LGBT families not recognised

I told myself I wouldn’t write this post until I was calm and had finished ranting to whomever would listen. Since M started school we’ve had a few events occur that have caused me to express my frustration in how times aren’t changing as quickly as they should.

I feel the LGBT community has come so far in so many ways in my lifetime yet things still fall at the first hurdle in some areas. My son is my world, he is our everything and we are raising him to be a loving, kind accepting little boy. To think of him upset, or confused or feeling like he doesn’t fit in, is a thought filled with fear. But he does fit in, he does have friends and he seems to be quite popular among his classmates. So it’s a shame that it’s the adults that are letting him down.

In 2016 we¬†have the power to raise the next generation to be accepting and inclusive, we have the power to bring LGBT families into children’s TV shows and not just have them as token characters in soaps. We have the power to produce media that shares our families in a way that kids just grow up accepting that LGBT families are just families, as kids are remarkably accepting.

There are many ways we can introduce LGBT families into the media so that in years to come children will just accept that some kids have a mum and a dad, some have a mum and a mama or even a dad and daddy, heck some kids are raised by their grandmas. This should just be the norm in books, magazines or TV shows.

But adults have to accept this all first. Adults have to accept change and not try and erase LGBT visibility. When we make an adjustment to a form about being M’s parents and it is ignored and one of us is placed as “other family member” that is not good. But that is an adult making that change, deciding not to accept us. It may seem like a simple thing to anyone else, but to read one of us is “other family member” it is quite sad. Surely changing the text input on a form is quite simple when it is a task humans control. These little things make a big difference to us.

Another issue is not having a representation of families like ours in many schools. I know Stonewall make some great posters to put up in school’s, but it takes adults to order and put them up. It also takes an adult to source inclusive books and update outdated library books that tell your child that “every child must have a mum and a dad”. ¬†Children are far more accepting, but they look to adults to set the example. So many people tell me their children don’t see any issue with M having two mums, but it’s the adults that needs to work on making a difference.

lgbt family

So what can you do? Well I previously wrote a post on being a good LGBT ally which is worth a read and I encourage you to educate your children about ALL types of families, but also be aware of what your child’s school is teaching and the information they are making available.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. ChantL Reply

    Really had to respond to this. I am a teacher in a large primary school and my husband is a head and I can only apologise.
    I am sorry this happened and I am sorry people got it so wrong.

    Please know that in both of our schools the forms etc changed several years back.

    Also as a teacher I unsure that I always use images of all families to ensure children know they are 100% accepted and loved in my class.

    We bought the stone wall posters and use them and we also spent a lot of money on ensuring we have books that are representative of all families and we use the Moto “different families same love” to talk about all types of families.

    I feel for you and am really sad that I should feel a pang of guilt on behalf of schools and just want you to know from one mum to another o hear u and my school hears you.

    Your little boy is gorgeous and I love reading your blog.

    Many thanks Chantal

  2. Helena Reply

    I also wanted to respond just to let you know that I am so sorry this happened.

    I am also a teacher and we changed our forms several years back to ask for details of ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’. We also made sure to have representations of all families in our classrooms and our school as a whole. I believe this is important not only for the children, but also for all the adults.

    Things are changing, but like you, I think they are just not changing quickly enough. Sometimes it’s easy to think that now that we have equal marriage we’re done, but we’re not and it’s important that we help everybody realise the pain that these thoughtless decisions cause.

    Sadly, I think it is still often the case that it is those of us who are LGBT+ ourselves who are fighting for this in schools, and until it is embedded in the school culture as a whole, we can stand out as ‘lone wolves with an agenda’ … well yes, I do have an agenda, to make sure that our children and our families are recognised and that another generation does not have to grow up feeling isolated and invisible.

    Sometimes ranting is so necessary. I love reading about your family and it gives me hope for my own one day.

    Keep doing the amazing job you’re doing, and know that there are some warriors out there in the school system and we are trying oh so hard to make things better for M’s generation and beyond.

  3. Swazi Reply

    I just asked Hubbie if there are any gay parents at K’s school and we can’t think of any. The deputy head is a gay woman and when she and her wife were married I congratulated them with a gift and card. She thanked me and whispered that it would have been too difficult to explain the situation openly about why her name had changed. That makes me so sad, but I respect her privacy. It’s her choice entirely, but it’s because of parental views that she isn’t comfortable, not the children.

    You know that my boys have an entirely inclusive understanding of the world and people in it. K often reminds me that “men can marry men and ladies can marry ladies.” Now all I have to do it teach him that marriage isn’t necessarily a life goal.

  4. Cariemay Reply

    It’s such a shame when it’s things that could be changed so easily- both of Kitty’s schools have had Parent 1 and Parent 2, it’s not a big shift but it would make a huge difference.

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