Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mombian

I found an interesting website namedMombian- Sustenance for Lesbian Moms.

It featured a great article on "How to Respond When Meeting Lesbian Moms". It made me smile and addresses a couple of points we've already encountered. So here is the article- verbatim.

1. Don’t assume that just because we’re lesbians, we’re completely different from other moms. We change diapers. We fix scraped knees. We worry when our teens start to drive. We comfort, we care, we discipline when necessary. We make mistakes like anyone else. We try to learn from them. Above all, we love our children.

2. Don’t assume that just because we’re lesbians, we’re exactly the same as other moms. We sometimes get strange glances when we’re in public and our child calls the two of us “Mommy” and “Momma.” We have to meet with each new school and daycare to ensure they will treat our family with the same respect as others. We often went through a different, deliberate process just to have our families and ensure the legal relationship of both of us to our children. We face different financial burdens; for example, if one of us stays home to raise our children, she cannot contribute to an IRA as she could if she was a non-employed mom with a working husband.

3. Don’t ask “Which of you is the real mom?” We both are. Maybe one of us bore the child in her womb. Maybe we both adopted the child. Maybe one of us donated an egg that the other one carried. It doesn’t really matter. Both of us are raising the child and committed to her or his well being. That makes us both real moms.

4. Don’t ask “Who’s the father?” Maybe there is a known father whom the lesbian couple wishes to acknowledge, and maybe there isn’t. Don’t assume there has to be. (And simply donating a chromasome does not a father make.)

5. Lesbian. Say the word. If there’s a need for this term in conversation, use it. (As in the legitimate question, “Do you find people around here are accepting of lesbian moms?”) Don’t euphemize with “your type of lifestyle,” “people in your circumstances,” “women like you,” or similar.

6. It’s always safe to refer to a lesbian couple (especially one committed enough to have kids) as “partners.” They may prefer another term–spouses, lovers, wives, etc., and will likely tell you if they do–but “partners” won’t offend anyone. Don’t use “friends,” which trivializes the relationship.

7. Don’t let any of the above keep you from inquiring “Do you mind if I ask how you created your family?” “What do you feel are the differences in being a lesbian mom?” or the like. Showing an interest in this way indicates you’re comfortable with the situation, and that’s comforting to us in turn. As with moms of any type, most of us enjoy talking about our families if the questions are asked in a respectful manner.

8. Remember that no two lesbian couples are exactly alike, and may approach discussing their families in different ways. (This last point added after a comment on the original post.)

4 comments:

Caroline said...

I love this post. I especially love #6. This goes even if you don't have kids. I hate when some in Laura's family will refer to me as the "friend". I just hate that. No, I am her partner. I want to say to them, "saying partner will not hurt..go ahead and try". :)

DtDtKty said...

I LOVE this post too. Coming from a very sheltered and naive upbringing that basically had no diversity, I have never had a "Lesbian lesson". I think a lot of the time us "straight" folks are trying to be pc but end up saying something offensive instead. I am sure I have been guilty of it. Thanks for always being so open and honest with me. I appreciate the education. :)

Love,
H

Dana said...

Hi! Glad you liked my article, and that your readers--both straight and lesbian--did, too. The more bridges we can build, the better.

BizyLizy said...

This post was so very enlightening to me, and I appreciate your candor.

Something you said really struck me. My son is 20 years old, but even now, I love sharing stories about my pregnancy, labor, the nurse who was satan herself, the wonderful moments afterwards, and declaring to anyone who will listen that my beautiful baby boy weighed 9 lbs, 12 oz's. Yep...I delivered that...36 hours of labor, and a huge baby boy to show for it.

Why should it be any different for lesbian couples? So asking how you created your family strikes such a lovely chord with me. And it would never had occured to me to inquire, until now. Thank you!

I am so enjoying your blog.