Same-sex mother of two and CEO of Equality for Children, Ranae von Meding, talks about the realities of same-sex parenting in Ireland.
I’m a same-sex parent to two daughters aged three and one. While we have come a very long way in the last decade, there are still situations where I find myself battling against misconceptions.
LGBT+ families are becoming more visible and less stigmatised- yet I still feel I’m climbing uphill sometimes when all I want to do is get on with life and be treated like any other family.
In many other countries and cultures, having an LGBTQ+ family is really not a big deal. I have friends who moved to Canada and they’re constantly telling me how different it is over there. No one cares that they’re a same-sex couple with kids. Not that people don’t care, but as in, it’s not a big deal.
My hope is that one day we will get to that stage here. Because honestly, it’s really not a big deal and the fact that I’m raising our kids as a part of a same-sex parenting duo, doesn’t impact your life at all.
I’ve been in some funny situations over the years. Irish people are nosy (did I say nosy, I meant curious) by nature. And people sometimes ask me massively inappropriate questions. Other times people are too afraid to ask me anything at all, for fear of offending me. A good rule of thumb I’ve found is this- don’t ask someone a question that you might not be comfortable answering yourself.
Personally, I’m not easily offended. I’ve always talked about our conception and parenting journey quite openly. But other people may be much more private and asking them about the nitty-gritty details of their personal life might not go down so well.
So, here are five facts about LGBTQ+ parents.
- Surprise. We are the same as any other parents. The sex of a person doesn’t make them any different as a parent. Studies show that children of LGBTQ+ parents are just as well adjusted as those who have a parent of each sex.
- It doesn’t matter who is the genetic parent. For the most part in an LGBTQ+ family, only one of the parents will be the genetic parent. This does not mean that one parent is in any way more connected to their child. Genetics does not a parent make.
- No, we don’t worry that our kids will be gay. Just as straight parents don’t worry if their kids will be straight.
- Our children do not have a dad. They have a donor and two moms. Please don’t mistake one for the other. When it comes to an LGBTQ+ family, we might not fit the mould of what a traditional family looks like.
- The story of an LGBTQ+ family is not up for debate or discussion. If I choose to share my family story with the world, that is my choice. But just because a family is not a traditional one, does not mean that the details of their lives are anyone's business but their own. We all have a right to privacy and respect.
At the end of the day, we are all just parents trying to do our best. Be you gay, straight, GNC, trans or of any other expression or identity. Love is love, no matter where it comes from.
The primary need of any child is safety, security and most of all, love.