We have podcast royalty Chris Sweeney co-host of Homosapiens Podcast. Chris has started on the surrogacy journey with his husband, which has been halted since lockdown 2020. Chris joins the hosts of Some Families Lotte and Stu for a good gossip PLUS Chris talks about the start of his queer parenting journey, and the fact that it takes more than “a lasagne and a bottle of wine” for LGBTQ+ people to make a baby.
Full transcription below:
Chris: As LGBTQ plus people, you have to make up your own rules all the time of how you do things. Like how are we going to do this? Cause there’s no path half the time you’re told you have been told, you’re not allowed to do the thing you’re trying to do. So you make it up as you go along. And actually it means that you, reconsider it from the ground up.
And I think that that’s why not with you the way you guys had your baby. And, and also like, why not with the way you construct a family.
Stu: Hello, listener and welcome to some families. My name is Stu Oakley, and as you probably know, by now or not, if you’re a first time listener and hello to you, if you are, uh, I am an adoptive dad of three and I am here with my gorgeous and wonderful co-host.
Co-host are you
Lot: there? Hello Stu hello listeners. I am Lotte Jeffs. I’m the other half of your Some Families mummy and daddy duo. And I’m a Mum of one who’s two and
Stu: a half. Well, this episode is rather exciting. Lotte and I are just awaiting the arrival of, well, he can only be described really as podcast royalty fellow queen and all around wonderful podcast.
Host Chris Sweeney from Homosapiens.
Lot: Yeah. So you’ve probably listened to Homosapiens as well as some families. I wouldn’t be surprised. Chris is the host. He did it with Will Young and his first series. And now he’s doing it with Alan Cummings and it’s a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant podcast. And we love it here on some families.
Chris is also a director. Yeah. And he has just been nominated for an Emmy, which sadly he didn’t win, but he should have done for his TV show that he directed called back to life. So he’s an all round talented individual who I actually first met when I was at university. And we’ve had some shenanigans in, uh, in our young, young, gay times together in London, which we won’t talk about on this show, but we could maybe do a sort of special X-rated show.
We had some fun times. And for anyone listening that lived in London in the early. Two thousands, the club shadow lounge. Well, tell you everything that you need to know about what our gay London life was like together when we were waste strolls. Yup. Queer, beautiful people on the streets of Soho. But Chris has gone on to do fantastic things and we’re really happy to have him on the show.
So without further ado, we welcome to our little zoom meeting room. He’s he’s waiting out. It’s like desperate to get in clamouring at the door. It’s Chris Sweeney
Chris: testing testing. Hey, well,
Stu: thank you for joining us, Chris. This is very, very exciting.
Chris: Thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be
Stu: here. I gather that you and Lottie actually know each other from university.
So you two go way back.
Lot: Yeah. I was just reminiscing about when our first sort of early encounters in Soho shadow lounge, friendly society. How times have changed, how we we’ve moved on. When, um, gay marriage became an option, which I think was like, when was it 20
Stu: or several partnership was before 2015, 2014 was marriage.
But civil partnership was before then.
Lot: Okay. So when that became an option, did you then suddenly find that your family were pressuring you into sort of getting married and having kids in the way that straight people. Have have suffered for
Chris: millennia? No, I mean, I don’t know what you guys found, but like I have to qualify this with, this is probably a lot of my own insecurities being projected onto this statement, but like when William, my husband and I got married, I definitely felt the vibe from a lot of people was as if.
Like, Oh, we’ll increase or putting on like a school play, but like a, you know, like a puppet show behind the sofa. Like it’s not real, you know what I mean? Like there was none of the, it just didn’t come with any of the usual stuff. Cause I don’t think people really thought it was real. And that’s not to say if you asked them face to face, they would say that, but I think it was just like, Oh, gay marriage.
Stu: exactly. So Chris, so now you and will. Thinking about and looking at having children in your lives and that’s a prospect for your near future.
Chris: We have both always wanted kids. We’re pushing ahead and we’re doing surrogacy and it’s a fascinating. It’s a fascinating process. So we’re doing it through America and we’ve got some friends who’ve done it through America and we’ve got friends, who’ve done it through Canada.
It sort of feels like entering a cottage industry. It’s not that different to podcasting actually. It’s like, you meet people who are doing this thing and they know how they do it, but they don’t know how everyone else does it. And. You know, you kind of, you learn a lot because there’s no bigger systems in place for it.
You know, it’s sort of like, it depends who you talk to. So I find that quite interesting and a sort of combination of it’s a combination of like deeply personal. Beautiful conversations with certain people, like people who are so good. So people who run surrogacy agencies and then also some conversations that can feel quite Saifai and, you know, talking about eggs and embryos and cycles and things, um, which I imagine is, you know, very adjacent to IVF and all of that kind of thing.
And you feel like you’re in the future. In a strange way. That’s
Lot: interesting. I think once you kind of, once it goes from being a conversation with doctors about eggs and blastocysts and sperm, or, you know, the, the science of it until it turns into something real and emotional rather than biological, I see what you mean about it.
Feeling quite like scifi and weird and alien and hard to connect with. It’s so abstract. And it’s
Chris: a real thing I find fascinating about it is that like all those conversations about eggs and, you know, X being turned into embryos and embryos, sperm is frozen and embryos are frozen and things like that.
They are quite tangible things you can point at and go. This is what it is to have a baby. But what I’m always reminding myself of is the truth is this is, um, that no one will remember any of this stuff, because this is about a person. And I think that it can feel quite easy to forget that sometimes because, and the reason I’m saying that is like, you know, my mum was sort of chuckling, listening to me and my cousins, I think will know me and my sister and some friends talking about.
Babies. And she was like, they’re babies for a second. Like, what are you talking about? You know, and sort of people going, Oh, we think we’re going to do this. We think we’re going to move here. We’re going to move that mom was like you blink and they’re toddlers. And then you blink and they’re 15. And actually the truth is, cause it’s all quite tangible, the process and the eggs and the embryos and all of that, you can get a bit hooked up.
Hooked on that, but actually it’s about a person and you have to remember that.
Stu: I mean that, then you’re in it and you’ve got this little personal little people in your life. Then, then all that, all that goes away, the stuff that you’ve been working on before and thinking of like all the terminology, like blastocysts and.
All that kind of stuff, which is my new favourite word ever having to start at this areas. I mean, how do you predict your life will
Chris: change? This is the thing, right? So you two know it. And I find that there is this look between people who have kids that is this kind of, you know, you know, you know what I know.
You know, and no one can ever fully prepare you for it or explain it to you. And you’re reminding me of Ellie Taylor is this comedian who I work with a lot. She’s very funny. She’s on Instagram and think just Ellie Taylor. And she found, I think in her email drafts or somewhere like a list of things she wanted to take to hospital when she had her baby and she, and she posted it on her Instagram going like G H DS.
I think she took, I think she took a book and like all this stuff. And she was like, how little did I know to think that I would be doing anything to my hair or any of that stuff? And then people started replying saying all the things that they took. I think that that is a solid tree lesson in that, like, I don’t know, you know, I’d love you guys to tell me, obviously I suspect your listeners have heard, but like, I think I’m fascinated by how little I know
Stu: all that stuff you take to the hospital.
You just leave at the hospital and you never see it again by the sounds of it.
Lot: May I just say so the hospital, and this is just maybe an example of how extra I am as big. I took, we’ve got this like little pink globe light. It was in the heat of summer. When my wife had our baby. And so I also took a fan.
And so this is like top tips. If you are going to have a baby, uh, particularly if it’s in summer things to pack in the hospital bag, which I know is not quite the point of what you were saying, Chris, but just, this is a quick sidebar. So I took this pink globe light because the lighting in hospital rooms is.
Always terrible. It’s always strip lighting. So if you had like a pink warm globe, turn off the overhead light and keep this lovely ambient pink lights on. And then when the midwives and doctors and nurses keep coming in and interrupting you during the night, they don’t keep turning the overhead lights on.
Top tip number one, top tip number two, take the F the fan. And then I also took some menthol room, says no, no. I mean, that would also think it, but it was like, it was a minty like oil. And then I. Dapped some kitchen roll. I adapt a minty oil on the kitchen roll and I hung it over the fan so that the fan blew out this sort of delicious, fresh, minty smell.
So, I mean, we were going through how it was like a three day birth. It was it’s awful. But every time a doctor or nurse came in, they were, they were like, yeah, Oh, it’s so lovely in here. You ladies really don’t have to create an ambiance. And I was like, thank you very much. I’m not having much to do with this process of having a baby in terms of like my physicality, but at least I’m
It makes me think of like queers do anything. Like we just always, we saw out the lighting we saw out in the atmosphere. You know what I mean? Like the playlist, you know, maybe it’s a bit of Kashmir, you know, like how do we make this nice. And that’s
Lot: exactly right. And I felt proud of us cause I was like, okay, if we’re one of the few lesbian couples that are coming in here and having babies, I’m going to show you.
Stu: Well, so you can
Chris: do, there’s a link between them, which I think is lovely. It’s like as LGBTQ plus people, you have to make up your own rules all the time of how you do things. Like how are we going to do this? Because there’s no path half the time you’re told. You have been told, you’re not allowed to do the thing you’re trying to do.
So you make it up as you go along. And actually it means that you, instead of from the ground up. And I think that that’s why not with the way you guys had your baby and, and also like why not with the way you construct a family, you know? And, and I think that that is, I think that’s lovely. And I think like when you’re in uncharted territory, That is a real permission to do it.
However, you please, and a bit like a wedding and a bit like many other things. I think that’s, what’s exciting and inspiring. I really like
Lot: that way of thinking about it as so sort of positive and exciting to think. Okay. That there are fewer precedents with this. Let’s let’s do family differently. Let’s create a family that’s right for us.
And I think there are still so many. Hangovers of heteronormativity and it’s something that you and I have spoken about kind of like that’s our benchmark, that’s what we have as a structure to fit ourselves into or reject. And I think that to just think, no, we can just start a fresh with a blank slate.
Is is really exciting. And I think we should do more of it because it’s so easy to just fall into what other people are doing. That it’s important. I think to challenge ourselves all the
Chris: time. Yeah. There can be. That’s true on our podcast. All we seem to talk about escape, shame, but like through shame, you can set yourself little tasks that like, because I’m ashamed of a part of myself by being LGBTQ plus, I’m going to set myself a little task.
I’m going to achieve this. And, and that normally is in parity with straight people. I’m generalizing here. So you can set yourself that task without thinking, hang on. What works for me? Like what do I actually think is interesting or the best way to do this? And, you know, as you get older, you start to be like, hang on.
I actually, I think it should be like this and I don’t care what other people think of that. And that takes a lot of bravery and. Gumption to do that. And I, you know, like one of the things thinking about parenting that makes me chuckle is growing up. Like I was really feminine, boy. And I love flight wearing dresses.
And like, my family was so fine with that. And it was really lice that they didn’t care. But like I often, like when you’re out in wider society, you know, people get funny about it and then your femininity is heated, let’s say or attacked, but then. When you start talking about having children is like two gay men.
Like people go, Oh, where does where’s two men in where’s the female role model? And you go, well, hang on a sec. Like I thought I was too feminine for you a second ago, and now I’m too masculine. And I think, you know, I love the actually the truth is you do not need to get your feminine energy from. A woman and you did not need to get your masculine energy from a man.
You just, in life, they’re both have valid, you know, they’re both valid in their own way, but they don’t have to come from a gender. It’s just about the mix of life. And I think that’s what I’m looking for in our, um, in our family, you know? Yeah. We
Stu: had that with us and, you know, I said exactly the same, right.
Uh, I’m, I’m incredibly feminine and my husband’s not that feminine, but he can be quite feminine. And I was like, actually, where’s the way it’s going to be the masculine influence in, in our children’s life. And where is that? You know? And it’s, it’s so embedded in all of us in all queer people to have had that shame.
And it’s a really interesting concept how. Maybe by being a parent and by maybe going with something that has always been considered. So heteronormative actually helps break down that shame. Do you think that actually by becoming parents, by
Chris: being a parent, you’re probably going to have to confront a lot of stuff within yourself and I, and so that interests me.
I think that by being a parent, you also learn to get out your own head and go. Who cares if I’m nervous, but who I am, you know, this is now a big than me, but I think the, and I don’t know because I’m not a parent U2. What, so I want to know what your answers are, but I think the one thing that, like, the bit that I can sort of speak about is that, like, I know that by the idea of becoming a parent, like, I know that I want to make a family where.
Within our family. It’s okay to be different. And my family were like that as well, but I know that a lot of families aren’t, and I think it’s really good to teach kids to set a certain example in the way you live your life, not teach kids that an example of the way you live your life. And actually, my parents were like, really didn’t give a shit about anything.
Like, I love dolls. I wanted to be a princess the whole time. They, they actually never even told me what I was doing was odd as a kid, like. They didn’t even bring it up. And actually the thing that was kind of the smack in the face for me as a little kid is that then I would go and get dropped off at people’s birthday parties as a kid in a dress.
And then everyone at the party would think I was weird, but my dad had dropped me off and gone and I’d be like, Oh, okay. I’m not meant to be in the princess dress. And it was sort of really like, Oh, whoops. Yeah. And, um, and I, I love my family for never having. They didn’t even teach me about difference.
They just said you are who you are. But I think perhaps my version might potentially just say to the children I have, should they wish to be different in whatever way, you know, just say, you know, like, yeah, there’s an element of preparation there. Yeah. But what, what do you think about that question as well?
Because you two are the parents
Stu: just on the subject of dresses because it’s something Lottie and I have talked briefly about, and it’s something that keeps coming up even this week. Again, the, my son loves wearing dresses and he’s always cause he sees his older sister dresses and he’s always asking to wear a dress.
And this week he wanted to wear a dress and, and there’s always something in me that. The push is back in the house. I’m fine. But when it’s going out of the house, I always pushed back on and I’m always like, why is like, why am I as me as a queer man? Who’s proud of being queer and, and want my children to be whoever they want to be.
Why am I so resistant of it? And all I keep coming back to is that because I’m a gay man, all people going to think that I’ve almost. Like encouraged him to wear a dress. And that’s always in the back of my mind, it’s, it’s, it’s been a really difficult thing for me to kind of get my head round and, and whilst I don’t care what people think at some, in some ways, but it was like, for example, we were going out to meet, um, the older siblings who they hadn’t seen in a while and he wants to wear a dress.
And I was really adamant that I was like, in that situation, no, you’re not wearing a dress. Cause yeah. There’s these older siblings thinking, Oh, he’s been adopted by two gays and I’ll look at him wearing a dress. And it was, it was something that really came to my mind. So it’s. Yeah. It’s an interesting concept of how that kind of shading can come into things as well.
Chris: I mean, it, that is so fascinating on so many levels because I think that. You when you were speaking, I was like, Oh, well, the thing is like, of course you’re worried about doing outside of the house because you have experienced the interface of what it is to get shit for that stuff. You know what I mean?
So you’re protective over this child and you know what people can be like. So there’s a dichotomy of like, Okay, what do I say you be you, or do I try and protect you? And I think also like, you know, the conclusions that other people jump to. Right. And the conclusion that could be jumped too, because you’re going to meet up with the.
Your child’s older siblings who don’t, they don’t know you that well. Right. And so they can jump to conclusions. And I think that’s really complex. Have you read Tom Allen’s book? I want to,
Stu: he taught
Chris: this new out. Isn’t it good for someone who can just get to the heart of. What it is to be vulnerable about your own experiences.
And Tom was talking about growing up in Southeast London, in. He, you know, these are his words, like a very normal family, but he’s popped out the womb, like speaking really posh and liking having tea parties and stuff. And he was talking about defining what it is to be suburban. And he was saying, you know, like to be suburban is to really care about what people think next door.
And I am. So that person, like, I just, I, to be honest, I feel like it’s either baked in or it’s not like, and I just am that person. I care if people are being noisy, my God. And when we’re having drinks, I’m just like, Oh, please, can you show off the neighbors? I’m just that person. And I think, but he was talking about aristocracy and how all those kinds of people, how they don’t give a shit.
And what came to my moment. I was reading. I was like, well, that’s privilege. Isn’t it? What a privilege to be able to tell people to go fuck themselves, you know, because it’s, it’s not afforded to many, you know, and of course you’re going to be worried because you’ve been on the receiving end of the
Lot: bad shit.
Do you think that as gay people, we are often people pleasers and we sort of want to make ourselves okay. For other people. And so we feel like we somehow need to be. More polite, more charming, more funny, more intelligent and emotionally engaged because we kind of have to work for people’s acceptance and validation.
And I think that that’s something that really comes in with parenting too. And I, it sounds to me like that’s kind of what you’re experiencing as well as the sort of sense that you have to be the most perfect. Parent and that you’re, your kids have to sort of fitness, like normal ideal. And I can see you’re battling with that.
And when we talk about it, I can see that it’s something you don’t want to be feeling, but you know that the residue of these, um, these heteronormative structures, it runs deep. Like it’s not something that you can just rationalise away. It’s, it’s really, it’s almost physical and, and learn. And. You know, exists in us and it’s so hard to just shake it off.
I think so I think as gay parents, you know, we are carrying a lot that street parents aren’t carrying. And I think that the best way to deal with it is to have these kinds of conversations and talk about it and normalise things and, and challenge ourselves and be open-minded as well. Um, and yeah, just, yeah.
You can do it. You can even try your best.
Chris: And also like the thing that like skin from skunk, Nancy, who is a black skinhead, a bisexual woman who came on our podcast. And like, I always quote this thing that she said, which is, you know, you’ve got to give people a minute. So she was like, if I go into a pub in the middle of nowhere, I just have to get people a minute because they haven’t seen anyone who looks like me and.
I didn’t get angry. I don’t care. I just let them have a minute to work it out. And I think that sometimes as LGBT people, Q plus, uh, we are used to. Pre-thinking what the other, person’s going to think. You know what I mean? If like you’re going to judge me because of this, because we’ve been down this road a thousand times and it’s so it’s, so it’s all of that as well.
You know, it’s like your, your mitigating against what you think is going to happen and that’s normal.
Stu: I don’t know how far down the road you are with surrogacy, but what was it about surrogacy? That made you go for that option. And did you and well kind of look at other options out there other than surrogacy
Chris: to everything and including like random friends drunk near dinner being like, Oh, I have a baby.
You’re like, should we talk about that tomorrow? Read the room tomorrow. Don’t think so. But we, yeah, like we looked at adoption, but it to surrogacy and all. All the options we decided this time, this first time we want to do surrogacy, but would really like to look at other options in the future. Like maybe adopt in the future.
I basically COVID meant that I was supposed to be going to Australia to film a TV show and I was about to leave and I. Went to New York to freeze my sperm, to be part of the surrogacy process. And then COVID happened. So I didn’t go to Australia. So I need to have gone to New York to freeze my sperm, which was semi pointless.
So, but it’s there. So that it’s all being done in San Diego. Do you know? What’s weird though, is like, it was so I didn’t know. It was all done in such a rush that I. I just had this feeling when we were doing it. I was like, I just feel like this is not going to happen as planned. I don’t know what that is.
And then COVID
Lot: happened. So were you in, well sort of on the same page with surrogacy from the beginning, or was there a kind of a conversation that got a bit complicated ever?
Chris: We definitely had a conversation. We were both really undecided. I think that he. Really wanted to do surrogacy. So I was like, okay, let’s, you know, let’s do that because I think that it was sort of one of those things where it’s like a marriage or a long-term relationship or whatever, like, you know, it’s definitely like a thing you do together, isn’t it?
You know, and he really wants to do that. So it’s like, okay, let’s do it. But I, I would really like to adopt in the future as well. And I, um, You know, I know how big a thing that is, you know, it’s, you’ve been through Stu and you know, it doesn’t mean one kid. It can mean three and all of those things, I think down the line, I would love to talk about that as well.
You know? As in with him, you
Stu: can come and come and chat to us about it as well. For sure. And maybe just a shout out for any couples that have disagreed so much that they’d never gone down the route because they’ve disagreed so much. It’s a
Lot: pretty big question. Right? And like, it’s reassuring to think that if you’ve gone, as far as being in a long-term relationship with someone like you’re on the same page with the, with the big stuff,
Chris: it just felt to me that like of all the shit we’re going to have to talk about.
Throughout being parents together have this meeting of two minds of what it is to raise someone and how you were raised and all the super personal stuff. Like let’s just have a really calm, gentle conversation about what you really deep down would quite like to do right now and be mega open because this is the easiest chat we’re going to have probably.
And I definitely even find that with the dog, like. We definitely have different parenting styles and you can project your own stupid anxieties onto how you parent a dog.
Stu: I think people underestimate pets and how important they can be in preparing yourself Parenthood. And I think some people can. Almost laugh that off.
And, and, you know, there was a point during our adoption process where actually John and I used our dogs as examples that got us through the process, our older Labrador, she’s still with us now bless her, but she had a massive bout of cancer a few years before we adopted it. And yeah. But we were able to use that as an example of how we came together and how we sat with her through the night when she was literally in continent on the floor.
And we were nursing her through the evening and gave up everything for her and it just, and it, and it actually showed how we were able to devote ourselves to another. Being, as it were, as you said, work out how dynamically we can kind of come together, which, which our social workers were like, yeah. Tick, tick, tick.
Yes. This is brilliant. This is brilliant information.
Chris: How do you go into the unknown together? You know, because like the w the biggest bonding experience of my life from my family, Including my husband who was there the whole time was my dad dying. It was amazing watching us work together. Like it brought us so close.
We were amazing the way we dealt with it as a family. And we all learnt loads about each other
Stu: for the future. Where ahead of you, what would you say are your kind of, you know, biggest worries about being a parent? Oh, biggest worry.
Lot: if you want some, we could give you low.
Chris: Yeah, I know. You’re like can’t believe is stumbling on this one.
I think I’m going to be quite uptight. Like I think I’m a very anxious person. And I think that what I, you know, what I hope is I don’t project that onto my children. We had to say, you have to have, when you do surrogacy, you have to have like a therapy consultation with someone. A lot of people seek therapy at the point they have kids.
Cause they’re worried about putting their own shit on their children. I was like, Oh, that’s fascinating. I’d never considered that. I mean, I’ve had therapy since I was 27, so I love it. But I think that’s really interesting that a lot of people want to sort of get out of the way. So it doesn’t go down a generation.
Stu: Oh yeah, totally. I mean, there’s things that I see in the children all the time. Well, the others also see in the children all the time that are like, that’s you you’ve done that. That’s you I’m like, thanks. Thanks. But then also. But then also feel slightly proud about it. Like, Oh, you know what? They’ve got a bit of me in them because they’re being, you know, they’re being this way or that
Chris: also, by the way, you’re trying your best.
Amen. You know what I mean?
Stu: A hundred percent you have to roll with the punches. You have to not be too. Cause if you do be too hard on yourself, you’re just going to beat yourself into a corner. I will
Chris: allow listening back to this interview after I’ve had kids, I imagine. But do you not think that. As LGBTQ plus people, the things that have caused you issues is the set ideas of how things or people should be like any discrimination you’ve received is because of that.
So try not to do that to yourself in parenting and just go. Yeah,
Lot: I think it’s totally a lesson in relinquishing control and just, just accepting that your love for your kids. Exists and your kid loves you and they might not always express it in the way that you would like them to, for example, at the moment, my daughter I’m, so I’m mama and my wife is mommy.
And my daughter is like obsessed with mommy to the point that if I go to pick her up from her court in the morning, she’s like, no, no, no. I go, mommy. The funniest thing she said to me today was can mama be mommy? And then I had to pretend to be mummy and, you know, I just feel like it’s my duty as her parent to not let that affect me and to be robust and to show her that.
She can say whatever she wants to say to me. And I will always be there and I will always be loving her. And actually I’m not, you know, if I was like, Oh, darling, that hurts my feelings. When you say that so much poor me. I feel like that’s a recipe for sort of setting up, uh, a very dysfunctional.
Relationship. So I just feel like I need to just laugh it off and brush it off. And most of the time she’s absolutely adorable with me. And when my wife isn’t around, for example, she’ll always come to me and she’s incredibly loving and sweet. She’s just sort of testing out boundaries. She’s testing us and she wants to know how I react when she says that.
And I think it’s healthy to be like, That’s okay. You can, you can say that to me. And I’m still here. I
Chris: love that you dealt with Ella.
Stu: So we’ve said how much we adore Homosapiens, Chris. We do, but I mean, from a parenting point of view, is there anything you’ve taken from some of the guests that you’ve had on Homosapiens?
Chris: I think like the thing that I feel about Homosapiens, which is it will be the most. Nutritious beautiful thing I’ve ever done with my entire life. I love it. And the thing I take away again and again, is that you. The unifying thing of all the people we speak to her amazing is compassion. And it’s an elusive thing, sometimes compassion.
And I think that if you act with compassion, it is the North star to everything else. And if you were to listen to every single episode of homo sapiens, With these amazing people, actually, you can come back to all these incredible things they’ve done is because of that. And I think that if you can do that in, if I can do that a bit with raising a family or my relationships with anyone in a family that is, you know, a life, a life well lived.
Stu: Yeah. That’s a wonderful thing. I mean, and you feel that you do the compassion that you feel. And compassion will get you so far as a parent as well. So if you can take that, like that’s compassion for yourself, for your partner, but also for your child as well. It’s so important.
Lot: We on some families have a new little jaunty little item called Sharon tale where we bring something that we feel is like, A great example of LGBTQ. Parenting or is something that presents our community in a great way or it’s just something we just generally like, and we share it with the class. We wondered if you, if you’d brought anything to some families classrooms.
Chris: Yeah. Let me look at my satchel. So what I wanted to bring, um, was this Facebook group called men having babies. Do you know it? Oh shit great. Okay. So men having babies is, I think it’s pretty big. It is a Facebook group where men who were having kids post stuff. And I have found it a brilliant resource because there’s two versions of research.
Isn’t there, there’s like the hour you spend looking, looking, looking, and then there’s the one where like, it just, it’s always in my Facebook feed. And so I just absorb lovely bits of information about what it is to be a parent in a much more, um, Organic way that I think you wouldn’t get, if you’re doing an hour of thumb doing research and I love that.
Lot: it’s not just gay men. It’s it’s men
Chris: generally. Yeah, no, it is gay men. Sorry. It’s it’s LGBTQ plus men. So I think there are, you know, trans men in there and all of that, but I think what’s interesting about it as someone who doesn’t have children, like the, the chats they have there. About just really tiny specifics that I think is, is really interesting.
So someone would go, has anyone had this? And you’re like, ah, and then people comment underneath and you just learn loads. I don’t know. It’s just interesting. You learn lots and it’s like, okay. I tell you what it’s like. It’s like net. I am obsessed. Okay. Reggie mum’s name is a place where people can talk to each other about.
Oh, incredible specifics. And 15 people will reply. And where else can you do that? And I wish there was what I wanted to set up was an LGBTQ plus version of not just parenting of just queer net, you know, like, because we all have these specifics and we don’t always have someone to turn to, to talk to about.
And I think, I think it would be. Amazing. And I find men having babies. The Facebook group is a bit like that. It’s just really interesting too. You learn loads from tiny little space, which
Stu: is, yeah. Thanks, Chris. I’m going to go and check this school because I think it is. Well, it’s so important and it’s so important to feel you’re part of a community.
And even if it’s, even if it’s not that you’re learning something from it, it’s just that you’re feeling included and you feel represented. And there’s something that that’s reflecting back at you, I feel is what is important sometimes. And you know, lots of, and I’ve talked about, you know, different social apps.
Aimed just at mums that are there as well. And, and it’s, I think it’s so nice to be able to have that within a queer space and to have those and to have those honest conversations, because. We’re all trying to be the perfect parent or trying to, you know, do it the way we can. And like I say, to have to learn from other people’s fuckups as well as sometimes incredibly important.
Lot: So I have bought to show Intel. In the spirit of true inclusivity, something from a heterosexual path? No,
Lot: My friend Sophie bearer Siena, who I used to work with on L she was the beauty editor at Al when I was there. She, she used a surrogate with her husbands, um, sperm and donor eggs to have her baby.
And she writes brilliantly about the experience of being an other mother, I guess, although she is. Her daughter’s mother, of course, but there’s a sort of otherness to her experience. And she has just launched a website called mother project official. She writes a column for the times about her, her experience of surrogacy.
That is brilliant. And probably anyone going through surrogacy would really take a lot from it. But her website, not only does it sort of showcase her. Incredible style and just keep baby stuff. But she’s also sharing a lot of stories of, from other people gay and straight who have had different routes to parenting and I’m sharing it because I think it’s interesting to understand that actually it’s not just an LGBTQ thing, that there are a lot of.
Heterosexual people who find themselves in positions where they’re having to explore alternative ways of becoming parents. Um, and so I think that the website is brilliant and really worth checking out. It’s called mother project official.com.
Stu: I don’t have something I want to sh well, it’s something more as a Sharon Tel conversation piece.
And actually I thought Chris, with your background in TV, actually, it’s something that it would be good to pick your brain on. Do you both watch modern family? Or have you both watched modern family? So cam and Mitch, they obviously have Lilly and I feel it’s, you know, family is groundbreaking in so many different ways for the fact that the way that they are portrayed as a gay couple, et cetera, et cetera.
And then they have this, the fact that they’re gay parents on, uh, on one of the biggest American TV shows of all time. I just felt towards the end of the, and I still haven’t watched the final season, but I felt was the end of the series. They get the relationship with Lily just takes this really weird turn that actually, I just feel.
Is not a good representation for LGBTQ plus parents. It’s almost like she’s an annoyance to them and they’re always forgetting about her. And she’s always just like this on the side and, and they want to adopt this other new child. I just was curious to know what your kind of feelings were on that.
So I don’t know. I love modern family and I think the fact that they, there was this, you know, gay couple and they had a kid and all of that was great. But it’s probably a bit of the friends slash will and grace problem, isn’t it. It’s like, you know, We, we clutched any element of acceptance from will and grace.
And then actually we suddenly went, hang on a second. This is so 2d, the portrayal of LGBTQ plus people. But again, it’s white gay men and you know, even that’s too narrow, I think that, yeah, it’s not good. But the actor
Lot: that plays Mitch has just had a baby with his husband. Justin. So maybe if you follow the real life version, you could, it could be somewhat
Stu: book him on the show.
Yeah. We need to get him
Chris: on. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough. I think that like, Sometimes sometimes what Springs to mind, we talk about this on our podcast. A lot is like the people who are doing some work get more flack than the people who are doing no work, you know, and that doesn’t excuse it. And it does not make it right at all.
Because what we’re talking about is a palatable version of gayness on me, really. And, Oh, isn’t it funny that they. Forget their kid because they’re gay. Get it, you know, and, and it’s like bang on and watching
Stu: it. And John and I both kind of look each, I think it’s really uncomfortable actually. Like the way that the dynamic between this, what was a wonderful, like unit of a family unit is suddenly become this.
Tonight. They just don’t seem to like each other. Cause
Chris: our representation is so narrow that like, we look to that show, like if there were 12 different shows, which were presented gay people, having kids, we wouldn’t be so frustrated by the one that does it. You good, Chris?
Lot: That’s your next TV commission?
Make a brilliant show about queers.
Chris: You are to do the gay romcom and I’m like, I don’t know what it is.
Lot: Ooh, where’s the space. Well, listen, Chris, thank you so much. We’ll let you get on with your evening. It’s been brilliant having you on the show. And thank you and best of luck with your, with your journey and keep us posted.
Chris: Thanks. I mean, exciting stuff. No, thank you so much for having me on. It’s been an honor.
Lot: We hope. Listening really enjoyed that as much
Stu: as we did. Oh, I loved her. And if anybody needs latte to go out and if you need some kind of maternity support in terms of lighting or aroma therapy,
Lot: market myself as like the equivalent of a doula,
Stu: and you’re going to be put you out as an aroma therapy lighting birthing partner for, for hire.
And as always, we want to hear from you lovely listener. And so if there’s something that has got your seal of approval or has really got your goat, especially from an LGBTQ plus point of view or a parenting point of view, then please do DMS or email us, or send a carrier pigeon. But how should they get in contact with us?
Lot: The email address with which to send or to which to send you an email to you is some firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can find us on Twitter or my preferred means of social media engagement, Instagram. Yeah. And some families, yes.
Stu: Go and stalk her lovely listener. Uh, you can also check out our website as well, which is www dot some families, pod.com.
And you can find all transcripts of past episodes and links to listen to past episodes as well. Thank
Lot: you for listening folks, and we hope you enjoyed the episode. We’ll be back next week with another one. So until then, it’s goodbye from me. And it’s
Stu: goodbye from me. Bye-bye
Lot: this episode was produced and edited by Hattie Moir.
Stu: Some families is a StoryHunter production.