Out With Dads

Children, especially younger ones, tend to be literal creatures. With little experience of social convention they say things as they see them, whether that may be offensive to someone or not. It usually leads to hilarious moments, followed by a red-faced parent apologising for the socially unacceptable thing your child has just said.

Children also have no prejudice until it is implanted into them by external factors, they don’t care about your gender, sexuality, race, or religion.

Our children are no different.

It is impossible to go out as a family without it being blatantly obvious we are a two-dad family. We get ‘outed’ every time our children speak. We ‘out’ ourselves in the way we speak to them.

Son: Dad, can I have some dessert please?

Dad: Yes you can, why don’t you tell Daddy what you would like so he can order it?

Son turns to my partner

Son: Daddy? Can I have chocolate cake please?

Immediately the waitress knows that our children have two dads.

It can even happen when we take our children out on our own.

Last year I was at our local doctor’s surgery getting our eldest son’s flu vaccination done. At the time we hadn’t fully adopted the children, so we had shared parental responsibility with our local authority. That means if all the paperwork wasn’t in place properly it was a struggle to get any routine medical treatment done. We had already had to reschedule one vaccination because of a refusal because it hadn’t been documented properly. The conversation went like this:

Nurse: Why don’t you sit on Daddy’s lap so he can hold you?

Son: That’s not my Daddy…

Me (thinking): Oh dear, thanks son, we’ll have to come back, she’s going to think that I’m not allowed to authorise this vaccination

Son (continuing): He’s my Dad.

Nurse: Oh, silly me, on your Dad’s lap.

Me (thinking): phew!

Me: *nervous laugh*

Neither of us are scared of people knowing that we are gay. I don’t think we would have got through the adoption approval process if we weren’t fairly accepting of who we are.

But, unfortunately prejudice against our family structure does still exist. There is a never ending debate about whether a same-sex couple is as capable as a mixed-sex couple at being parents. Often it is people who claim to be religious who have this opinion, people whose very religion teaches them to be tolerant of people.

It makes me angry that we can be prejudged like that and to be honest I think that debate is irrelevant. You cannot generalise an entire swathe of the population like that. Undoubtedly there will be good and bad parents of the same-sex variety, just like there are good and bad parents of the mixed-sex variety, and just like there are good and bad single parents. Each family should only ever be looked at in the respect of whether the children are happy and thriving in the environment they are in. That is it.

At this time, happily, I can say we are fortunate that we have not experienced any discrimination against us being gay dads, nor have we had any comments made to our faces about the make-up of our family.

It is a fear I have though. It is an added stress which no parent needs. That as soon as someone finds out we’re a same-sex couple they could (illegally for sure) refuse to serve us, or make our lives difficult. It isn’t something that happens a lot in the UK, but it is something that is now back on the increase since the UK voted to leave the EU.

I hate confrontation, but when it comes to my children and protecting them and their interests – which includes myself and my husband – I will not go down quietly, and I will defend my family.

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