open book and happy to answer personal questions, hence I probably ask them too.

Dominique123456 · 26/06/2014 21:44

Sometimes grown ups ask me questions in front of my child or directly to my child in front of me - that aren't age appropriate like "so where's his dad from?" Or "Which one is your real mummy?" (That's the worst!) or "so do you call the dad a donor?" Etc and put DS in an uncomfortable position which is both rude and unfair to her.

I do think that some people are so eager to ask the question that they forget it's not a TV show and it's not right to put children on the spot just to satisfy their interest. I think some people wait till I'm not around to ask DS directly assuming that a child would spill the beans.

My advice is not to ask questions about the SS family in front of the child especially young ones who are still trying to get the hang of how to answer to please the grown up asking when to them it's totally normal.

rhetorician · 26/06/2014 22:22

I tend not to mind people asking questions, but it does depend a lot on how they are framed/phrased (we have two DDs, 2.5 and 5, a known donor who sees them regularly but has no parental responsibility). A woman in a hotel did once ask me who their mother was (I am not bio mother, and children look nothing like me); I gave her short shrift! In terms of school, creche etc I am probably the more visible mother. If anything, people tend to be curious about what it's like organising a busy household with two women at the helm - and generally they (well, other women) are a bit jealous (and a bit idealistic!)

Devora · 27/06/2014 00:13

I'm a very open person and like DottyDot quite up for talking about these things. But I was shocked at just how much people wanted to know HOW I got pregnant. It boiled down to: "Yes, but have you had a penis inside you?"

But I really get the red mist when people ask my children directly (sometimes after they've got no joy from me). My kids have been asked if they're adopted, why they've got different skin colours, which of us is their 'real' mummy, which mummy do they like best...

Heels99 · 27/06/2014 08:55

Not a ss couple but we had Ivf for our dds. I tell them that special drs helped us to have them and put them in my tummy when they were tiny embryos. I tell them there are lots of different ways to make a family but the most common one is xxxxxxx but that isn't how they were made. They don't seem to take any notice but I want them to understand there are different ways of coming into the world. I think it would be helpful if all parents did this. From this thread it seems that it's other parents who are asking inappropriate questions of ss couples, not kids!!!

Heels99 · 27/06/2014 08:57

Also tell mine a family can be anyone, ss couples, different sex couples, single parents, foster parents, other family members et,c. Everyone is different. This should be the norm for kids to know.

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