Alee and I both recently posted on Facebook about a little cafe debacle that occurred recently, but neither of us really elaborated on what actually happened and people seem interested to know, and many have shared their similar experiences so I thought I might blog about it.
We were out at breakfast a few days ago with Oakland when an older (meaning maybe 60ish) woman approached our table and asked “oh what beautiful baby, whose is he?” to which Alee replied “he’s ours”. This little rapport then went on for some time a little something like this:
“Yes, but whose is he?”
“He’s our baby. Both of ours”
“No, whose is he though?”
“Ours. He’s ours. She (pointing to me) had him though, but he is ours”
She then turned to me and exclaimed “ohhh, so he’s yours!?” and I replied “no, I carried him, but he is both our baby, we got a sperm donor”. It was in that instant that I saw about a million emotions and realisations cross her face in a microsecond before she tried to gather her mental and verbal shit together and cover her ass by saying “oh, I was just saying to my family at our table that you both look like good mums”. Um no bitch, you weren’t. You veryyy obviously had zero clue that we were a couple.
Or did she?
It’s one of those situations where you stop and think about how some people genuinely have no idea that we are a couple. Some don’t understand two women can have a child together. And other people are still scratching their heads over the fact we are both extremely white and have a very caramel baby somehow in the mix of it all. So whatever of those stumped her, it got her good and she made a really poor attempt to cover it up.
What else is totally bizarre to me is that this week I had lunch with a friend of mine and she brought her girlfriend with her who is trans and whom I hadn’t yet met. I wouldn’t normally feel the need to say “such and such is trans” however it is relevant here as we were sitting together watching Oakland run around like a feral in the grass with no shoes on when the girlfriend asked me if it was hard going through the adoption process to get Oakland. The reason I bring trans into the story here is that I just assumed that someone who is also a member of the LGBTQIA community would be slightly more open around the concept of a person who is in a same-sex relationship potentially having accessed a sperm donor that was dark-skinned before immediately jumping to adoption. We’ve been asked quite a lot if Oakland is adopted however never by an openly queer person, so this actually caught me off guard. That is not to say I was at all angry, I wasn’t. I mean, if he were adopted he would be just as much my child as any child I carried in my womb but this day, I just really did not see that question coming.
It makes for an interesting point, why the hell do people feel the need to question us about who the parent is, or about Oakland’s conception? I am not referring to my friend’s partner here by the way, we were openly discussing everything under the sun that day and it was a natural part of the conversation. I am talking about complete fucking strangers going out of their way to approach us then probe us about our personal lives, and also our child’s personal business. I just find that really fucking rude for one thing. Do straight people get that very often? Do two straight girls having brunch with a child present get it often? Are people asking us completely innocently, or maliciously? Are these people really fucking ignorant or just naive and stupid? The question I hate the most is from people who figure out we are together then ask “no, I mean who is the real mum?”, because you know, obviously if you are not biologically his parent you aren’t really a parent. You’re like a fake parent apparently. Ok, well you explain that to step children, foster children, adopted children and any child that is being raised by someone who is not related biologically, or perhaps that is being raised by someone other than their parents. I know many people, and this doesn’t just mean LGBTQIA people, that do not count biology as a determining factor in whether or not a child is yours.
When I was pregnant we got asked at so many of our scans if we were sisters, or was Alee just my friend supporting me that day (because clearly being tattooed and pregnant without a man, I am just some deadbeat who got knocked up and my baby daddy is long gone right?). It’s like I’ve tried to explain to straight people, queer people don’t just come out and it’s like whewww, thank fuck that is over and done with. It is a daily thing. You will be coming out repeatedly for the remainder of your life. It’s not like once you do it, the entire world population gets a little memo and everyone is aware. We came out at every antenatal appointment, every scan and during the birth. We come out every day that we leave the house and people are probing us about who is Oakland’s mum. I come out every time I go to the shops and people ask me where his dad is from and I instantly reply ‘well the donor was African American”. I had to come out when I started a new job and everyone asked me if I had a boyfriend. I come out at play groups and mummy meet ups when people inevitably begin talking about their baby daddies and then suddenly it’s my turn to speak about Oakland’s other parent. So often I refer to Alee as my partner not because I’m embarrassed, but because people seem to be taken aback when I come straight out and say girlfriend. We will continue our conversation on with them oblivious and if they happen to change partner to boyfriend/husband then 9 times out of 10 I’ll correct them. That 1 time in 10 I don’t is again not out of my embarrassment, but theirs. People will legitimately always assume I am with a man.
The struggle is real and it is daily people. Please do the community a favour and raise your children to be aware that families come in all kinds of colours and flavours. Mummies, daddies, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, foster parents, adoptive parents, carers, single parents, queer parents, surrogates, blended families and probably a billion other combinations I haven’t even touched on. There is no normal and abnormal, it is not polite to assume that every child you see comes from a cookie cutter nuclear family. Definitely don’t fucking run up asking assuming and naive questions. Not only is it putting the parent/s in an awkward as fuck situation, it is demonstrating to that child that the world assumes they should be coming from a certain type of family environment and as they get older they will begin to question why that is or isn’t the case.