This is a safe space for us to better understand the LGBTQ family experience by reading, writing and sharing letters.
Advice to Children with LGBTQ Parents

Advice to Children with LGBTQ Parents

Dear Aaron,

You and I have a lot in common. Believe it or not, you are the only other person I know who was born to a lesbian couple — and you’re twenty years younger than me! I'd like to share some words of wisdom with you, and I hope that when you're old enough to read them they will serve you well.

Growing up with gay parents isn't easy. The worst part started when I realized that my family wasn't "normal". In the early days, I was blissfully unaware of the potential hostility from outside. I had two loving parents who went to great lengths to bring me into their lives, and I was always loved and adored (and the same is true for you!) The tricky thing is, there's some people out there who think that because we have two moms, that somehow means our families are less valid. I want you to know that these people are completely wrong. What makes a family a true family is the way that the members care for one another- it has nothing to do with DNA. Lucky for you, times have changed, and overall our society seems to be more accepting of families like ours. Even still, make sure you never let anyone tell you that your family is wrong. On the other hand, don't feel bad if you aren't always open with other people about your parents. I spent a lot of time feeling guilty because I was embarrassed by my parents, but I see now that feeling that way was completely okay. It's natural to try and avoid negativity from other people, and you never know if people will be accepting or judgmental. It took me a while to be able to casually acknowledge that I have lesbian parents, and sometimes I still get uncomfortable talking about it. But that does not mean that I love my parents any less.

On another note, I feel like it's important to acknowledge the fact that having two moms in our cases means that we don't have dads. To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure how this has impacted me. I don't want to lump our experiences together too much, especially since you were born male and I was born female. In my own life, I feel the absence of a father figure in little, clique things like the fact that I can never be a "daddy's girl" and I don't have a father to intimidate my potential mates or walk me down the aisle. I'm sure on a deeper psychological level I've been affected by the absence of a prominent male figure in my life, but that's not really the point I'm trying to make. I guess what I'm saying is that yes, in our case we don't have fathers, and saying that may confuse other people... but we each have amazing mothers who love us unconditionally. I truly believe that gender has nothing to do with a person's ability to parent. So I hope you don't dwell on what you don't have, because the parents that you do have are gifts to be immensely grateful for. (With that said, it's also completely normal to have questions as to the man genetically responsible for your existence. I know I am very curious as to what my guy looks like.)

Here's some things that I think only kids with lesbian parents understand:

  • The dilemma of what to call your moms. I went with Momma and Mommy, but I didn't exactly plan for how those would change as I got older, so I still call them those names to this day.

  • When I refer to "my mom" to other people, they either don't know which one I am talking about, or they get confused because they think that "my mom" is always one person, when I actually use the term to refer to both of them.

  • Mother's Day is intense

  • Father's Day not so much.

  • It is difficult to explain to people that you don't have a dad. Here's an example conversation:

"Did your dad leave?" "No..."

"Did he die?" "No..."

"Then where is he?" "I just don't have one."

"What do you mean you don't have one? You need both a male and female to make a baby" "No, you need a sperm and an egg. I was made from a man's sperm... but I don't have a father."

  • You know that your parents had to try REALLY hard in order to become your parents.

  • When people always ask you which one of your moms is your "real" mom, you have to explain that one of them did (or maybe they didn't) give birth to you, but that both your moms and equally "real."

So let me break it down into my advice to children of LGBTQ parents (some of these refer mostly to children born to an LGBTQ couple):

  • Know that you're not alone. I went my entire childhood without realizing how many people were in similar situations.

  • Don't let the opinions of others impact the way you feel about your family.

  • Don't push yourself to react certain ways or conform to certain beliefs.

  • Recognize that in the end, while you are connected to your parents in many ways, the fact is that your life is your own, and so is there's.

  • Don't worry about how your parents' sexuality has impacted your own. The misconception that gay parents have gay children is by no means always true. Everyone is different and should figure out for themselves how (or if) they want to label their sexuality. Never let anyone do that for you.

  • Never forget how much work went into creating you.

  • Don't feel guilty if you aren't always comfortable or easy going when talking about your parents' sexuality. Just because you might be embarrassed doesn't mean you are a bad child or a bad person. It will likely be best in the end if you can lovingly accept your parents for who they are, but don't push yourself into it if you are not ready.

With all that said, I want to again remind you that you aren't alone. There are plenty of us out there that understand what it is like to grow up with LGBTQ parents. You have a bright future ahead of you, and I can't wait to see the person you turn out to be. 



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