0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 0 Flares ×

An article in the Toronto Star a week or so ago featured three twenty-something adult children from three different lesbian households in Toronto. The point of the story: that these kids turned out fine, despite growing up a couple of decades before there were enough same-sex parents out there to officially qualify as a small minority.

One of the youth featured in the article, 21-year-old Sadie Epstein-Fine, is the daughter of Rachel Epstein and Lois Fine. Both women were key players in building Toronto’s queer family community and fighting for our rights as parents. In fact, Esptein and Fine were part of a Charter challenge for non-birth moms to be named on their children’s birth registration. And Epstein is the LGBT Parenting Connection Coordinator at LGBTQ Parenting Network.

With impressive moms like these, Epstein-Fine talks about how it’s important to remember that children of same sex parents have their own identities. Often, she says, children’s identities are attached to those of  their parents. Which could be why Epstein-Fine says she loved the term ‘queer spawn’ as soon as she heard it. (Her family posed for an awesome picture for the story, see above.)

Other than a brief interview with Epstein, I don’t know any of the families in the article. I think they would probably agree with me when I say featuring three middle-class white lesbian families in a story about grown kids of same sex parents is hardly reflective of our communities, especially in Toronto.

In the years before I had kids, I collected stories about queer families. I asked questions about how queers raised their kids and what schools were like for their children. Sometimes I found out how they conceived.

I collected these stories, hoping the strength and wisdom I heard would help me when I became a parent, something I’d always wanted to be. There were the whisperings of lesbian conception stories, in the days before we could use sperm banks. Stories of women deciding, ‘tonight’s the night’ and then heading out to a bar. There were stories of gay men donating their sperm to wanting lesbians, at parties even. People did what they had to, and helped each other.

There were blended families: women who had had babies very young, came out, and then found their partners. There were lesbian families filled with stepmoms and stepsiblings, raising children who had come from opposite sex relationships or prior same sex relationships, having new babies together. And of course, there were the single parents, working hard and making it work. I didn’t hear as many dad stories, though there were some – and these were men who created their own family structures and stories to suit their lives. Like the women, they were and still are, pioneers.

And through these stories, the characters were as varied as one would expect in Toronto: some had come to Canada as immigrants, some were Native Canadians, many rented their homes, worked overnight shifts, and relied on bicycles and the TTC to get around. There were white folk, and there were many people of colour. Some had disabilities, some had transitioned. Truth, many were great parents to look up to, and a few were not the most committed parents on the block.

But that’s who we are as a community, right? We’re more than queer. And we’re more than a bunch of white people with white picket fences.

I applaud the youth and their families for sharing their stories in the Star article. It’s a brave thing to do, and their stories, and families, are awesome. I’m just asking all of us to remember, to celebrate, that queer families are just as boring, complicated, loving, messed up, rich and poor, Canadian in all its meanings, shapes and immigrations, as straight ones. And that, folks, is my angle.

p.s. I loved the term “queer spawn” as soon as I heard it, too.

 source: Toronto Star

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 0 Flares ×