Lotte and Stu are joined by Linda Riley, the publisher of DIVA magazine, and Sophia, one of Linda’s teenage twins. Sophia talks about growing up having two mums, how it is at school and what advice she would have for LGBTQ+ families with younger children. Linda discusses what she has learnt from her daughters, how mindsets have changed from when Linda had the twins and how it is being a parent to teenagers.
Full Transcript Below
Sophia: I think it’s actually quite cool. My mum’s did a very good job at raising me like, well, it’s meant to be like more normal and I feel like there’s never really been different to other kids.
Linda: I’m glad that she’s proud as well. they’ve taught me, not to put myself first anymore, which I obviously used to be, they taught me to be a more kind, considerate person.
Sophia: Some families have two moms and the twin sister.
Lotte Jeffs: Welcome listener
Hello, my name is Lotte Jeffs, and this is.
Stu Oakley: Stu Oakley. Hello.
Lotte Jeffs: And we are the hosts of some families. Thank you so much for choosing to listen to us today. some families is an LGBTQ plus family podcast aims to explore all aspects of queer parenting. so if you are a new listener, hello, welcome. And if you’ve been with us from the start, thank you for sticking with us.
Stu Oakley: and this week we’ve got, an incredibly exciting episode. we are in the middle of pride season and we have a very special guest that is very important to the pride community.
We have Linda Riley plus We have one of her lovely teenage twins. Sophia.
Lotte Jeffs: Linda is the publisher of diva magazine, which is a publication that is very close to my heart because it’s where I cut my teeth as a journalist. When I was a teenager, I am so thrilled that diva magazine is still exists. It’s brilliant. And the editor is incredible and lender’s publisher.
So I was really happy to talk to her. Because she has been somebody that has been in the periphery of my world for a long time now. And Linda, as well as publishing diva runs, it’s a load of diversity events, like the British diversity awards, the European diversity awards, the rainbow honors, she’s really inspiring.
And she’s always speaking out and fighting for LGBTQ plus rights and parenting rights.
Stu Oakley: And whilst Linda is amazing and I loved speaking to her. I think what’s really special about Linda’s interview and listening. You’ll get to hear is that we managed to get her teenage daughter with her and. It was really interesting hearing her point of view. She has a very positive outlook as you will hear.
I know that you listening out there have children potentially younger and want to know about what’s going to happen in the future when they hit teenage years. I know I’m thinking that I know you’re thinking that as well, too.
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah, I was really keen to, ask Sophia what it was like having two mums and, get some advice from the kids’ perspective in that respect. have a listen and we’ll, we’ll catch up at the end.
Lotte Jeffs: Thanks. So thank you guys so much for being here and Sophie, Thank you particularly for being here, cause I’m sure you’re probably supposed to be at school right now or some form of school or something. And for listeners at home, we have our first, some families teenager on the show today.
Sophie, who is is sitting next to her Mum, Linda. Sophia, what’s it like having two moms?
Sophia: I think it’s actually quite cool. And I think my school is quite like that, but he’s supportive about that. they also agree that I think, well, I haven’t really had a dad, but I feel like having teen moms, a lot of people complain about that data at my school. And they say that annoying sometimes, I guess I don’t have to deal with that.
Stu Oakley: And do
you have any friends at school that have two moms or two dads, or is it, are you the only one in your school that you know of?
Sophia: I think I’m the only one that I know of, but that might , but I used to be friends with someone who wasn’t in my school who was.
Lotte Jeffs: Did you ever feel like you were a bit different to other people or were you always made to feel like it was just quite normal and lots of people had two moms, two dads, different kinds of families.
Sophia: my mom’s did a very good job at raising me like, well, it’s meant to be like more normal and I feel like there’s never really been different to other kids.
Stu Oakley: yeah. So Linda was what the kind of tools and how did you explain it to the girls?
Linda: Well, we, we, I don’t think you can correct me if I’m wrong. Sophia. I don’t really think we actually, he went out of our way to explain it. It was just, as Sophia said, it was just part of the normal.
That’s my, other daughter over there, she’s making a little bit of noise in the background. I didn’t use any tools. So we spoke about it, you know, retold, did children, um, children. And we told them very, very early, I think the difficulty keyboards when they, you know, when they first got started going to school, they had to explain it to their friends.
So whereas they thought it was quite a good way to be. Uh, then they had to explain it to their friends over and over again. And that’s where it got maybe slightly difficult because they didn’t see any problems with it. Like you’re saying that or. did, did your friends at school understand, you know, definitely, basically the same, whoever I told most people pretty much.
Lotte Jeffs: Sophia, do you have any advice for my daughter? She has two mums as well. She’s only two at the moment, so she’s got a while to go, but if you met her, what do you think you’d say to her about sort of starting school and talking about her family.
Sophia: Well, I think you should just be proud of it and like, proud that that’s part of you have two moms. And I think she shouldn’t feel at all, like she’s different or anything because it’s basically the same.
Lotte Jeffs: thank you so much. That’s so nice to hear. That’s lovely. You must be really proud Linda to have brought up two amazing young women.
Linda: Yeah. And I’m really, really proud. and to hear Sophia because it’s not something we really talk about a lot at home because it shows. Much part of everyday life. So to hear her talking like this to other people, which really is quite emotional for me and I am very, and I’m glad that she’s proud as well.
Lotte Jeffs: Tell us, tell us about your YouTube, channel.
Sophia: And so. It’s like an animation channel. I just do like Shaw different stuff, like stories I animate,
Lotte Jeffs: How can we find it? What should we look for? If we want to look it up?
Sophia: it’s Sophia Studios and it’s on YouTube
Stu Oakley: are there many others your age doing what you’re doing in terms of animation?
Sophia: not really. I found it kind of tough to find other girls because while the, my age, I’m finding people around my age doing it on YouTube, I can’t really find any other girls. It’s mostly like boys, which kind of makes it hard for me to think that other people have done it before. Which makes you think that I need to try and be the fast pace so other people can think like, I can do this as well.
Lotte Jeffs: You’re a trailblazer.
do you feel Sophia that you’ve got a different kind of relationship with both of your mums? Do you go to one mum for one type of thing and one month for another.
Linda: yeah, kind of like they, I like them both like a lot for different things. I’d like to go in to talk to them both. And they’ve got very different personalities. So I could like whenever I want, I can always get into at least one of them and talk to them about it.
Lotte Jeffs: Do you have one that’s a bit more embarrassing as a mum than the other one. Are they equally embarrassing?
yeah, it’s slightly embarrassing. I think they are both a bit embarrassing sometimes.
Linda: I think she is talking about me.
Lotte Jeffs: Very tactfully done, well done.
Stu Oakley: we’re in the middle of pride season at the moment, but we’re in the middle of a lockdown pride season. What will you be doing as a family to Mark the occasion?
Sophia: because of the lockdown, we’ve had more time out of school to spend time with, uh, other mum. So we’ve been like going round to the house, two days a week, which is more than before. So I think it’s giving us opportunities to hang out with him on days. We’ve been like going out into some activities, like,
Lotte Jeffs: Nice.
Linda: With regards to pride you haven’t been to pride for last couple of years because, I took them very, very early, you know, probably from the first year they were born and said, we’re doing so many prides. I would almost say that for thirteen year olds you are pride-ed out. Would you say that they’re like, they’re like, no, no more prides mum, you show you’ve got some good memories.
Sophia: Well, I’m glad I got to go to those events and like, see that stuff that some kids don’t really get to go out and do because their parents don’t really take them and show them that stuff.
Lotte Jeffs: What’s your favorite thing about him?
Sophia: somethings I do find a bit boring when my mother does like kind of talking to people and I just said that. She’s like, she’s like, why do all these people want to talk to my mom? You know, like, she’s really not that interesting.
Stu Oakley: I think you’ll
find the older you get as well. Sophia, you’ll realise how interesting your mum is. And I, and you know, Lotte said that Linda, you must be very proud of Sophia but also Sophia You must be very proud of your mum because she does a lot for the LGBTQ plus community. and which is why pride is so important.
And Linda, do you have any advice for any other parents who are in lockdown of what potentially they could do this prior to kind of instigate some change
Linda: because everybody’s at home is to try and, have a pride if you like, get together by zoom and talk. especially with children because you know, one of the things I did early on is I started out with the family. Which was a, an event. Do you remember to go and events so what was very, very important at an early age for the children? I would say this during pride as well is to try and locate, you know, through various networking groups, other people, other pair, and set up a zoom party because I do. Think it’s very, very important. the other children, as they’re, as they’re growing up, see that there are lots of other, you know, shame shakes parents around, you know, as Sophia said, we don’t have many friends, our age, because obviously that was quite early on, in the same sex parenting journey when we had children.
but I think now this is changing and I’m one thing I think that we really miss in our, in our lives is having, other friends with kids their age,
it’s not too bad because we have twins. You know, you should have kind of got each other. they’re a great support network to each other on the rare occasion.
If somebody was showing it to them, they probably got each other. And that, that gives them a lot of strength. Would you agree with that? Or
like the same thing that you can always talk to?
Lotte Jeffs: That must be so nice. Do you get on well with your sister?
Sophia: most of the time. Yes.
Lotte Jeffs: Are you very different?
Sophia: yeah, we have a lot of things that are different, but also a lot of things that are the same, like nothing like the same household in schools. That’s why we always get along a bit, cause we’d have the same kind of interests, but then we also have our certain different things that our personalities as well.
Sophia: some families have two moms and the twin sister.
Stu Oakley: Well, that’s why we wanted to, to, to speak to your Sophia as well, because there’s a lot of our listeners who are in a similar situation to your moms and, you know, children who are very young, like Lotte’s, and, and not unlike my, own children in there, they want to look ahead to the future. So we really thank you so much for, for coming on and speaking to us. we were talking then about the fact that you had your twins, 13 years ago now, I guess. And. Maybe things were different than can you pinpoint just a few of the, what you see is the biggest differences of what you experienced as lesbian parents, then to what you maybe have friends who are just having children now are experiencing.
Linda: Yeah. I would say that the world wasn’t really I’m used to it. It was very, very difficult. every time, we would have to come out a lot, for example, and people wouldn’t understand, like when we went to pick up the kids from school, they would say, I would say oh I’m the mum. And they would say, Oh, but we met the mom yesterday, you know?
And I’m like, yeah, but I have two mums, you know, so it was constantly coming out. now, I could be wrong, but what I, what I see now is that people understand more. I mean, lots of you might be able to tell me what the two year old, if you think that that’s any different or do you still
Lotte Jeffs: I feel like people get it. not situation where if I was to say. Oh, I am her mom and they’d already met her other, mum. I think people would do the mental work to just think, Oh, she’s got two Mums. And to probably not say, Oh, but hold on. I met her mum. So I think that it’s still unusual for people, but I think people are familiar enough now with it as a possibility that they, try a bit harder to understand.
Linda: So it’s actually exactly how I feel. It feels like it is easier, you know? I do feel, uh, the school that they’re at as well. It’s easier. but what I do feel is is my kids are 13, 14. that’s where I was very interested in doing this show, because I know there are so many thousands of, same sex parents now kind of, looking at people with the older children too, you know, just to check out how it is really, you know, There were a lot of worries when you’re same sex parents, like, you know, you worry, are you bringing problems to your children, et cetera?
on the rare occasions that my kids have had trouble at school. homophobic abuse. you might’ve seen the diva survey that we did earlier this year. Uh, one of the standout things was that was, 36% of LGBTQ women. Uh, parents said their children had homophobic abused.
Now that is quite an upsetting statistic. somebody actually asked me in an interview. Has that changed from 10 years ago or the problem is, is there weren’t those kinds of statistics. Nobody had ever done surveys like that before. So I hope, you know, not to save for you in 10 years time when you’re doing an interview and, uh, just looking at surveys, statistic is lonely considerably, you know,
Stu Oakley: would you be happy to share some of the examples that you’ve had of the homophobia that you’ve experienced?
Linda: Yeah. I mean, it hasn’t really been too much. I mean, I’m not sure how much, much children tell me sometimes because I’m I’m such a rebel if you like, you know, actually as soon as it is something I’m off, down the school, like, you know, really nipping it in the bud because I figured that’s really important, The two times that really stood out for me once was when they were young children and they had nanny cause we were both working and they had a birthday party, I think the kids, maybe two or three. and one of the, there was a group of nannies, there was about six children together.
They all hung out together and my children were having a birthday party. and when the people found out that she was taking their child to lesbians house for birthday party, they said to the nanny, you can’t take that child to that house. You know, it was out and out homophobia and it was like, Fortunately, my children were really, really young and didn’t know I knew this was going on, but what was empowering about that,
And actually sad for that for the, for the child, in fact, of the heterosexual parents, was that all the nannies got together and said, I’m sorry, but we can’t hang out with you. because if you don’t want us to, you know, have Phoenix and Sophia as part of this little group, we don’t want to be, we don’t want to see you anymore.
Unfortunately, there. The child of the heterosexual parent was kind of ostracized because of her parent’s homophobia, but it, but it was very empowering that the allies stood together in this way. So that was it. That was a really good example. Me, we were totally shocked. We’d never sort of experienced somebody saying they wouldn’t have come to our house because we were lesbians.
Lotte Jeffs: God, I just don’t know how I would reacts if that happened to me.
Stu Oakley: Especially as you spend, as a queer parent, you spend the majority of your days and weeks and months just parenting and you just crack on and just go on with it.
So then I suppose suddenly you just have that in your, in your face. Must’ve been very, it must have been very upsetting for you and your wife, but amazing that you say, how powerful allies can be, especially within, you know, amongst other straight parents or straighten out needs in that case, et cetera.
Lotte Jeffs: And Linda, were we right in thinking that you would identify as the other mothers? So the mum that didn’t carry the, the
Linda: Okay. I think the terminology at the time was non biological mother, unfortunately at the time that I had the children. With my partner who carried the twins, we weren’t married. So what we didn’t know then was, we then married afterwards.
and I had to adopt the children, even though we’d gone to IVF myself. I believe the law is changed, but, what do I have to go through in life now is, uh, Being stigmatized if you like, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being an adoptive mother, but the fact is, is that I was there from the conception, but yet I am labeled as an adoptive mother, which is very, very difficult And language is so powerful. Isn’t it? I think people sometimes underestimate the, the emotion that. Is attached to words and the words that we use to describe people. And I can totally understand how that’s just not the right word for you. And it doesn’t express your experience of motherhood.
Lotte Jeffs: And I can understand that that using that kind of feels like it’s diminishing something in some way. And so I personally feel like on a bit of a crusade to make sure that the language around queer Parenthood is right for the. The individual that we’re talking about, we’re talking to.
Linda: actually, the thing is, is that, people seem to think you should like to come along. Know, she would have time, you know, very, very personal questions like, did you, are you the biological mother? And I, you know, I get agitated cause I’m like, what does it matter? Do you know what I mean?
Why is it so important? But it feels it’s really important to people who don’t really know you to kind of want to know. Who carried the babies and who didn’t carry the babies. And, you know, as you know, when you’re a parent, you know, that bonding, makes you the parent, you know,
Lotte Jeffs: I suppose we’re sales. So preconditioned in this kind of heteronormative view of parenting, that the only way people can understand parenting roles. And I suppose I’m guilty of it myself is to kind of want to know will who carried the child? And who’s the other one. It’s like, we still have to ask these questions because it makes people fit into the boxes that society has created for us, but you’re right.
You know, why should, why should that even be a question?
Stu Oakley: Yeah. We’ve
we’ve had some great feedback actually from some straight parents that have listened to too. Some families I’d actually, who wants to know more, but maybe questions that they’re afraid to ask or, or just how to use the right terminology. So I think that again will be really super helpful for, for anybody listening that is curious about how people should or should not more importantly, be labeled.
Lotte Jeffs: And what’s it like being, teen moms that are now separated and not living together. Did you experience any that you’re comfortable talking about?
Legal issues when it came to custody and things like that. And also, now, if you could talk a bit to the extent you’re comfortable talking about it, about your relationship and how it works with, having the kids at your houses.
Linda: It has been a difficult journey. Let me tell you, I mean, any, any separation isn’t easy, but because it happened when the children were quite young, my daughter, Because it happened when the children were quite young, they’ve always been used to their being shepherd, how songs, which is really, really good.
I’ve been very, very fortunate with my ex wife, who was, as we said earlier, the biological mother, often, from people that I’ve heard about when they separate from that. Partner who carried the child. There’s often big, big problems. And I know I never went through those problems, so I was very, very lucky.
but co-parenting, as Sophie said earlier, Sarah, my ex, I we’ve got very, very different personalities, you know, so we’re always having to negotiate and come to agreements on how we’re bringing them up, you know, but it’s about keep talking and working it out, you know?
Stu Oakley: And I guess that’s great piece of advice for anybody Yeah. Who unfortunately might be in a situation that they’re facing, you know, a separation.
Linda: I mean, my biggest, bit of advice would be, when you first meet , you fall in love you know, Hunky Dory and lovely. It all feels good. But if you’re looking at having children, you know, get the paperwork sorted out, you know, cause you never know what’s going to happen. You know, you really don’t so, I would say really, ensure that you both have equal rights in the situation and that, you know, there’s no way that one of you are gonna get left behind.
I really do hear some, um, horror stories, especially with people maybe before my time that had had children and they’re the non-biological parents and they don’t even see the child, they had so, I would say, you know, prepare yourself legally, both of you, you know?
Lotte Jeffs: I think that’s probably a sensible advice. what’s it like being a parent to teenage girls?
Linda: Well, that’s not easy. it’s a, it’s a, it’s a journey, but it’s, it’s a fun journey. I think that, with me, especially with my work, I love the work that I do and I’m well respected. And then you sort of come home and then your kids rolling their eyes at you, you know, like in person in the world, you know, so.
I just accept that suspension. They’re going for the, you know, and then people sites, they might be proud of your
because they’re, they’re teenagers. We’ve acted. You do. You know what I mean? I’m very lucky. I’ve got two absolutely adorable children. And for them to say so myself,
Lotte Jeffs: Have they taught you anything? I mean beyond how to use tech talk, which I’m just presuming they will have taught you. have they taught you anything about yourself?
Linda: they’ve taught me, not to put myself first anymore, which I obviously used to be, they taught me to be a more kindness, considerate person. I think, going back to when I had them, I would say that my life was quite head initiative. If, you know, like, you know, just really into carving out poaching and discos and whatever I have to say discos now.
That’s how old I am. But, I think that they, you know, Thinking more about the future and a lot of the work that I do, I’m thinking about the future, I’m thinking about their future, you know, so definitely taught me to be more considered that, you know, and they are there.
They’re my kids, you know, like if I buy the wrong kind of food, they kind of tell me off and, you know, should they, they’re teaching me to look at things I never used to look at, you know?
Lotte Jeffs: I’m looking forward to the teenage years.
Stu Oakley: yeah. Yeah. We’ve got all that to come,
Lotte Jeffs: Stu, you’ll have three teenagers in the house, Oh my
Stu Oakley: I know don’t I have a it’s bad enough having three toddlers in the house, but when they’re going to be three teenagers, that’s going to be insane.
Lotte Jeffs: Is there a stage where it’s actually easy with kids where like, cause me and Stu were both in the toddler stage, which is obviously really hard and then the teenage stage is hard, but I’m kind of holding onto the hope that maybe like seven, eight, nine, 10 is like quite easy.
Linda: Yeah, that is quite easy, but it’s almost like when they come at that stage, you’re like, Ooh, you know, where am I in? Like, butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth kids, you know, like they, they sort of vanish, but, you know, the kids are searching, they’re nearly 14, you know, they’re not that bad, you know, you just, they’re just teenagers, you know, it’s just lovely.
I mean, it’s beautiful. I’m really happy. I think there’s this, there’s this period where you have to let go. Cause one of the things that my kids always say to me is mom, we’re not kids anymore, you know, and sort of getting out of the mindset that you know, that they’re, they’re still, you know, they’re young adults now.
Stu Oakley: I read
something as well. Indicted wants to ask you going back to when you were first, you and your wife were first looking at starting a family. And I read something about the, when you phoned up an adoption agency and the response that they had to. And when you first tried that many years ago,
Linda: basically we rung up, um, should I name who it was because you know, or she would just say ‘a council.’
Stu Oakley: I think maybe a council.
but maybe it was a few years ago, so hopefully they’ve moved on a bit.
Linda: I think they have actually, because I’ve remembered seeing an advert. I was like, Ooh, when I phoned you up, do you know what I mean? So that’s, that’s a positive change, We’re interested in, adopting, we’re a gay couple and they should, we don’t do your coin game and put the phone down, you know, like it was like that.
I mean, at time, I think they had started some councils had started adoptions already for gay parents, but obviously the person that I got on the phone, sometimes you’ll find it. Not really. In line with policy because they bring their personal beliefs into it. But yeah, it was a, yeah, it was kind of off putting, but, you know, what I’m really pleased about is it, when I tell stories like this, it seems such a long time ago and I just don’t think things like that happen anymore.
Well, hopefully they don’t. I
Stu Oakley: Hmm, but it’s still
fairly recent, you know, fairly recent history and, you know, think it shows the steps that have to have been taken in the last X amount of years, but still a lot more to do as well.
Lotte Jeffs: And am I right in thinking Linda I’m I might have misremembered this, but I remember from years ago, seeing something you posted about, having some difficulty traveling with your kids, was that you going to America or something? Somebody gave you a really hard time.
Linda: That was what I, that was why, I was talking about this with Phoenix yesterday, but, basically it was really, we would travel to the States, when they were young, you know, before they went to school we went through customs and it happened a few times. we went through a Mo route for the customs and we would stand together, me and Sarah and two kitchen in the customs and the customs officer, you know, you have to give these forms before the machines, you know, and then they show what’s going on.
And I was like with two moms and two kids. Uh, married in the UK, everything. And they went now, so you have to send in separate lines. We don’t recognize you as family here. So they would, basically ask me to biological mom, you know, and, and separate us. So I’d be standing in the queue a few feet away from my children.
You know, it was a what tough, because.
Lotte Jeffs: Woah.
Linda: Yeah, it was, it was very hurtful.
Lotte Jeffs: And particularly if they were older and then your kids are sort of seeing that and seeing you being treated like that must be so confusing for the children.
Linda: yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was, it was quite, you know, they were quite young and they just got off a long flight. They were kind of toddlers, but knew what was going on enough to know that some big security man was coming over and shading, you know, you can’t stand with your children. I I’m hoping things like this don’t happen anymore.
Lotte Jeffs: It’s funny. Cause ever since reading that, I’ve when I had my daughter, I’ve always traveled with her birth certificate and all of the, just any paperwork I’ve got, because I’m so paranoid that I’m, that something like that was going to happen to me as her non-biological mother and the. I’m going to be in trouble or they’re going to, I don’t know.
Stu Oakley: I think it’s nerve wracking you the best of time for parents traveling, but I think definitely as queer parents, it adds another. Level sometimes. I mean, I had,
when we went with their kids to America last year and they still had their birth name on their passport. So we were effectively two men traveling with two children with different names on the passport. And we, we went with like a book of information that we were ready to like bring out at any point.
I didn’t never happen. Nobody batted an eyelid, nobody said anything and it was all fine, but it was that feeling of needing to be prepared and that nervousness about it. I mean, and you say, Linda, you hope things are not going to. That doesn’t happen anymore, but the way things are going in America, I don’t know if you know, things will start peddling backwards at any time soon.
Linda: I’m planning on a presidential change in my mind, I mean, I do believe there’s some States that stopped LGBT adoption.
Stu Oakley: in Philadelphia. They’ve been able to turn away, uh, LGBT adopters potentially. Well, potentially I think that they’re campaigning to be able to, but the fact that that’s even being heard and being discussed is a, is a, is a huge thing.
Lotte Jeffs: Well, Linda, thank you so much for coming on the show.
I said to your daughter earlier that she was a trailblazer with her animation, but actually you’ve been a real trailblazer as well for the community and for queer parenting. So thank you for everything you’ve done and for telling your story because it’s, um, it’s really helped.
I think so. Thank you.
Linda: My pleasure.
Lotte Jeffs: Well, I think as all of the kids of queer parents that we’ve had on the show, it’s just so reassuring that she’s so articulate and sorted and absolutely not an issue, you know, like I think. I think it’s asked that have the issue. And we think our kids are going to be struggling in some way. And it’s just great to hear that they’re not, and it was almost like they were saying, why are you even asking that question?
Like, which I love. She was just totally, absolutely not
Stu Oakley: I wonder if that’s a universal parenting. Subject, rather than being particular queer. One in the sense of you always fear that your children are either going to think the worst about their surroundings or be put in situations where they’re not going to be able to handle themselves, whereas actually they can be pretty bloody resilient.
And like you say, just kind of crack on with it,
Lotte Jeffs: I think that’s exactly it. I think we probably really underestimate our kids and. How would, they will be able to handle themselves in the world? I think that all we can do is, as we said, four on the show, you know, give them the confidence and the words and the language and the hurt whisper, I guess, to go out and face, whatever they’re going to face in the world.
But I’ve just come to the understanding that. Whatever I’m worried about for my daughter is not going to be the thing. I think that I should be worried about. It’s going to be something else. So in a way, there’s no point worrying about it because I’ll be faced with it at the time and it would be what it is and we’ll get over it.
So I think sometimes it’s with parents, as we’ve spoken about Stu you know, you can think, Oh, they’re going to get bullied for having two moms or two dads, but they might get bullied. It might be for that. It might be for something else entirely. You know, we have to trust that we are creating, so they didn’t stay Bush human being so you can just handle it.
Stu Oakley: Yeah. As long as we give them the tools and as long as we give them the conversation points, and as long as we do everything we can to empower them in that way, then that’s all we can do. And like you say, I think it’s a natural state as a parent to worry, but. And so it’s hard to say don’t worry, but perhaps we do need to take a step back and just stop worrying so much
Lotte Jeffs: I think particularly as, as gay people that may or may not have been bullied at school ourselves, I don’t know about use to, but I kind of had a hard time at school. Like I wasn’t, it wasn’t directly bullied for being gay, but I definitely was made to feel like. I did I’m Finn and I wasn’t the same kind of girl as other girls.
And I was never entirely happy at school. And I did, I did have a hard time and I did struggle. So I think it’s, and my wife did too. So I think for us, you know, we don’t want the legacy of that to hang over our daughter. Like she should just start fresh and she will have an entirely different experience.
Stu Oakley: she will, and it will, can be completely different. All our children, you know, again, our collective children that we have together, Lottie. Well, you know, they, they will have a completely different experience to us and it may be good. It may be bad, but I think all we can do is support them through it and just be there for when they need us.
Okay. I’d also for, you know, Sophia to be as strong as she is, and as confident as she is. I mean, it sounds like from Linda that they did, you know, come across some quite, you know, when the children were younger, some quite severe,
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah, this is the thing with the nineties was
Stu Oakley: insane, insane. And. And I, and even back to when they were first identified their family, and they’re speaking to the adoption agency saying, we don’t deal with your kind is just, it just shows that the leaps and bounds we’ve made in the last, you know, few years and how lucky we are to be queer parents in this day and age. And to really have the tools and the understanding around us to, to raise these amazing little people and, and, and kind of speaking on that it’s, it’s pride. We are in the middle of pride season, as we said at the top of the show, what are
Lotte Jeffs: It is well aside from wearing my new rainbow, huge watch strap, which I’ve been wearing with
Stu Oakley: Did this. Now I can see that Lottie is modeling it. Now. She looks like she is stepping out of an editorial shoot as we speak
Lotte Jeffs: I feel like I have dressed, like I’ve gone to pride STEM in like a ripped off vest, top a chain, short shorts and a pride bracelet. I feel like I’m living my best lesbian life today.
Stu Oakley: speaking about my son. Was wearing his favorite dress today and he was making a birthday card for my sister and he got the glitter out and it went all over him and it’s been over him all day. has also looked like he has been marching in a parade. Uh, today he has got the dress, he’s got the glitter and he’s got the smile.
Lotte Jeffs: I am sad that there won’t be a parade this year because I might’ve taken my daughter for the first time. And I think she would have really, really enjoyed it. how you going to recreate that at home?
Are you even going to try.
Stu Oakley: I’ve given this a lot of thought actually. And. I mean, we have a lot of fun at home anyway, in the sense of, you know, dancing around to Kylie or, you know, my son’s obsessed with the new Gaga song. And every time it comes on, his eyes literally light up and he gets so excited and we do things that have fun at the time.
I think what I been thinking about, and you kind of touched upon this in our chat, you know, with Dustin is I want to use this opportunity, especially as we’re locked in to. Work out how I can not only speak to them about the first defining, you know, that knowledge of, of both queerness and also, , black and Bain communities and, and make them understand from a, from a young mind point of view about racism.
So they understand it and that they can articulate it properly in the future and understand it and support everyone is how I can, how I can do that from home. And actually I’ve had, I actually opened up a really interesting conversation with my daughter’s school about the types of books that they have in the school library.
And I also shared links where there’s an amazing organization called diversity role models. and they have an in home learning park, especially designed for, for the time of coronavirus, um, about how you can teach your children, about diversity at home and from the ages of three right out to secondary school.
So I’ve also shared that with like our, you know, parenting WhatsApp group from the school
Lotte Jeffs: How has that been received? Stu when you’ve sent nice messages.
Stu Oakley: really well, and also really well, but also it felt like everyone was kind of crying out for a bit. Like they wanted the tools to be able to speak to their children about diversity and about different families, but they didn’t necessarily know where it was.
So being able to share it and go, Hey, here it is. I felt like it was really welcomed and it’s something that they been actually looking for.
Lotte Jeffs: great. Yeah. I actually feel like I need to start talking to my daughter about straight people because, because she’s so, um, she so understands team mommies and two daddies, and now I’m like, Oh, I really need to remind her that some people have a mommy and daddy as well. So I’ll be taking the pride weekend to talk to my daughter about the existence of heterosexual parents.
Stu Oakley: teacher teacher about the head trays.
Lotte Jeffs: it’s an interesting point because she, this is what she’s grown up with as her normal. So, you know, we have some friends and other lesbian, couple, you have a son the same age as my daughter and. She just gets it when she sees them, she says, Oh, he has team mommy’s too.
You know, she really understands the parenting dynamic, but she hasn’t really come across, particularly because we’ve been in lockdown and we haven’t been socializing. Um, she hasn’t really seen as many examples of different types of parenting as we would have maybe liked. So. Just, yeah, I think it’s going to be important to keep talking to her and showing her different examples of what parents can look like.
Um, so yeah, we’ll, we’ll probably be doing that, this pride and it probably just like listening to lady Gaga, his new album. And my daughter’s favorite song, which is scissor sisters let’s have a Kiki, which we didn’t even push on her. She chose that song and it is the gayest Anthem in the world. So we’d probably be dancing to that quite a bit.
Stu Oakley: I love it. Oh, Lotte. I wish we could come around and dance too. Let’s
Lotte Jeffs: Yes. Well, you can now with the new rules, they’re just, you’re a bit far away.
Stu Oakley: come and dance outside the window or in the
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah.
Stu Oakley: and just
Lotte Jeffs: Come and dance in our garden.
So wherever you are, this pride and whatever stage of your parenting journey you are at, we see we’ve got you. And we are there in spirit celebrating with you.
Stu Oakley: happy pride listener. And if you’re not already, please do follow us on social. We are at some families pod on Insta, Twitter, and Facebook. So thank you very much, everyone. And goodbye from me.
Lotte Jeffs: Happy Friday. Bye bye. Bye.