In Episode 20 our Some Families season 1 finale, Lotte and Stu chat to Jake and Hannah Graf, with their 8 week old daughter Millie. Jake and Hannah are a transgender couple from the UK. They talk to the hosts about how they met, their journey to surrogacy, the pregnancy and the birth, being new parents during lock down and what parenting roles mean to them. Lotte and Stu discuss what they have learnt from this Season of Some Families.
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Full transcription below.
Jake & Hannah: within about five minutes of kind of, you know, the, the basic chit-chat I said to her, so I hope that you’d be open to marriage and children because that’s, that’s where I’m going.
I’m revealing any of it works because I never genuinely thought that I would have a baby in my arms. I just don’t want anyone else to ever think they’re an adequate because they can’t carry a child.
Stu Oakley: Hello, listener and welcome to Some Families. My name is Stu Oakley and I’m here, virtually with the gorgeous, the wonderful, the incredible Lottie Jeffs.
Lotte Jeffs: Aw, thanks Stu,
I am here with my favourite co-host, Stu Oakley. So welcome to our final episode of Season 1 of Some Families
Stu Oakley: We’ve learned so much. there’s been some amazing, inspiring people that we’ve spoken to and so much has changed. I’ve added to my family since we started this podcast, I mean, when we first did our first episode I didn’t even know about our youngest.
I didn’t even know that he existed and he was in the world. So that’s been. A bit of a whirlwind not to, mention a global pandemic. it’s been quite a journey. Hasn’t it? We like to use that word Lottie, but it has been quite a journey.
Lotte Jeffs: I was thinking actually a fun game could be if you were listening to this podcast and you took a shot every time we said the word journey,
Stu Oakley: I would be on the floor right now
Lotte Jeffs: it’s been an incredible journey I’ve learned things that I am taking into my personal, approach to parenting as well. I think some things have just really resonated for me that people have said, I remember Kirsty the biological.
Mother who said she never tells her son what he doesn’t have when they talk about their family. She never says you don’t have a dad. She always says you have two mommies. And that’s something I’ve actively been trying to do with my daughter. And she’s really picking up on it. She’s started to say, I have team mommies. some families have two mommies and it seems like such a positive affirmation rather than focusing on a loss, which I think is really nice.
Stu Oakley: And then she’s on brand as well.
Lotte Jeffs: She stays here on bread and I don’t know if I told you this already, but she did say the other day, some daddies have two mummies,
Stu Oakley: Oh, which is true. Yeah. I mean, we spoke to Mike, he wasn’t gay with two mommy.
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah, I was speaking to Mike was a, was a highlight. What his experience of growing up with lesbian moms was like, what, what have been some of your standout moments Stu?
Stu Oakley: For me, it’s just learning about, I was in such adoption world when I came to my parenting and hearing from so many different people, yourself included and hearing your story and learning about, donor conception, learning about surrogacy and expanding my knowledge in that area.
having spoken to so many parents or seeing the community online, et cetera. I kind of got broody as well, like broody for the adoption system.
I think it’s bringing back so many emotions and so many happy emotions of our adoption process and yeah. when you see somebody see that’s been matched and they just had their matching panel and it just brings all those feelings flooding back of sheer joy and
nervousness and all those feelings that I had. It just, it comes shooting back whenever I see in anybody else.
Lotte Jeffs: Interesting. Yeah, that’s so nice. And I think actually one thing that I’ve really taken from recording this whole to season is that, it’s so nice to not be other for once. Like we spend so much time LGBTQ parents being the only LGBTQ parents in the room and. Being sort of a bit different and a bit special.
And the one that people are asking questions off of and, you know, that’s, that’s fine, but it’s just felt so nice to just be part of a community where everybody it’s like that. so I’ve really benefits there a
lot from that to feel part of something. So thank you all for listening and thank you, Stu, for being on this journey with me.
Stu Oakley: It is a journey. There you go. You got double shot right there. and we’re finishing this series with a wonderful couple that we got to speak to a very important couple for so many reasons. We, as. Lesbian gay, bisexuals need to ensure that we’re supporting our trans brothers and sisters.
And we need to ensure that we are there to support the T in the LGBT. And so tonight we’re really lucky to speak to the incredible Jake and Hannah Graf. Now you may have heard of Jake and Hannah. Okay. Cause they are very well known. They are arguably the highest profile trans couple in the UK and they kindly gave us an hour of their time because they have just had a new baby.
Lotte Jeffs: they had Millie on April the 14th. When we spoke to them, Jake had Millie on his lap and she was incredibly quiet, but you might hear some baby noises in the background. they are transgender themselves. they are parents, and they’re paving the way in terms of representing the trans community and showing people that it is possible to have a family.
And for that, I think they’re pretty inspiring.
Stu Oakley: there is also an amazing documentary coming up on channel four about Jake and Hannah. it’s coming out later this month, or if you’re listening posts July, 2012, NT, it is probably available on 4OD. I would imagine.
And we really hope you enjoy this last year episode in series one of some families.
Lotte Jeffs: Enjoy we’ll catch you at the end.
Jake & Hannah: I do enjoy our first meeting. we actually met over Facebook. December, 2015 and her just being out here. Across that front pages with the rather dubious headline and officer and a gentle woman, including pre and post transition photos that catapulted her into the limelight and she popped up on Lorraine and I happened to see her one morning being interviewed on the reign Kelly show and thought who’s that rather lovely looking young lady.
I kind of registered, but then moved on and I, at the time had just. Uh, doing The Danish Girl press tool, kind of all around, so we were sort of aware of each other and obviously, you know, us as within the gay community, if someone says, Oh, you’re gay, you must know my gay cousin, Brad in Nebraska.
He’s gay too. Obviously, that, that isn’t true. However, with the trans community, we do all sort of send to know each other. And so how the popped up on what people you may know. And I. added her as a friends and within about an hour, but a very key message back from Hannah saying, you know, I’ve been watching on your exploits with great fascination, I think what you’re doing is lovely.
You know, be great to have a drink soon. Love Hannah. It was Christmas time. So you’re all at home or you kind of having your, of fairly jovial and friendly. And so we started what is quite easily, the most mortifying and embarrassing Facebook message exchange ever. We read them back occasionally now and cringe.
They are so mortified. And, we spoke of the course of about a week and I kept saying to Hannah, can we please please get on the phone? And Hannah was worried because she has. A slightly deeper voice, that I would hear her voice on the phone and be put off and think, you know, she had a man’s voice, but obviously I’ve seen her be interviewed.
So I knew that she had a deep voice that had absolutely no bearing on anything and handicapped just in the Skype, which is really weird when you get to that. And so I finally got on the phone and within about five minutes of kind of, you know, the, the basic chit-chat I said to her, so I hope that you’d be open to marriage and children because that’s, that’s where I’m going. And she rather nervously didn’t hang up, which is impressive. And rather nervous said that she would be open to marriage and children were read to get that far. And so we met a few days later under the clocking Waterloo station and met at three in the afternoon. And we were out on the southbound chopping dinner and yo sushi at nine first kiss and BFI at 10. And we ended up in a, in a rather secret military bar around the corner from mostly station one in the morning, sitting on a sofa and drinking tequila. So, so I think state laws for 11 hours.
And then I saw her the very next day on the 31st of December. And we have been together pretty much ever since.
Lotte Jeffs: so nice And how did you feel, Hannah, when Jake said on the phone first you’d ever actually spoken, do you want to have kids?
Jake & Hannah: I mean, it was quite, it was quite intense moment. I wasn’t expecting it, but you know, what Jake was saying and I, up to respect him for this, which was. You know, I’m at a stage where I know what I want in life, but do you want to get married or do you want to have kids? And so if it’s just not, you’re not interested, I’m not even going to bother spending my time for me, any kind of emotional relationship with you.
And we’ll just say thanks. But, so I was a bit like, well, to be honest, I hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought. Cause I genuinely thought as a trans woman, that I was unlovable unworthy of love and unlikely to ever have those things in my future. Anyway. So I haven’t given it a, the thought, but it was.
Well, that sounds nice. that was all, it was just a moment. Say, okay, we can, we can both go into this now. And if it does go into something else, then some line.
Lotte Jeffs: That’s so sad that
As a trans woman parenting and, and that kind of future never existed for you.
Jake & Hannah: I mean it’s, I mean, it is absolutely sad and it’s something that, you know, Jake and I try and talk about our stories as much as we can. And that’s why things like the documentary will hopefully do some good because there are young trans people out there and a lot of other non trans people, but people who still feel unlovable or unworthy of love, who you just don’t have this in there.
In the future, it’s all in their, in their brains and that’s wrong. Everyone has the right to have a family and have love and be happy. And so, you know, just if we can do it, then we have the people coming out can do it too. Yeah. I actually remember when we were just together. For about five, six weeks, she said to me on never thought, you know, looking back two or three months, I had resigned myself to never feeling love, to never being loved, to never having relationships, never having a boyfriend.
And I had made my peace with just having a good job and friends and supportive family. And I thought that was a pretty good
in life. And it honestly brought me to tears that a woman is wonderful as Hannah should have resigned herself and made her peace with being alone and unloved for the rest of her life.
I just think we know how often that happens within the LGBT community, that people just feel that just not worthy and unfortunate that’s society putting that on them rather than then naturally feeling that. Hopefully it’s something that will change.
Stu Oakley: Well you’re part of that change as well, you’re two high profile figures, you filmed that. Documentary. And hopefully that will inspire a
lot more people to realize that they can do it.
you had that initial first conversation very early on. So then when you started settling into your relationship, did that kind of take a back burner or was it always very full on about children from, from the get go
Jake & Hannah: as I say, Jake just wants to make sure we were going down the right path together. And weren’t like having different expectations and that path always included us, spending time together, going on a holiday together, doing all those sort of things you do to build a relationship and know that, you know, something you want to do.
And someone who wants to be with forever. we already see each other on weekends.
And that was, I think it was about that point wherever we went, when we doing it, because we live in separately, different cities, it was long distance and it was hard.
And that’s kind of made the decision for me to leave the army, moved to London, find a job in London and get married. the next thing on the cars was having to have a baby.
I mean, even in the lead up to, to proposing, how many times do you think I asked you if I propose to you, would you say yes. if you’re going to ask someone to marry you, you kind of have to know 100%. They’re going to say yes. but then, yeah, as soon as we, as soon as we were married, pretty much, we always knew that, you know, I think after about six or seven months, we, we just jelled and we clicked in a way that I had never clicked with anyone before,
much as it’s great to date women who aren’t trans, there was always that having to explain about dysphoria and how it felt, what being trans meant. And there there’s moments where you’re so crippled with discomfort and it was just the biggest relief to be dating someone who knew exactly the, what it was to be trans without having to explain it.
And then obviously what Hannah left the army. After 10 years of service, that kind of cemented it all. And we, uh, we realized that’s where we were going. Then we started obviously looking for our, sorry. Yep. Yeah. I mean, especially as a trans woman, the whole dating someone else who’s trans really helps with the family and stuff as well.
It’s not just the person you’re dating, but their families, their friends, they will have expectations of you. And, obviously I can’t carry a child, which is why we went through surrogacy. and that is a very difficult conversation to have with someone
Lotte Jeffs: so with surrogacy, the option for you guys from the very beginning, did you ever discuss adoption or fostering or any, any other route to parenting?
Jake & Hannah: for me, I got, you know, I’d seen my sister have kids too by then. And then there was another one coming and all my friends that had had their first and their second, sometimes their third. And it was getting to that point where it was becoming quite crushing, actually looking around and seeing everyone with their kids.
And I was single and nowhere near there. And so I thought, well, if I end up single then, so be able to find out not being a father at some point, then I would certainly feel like it was a life half lived. And so I went through the fairly unpleasant process of going to the London women’s clinic and, stopping testosterone for six months prior to that and having eggs harvested.
And, you know, they never seen anyone like me and they were very Frank honestly. We’ve got no stats to off, you know, uh, assurance there’s no anything, we will do it if he wants to do it. but we can’t tell you if this is going to work at all. And so went through all of that, not very nice injections in the stomach or pretty grim.
you know, at the end of the day, I was quite happy within my masculinity, so it did knock me for six. And I managed to harvest. I think in total was about 19 embryos of which we managed to have five fertilized. Cause everyone said, look, you know, if you, now that you’ve done this, if you really want to up your percentages and your chances of having a successful pregnancy in that eventuality fertilize them.
Because obviously I think it doubles from, from about 20, 25% to 50% chance of a successful pregnancy with a, with an embryo five day blastocyst. So I chose an anonymous donor, went through all that and put those on. And then about eight months later, I’m at Hunter. And so we had these five little embryos.
For us, as I say hot, those not words. And to be honest, I’m still incredulous. I’m revealing any of it works because I never genuinely thought that I would have a baby in my arms.
It is incredible. And so, you know, we have the conversation if these don’t work, we would have adopted, we would have done whatever it was necessary to have a child.
Stu Oakley: So then how was it finding your surrogate?
Jake & Hannah: So, I mean, sorry, have you seen the UK is a very complex space. the laws around it are not very helpful. I think that you for review, but the main thing is you can’t pay a surrogates. and you can’t advertise for a surrogates. And so it becomes a very difficult thing to do to find someone we, Jake and I were kind of bumbling around on Facebook groups to begin.
We’re talking to some friends and meeting some people and you really have to form a relationship, and you know that you’ve got to go potentially a condition very high as in some big lows with, you know, on your journey.
So you’ve really got to. Being matched with your surrogate. You have to really get on with each other, but like each other.
And you’ve got to be happy to have an ongoing relationship and then the rest of your life, essentially. So we were meeting a couple of people and it just felt a bit weird or not quite right, or just didn’t click with these people. And we were a bit lost and a bit frustrated thinking, gosh, are we ever going to find them?
Is it ever going to happen for us?
And then, Lorraine is amazing. obviously, and she did help.
Stu Oakley: Back to Lorraine, she’s like your fairy godmother. I mean, you know Hannah and her when, when Hannah was outed, by the Sun
Jake & Hannah: Lorraine has been incredibly supportive and we got in touch and we said that, obviously we’re not allowed to advertise.
We are looking for a surrogate and we’d like to raise some kind of awareness over the fact that surrogacy is so loaded and is so difficult here. And it’s such a minefield. And she said, no, come on. And we’ll talk about it. And amazingly after being on, there were lots of calls from lots of women who offered.
eventually it was, the national fertility society got in touch and said, we’ve got a woman here who we were just, she was just matched and at the last minute, this couple. Got cold feet. It wasn’t quite right for them, which was obviously sad for them.
Um, and I’m sorry, that was kind of left in limbo, really ready to go and, disappointed and then saw us on Lorrain and just started that. And then she got in touch and we met and we chatted and we had all of our kind of matching conversations in counseling and she, you know, she’s a pediatric nurse, she’s got two kids of her own.
She’s wanted to do this for 12 years. had no qualms, obviously about working with the trans couple, which a lot of people so. she was truly the fairy godmother because when we had that conversation, we obviously you’re very nervous. You know, we kind of didn’t want to ask and she didn’t want to say, and so we, when she eventually said, are you going to ask me and I’m going well, where are you?
And she said, yes, I will. And we were like, Oh my God, it was the most amazing thing in the world. And then, you know, our whole journey has been nothing short of miraculous. Got pregnant the first time, which again, we know we are incredibly fortunate. I didn’t believe her. When she showed us the test on Skype, she had us on how to do a pregnancy test with the two red lines.
And I went, can you go and do it again? She was like, what? Now you’re going to go and do it again. So she went off. How do we came back three minutes later, it was confirmed. And luckily, you know, that the whole thing, other than obviously Corona hitting in the last month of it. Was fairly stumbled free. And then obviously we were thrown into a pandemic and things became a little dicier.
Lotte Jeffs: Hannah. I wanted to ask you about the, pregnancy and whether going through that with the surrogate, what your experience of that was like as a woman and how that changed your sense of yourself as a woman, or maybe your entrenchment in womanhood by experiencing that with her.
Jake & Hannah: it’s a very weird time, obviously. One of the things that made it more complicated is the fact that our surrogate was in Northern Ireland, So we did see her for, scans and kind of hospital visits where I’m, when we curved.
We switched her on the phone, but it was hard to form that kind of connection and that bond. Society tells you that women have and how important it is now, you’re gonna have to look at baby books or magazines or TV, and they’ll all tell you that that bonding between mother and child, whilst being pregnant is huge and it’s so important carries on.
And so, yeah, that really played on me. There’s definitely an element of feeling inadequate. Maybe even less of a woman, because that’s how, again, how society has loaded womanhood and how it’s so inextricably linked to the idea of giving birth. So I’ve definitely battled some demons through that process.
I tried to stay connected to the processes, could, and try to control the things I could. So I was like in charge of it. As me, and then getting all the visits, sorted, getting all the, you know, the, the pills and the tablets and I did a lot of that kind of stuff.
I can feel connected. there were definitely times where I felt quite sad and like, say inadequate, however, The moment, you know, she’s in your arms, you want a little baby and you realize just how dependent she is on you.
But that first night when Jake is asleep out of the room, it was just me and her. But it’s impossible to not feel like a mother, because there’s a, there’s a bond there. There’s a link there that completely outstrips any amount of bonding elsewhere. It’s just in that moment, she’s there. She needs you without you.
She, she, you know, she’s nothing. And so.
Lotte Jeffs: What I’ve really enjoyed about doing this podcast is that I’ve met so many other people that have experienced Parenthood as the. Other non biological parent. And it’s so nice to hear those stories. Cause I feel exactly the same way. I’m the non biological mother to my daughter, but I totally agree. As soon as you hold her she’s yours. And I think because we don’t have enough of these examples in society.
That actually, that’s why it’s so important to do this podcast and connect to the LGBT Q plus community because it is such a unique experience. And it’s just so nice for me to meet other people that have gone through it.
Stu Oakley: anybody else that’s listening, you’re not alone in those feelings. You know, whether it’s you yourself in your situation, Hannah, on that point of view, it’s, it’s, Lottie’s being the other mother is even myself as an adoptive parent.
the media and society just puts this huge pressure on. Maternal instincts being the one that has given birth to this child. And I think, you know, all of us in this are proof that that’s not what it’s, it’s about the love and the nurture and everything that you give to that child and everything that that child gives back to you as well.
Jake & Hannah: Absolutely. I just don’t want anyone else to ever think they’re an adequate because they can’t carry a child.
or they can’t be a mother just because they can’t carry a ball. Watch the, I think it’s a really bad kind of message. This Assad is putting out there. Could some good muscle again.
Stu Oakley: Just to jump back just a tiny sec. Did you ever consider going to the United States or looking abroad for, for surrogacy options?
Jake & Hannah: we were actually what we had a honeymoon incentive. Isn’t that a really nice guy who has just with his husband and goes through the U S roots. And he introduced us to a. An agency out there. Um, we had a Skype with this lady was very nice and, uh, you know, she, she it’s so great.
And then we said, so, you know, what would we expect to pay for this? And she said, well, you want to keep probably about $125,000. We looked at various other options. we were very lucky. We went to spoke surrogacy, UK, spoke to a couple of other agencies. And as Hannah said, you know, kind of got into the wild West of Arabia, Facebook where it all feels very unmoderated, quite worrying. You hear horror stories. I’m realized that that probably wasn’t the way to go. So, you know, we were very lucky that the national fertility society.
Came to us. But you know, as you say, it is still very strangely balanced in this country, because obviously you can’t advertise, you can’t pay. And when the child is born, it remains as millions. Now, now it remains within the sort of legal guardianship of the birth mother
has legal guardianship over many of this point. until six weeks, she’s not allowed to sign those rights over in case she changes her mind at any point. So obviously intended parents are terrified that that might happen. But on the other side, surrogates are incredibly scared that at some point during that six weeks, the parents want, so they don’t want the baby anymore.
there is a real. Pressure because what if they get lumped with the baby, they don’t want, so the whole thing whilst it’s great and it’s not become an industry as in the us and Canada and Ukraine, it’s still certainly needs reform.
Lotte Jeffs: the, the moment of birth and what that was like and whether you were in the room and how that felt.
Jake & Hannah: So in the run up to the birth, we’ve had lots of conversations with our surrogate and sort about, you know, we wants to be in the room up the head end. That was always a plan. And then moment, no, she was there. She was going to. Come to us do initial skin to skin. Yeah, we’d have it from the start. Not, we didn’t want us to record to hold it, but we want it to be first.
That was always our explanations offline and she agreed with it with all. Great. And then you hear this thing called Corona virus, but it completely blew up our world. Both in terms of traveling to get out there worried we weren’t going to be able to even physically make it to Northern Ireland because of the travel restrictions that were being imposed to worrying about getting infection.
so in the end we did get out there and we did remain infection free by doing very stringent kind of isolation. But we weren’t allowed in the hospital, at the, at the moment issue at four, which was a bit frustrating.
So we were. Oh, sorry. And she was born 14 hours later, um, by emergency C section. But in the end we were kind of, I knew she was going in for C-section. We were in our Airbnb, you know, a couple miles down the road waiting to find out. And then we just got a WhatsApp message from a birthing partner.
She’s here. She’s safe. Honestly, it was the most amazing feeling I felt so much relief that she was here and she was healthy and that everything was okay. I think it was the first time in months or years that I had actually felt, so we’re going to be okay. And then we’re going to call, we raced to the hospital and a three and a half hours later, they actually let her see her,
the way that the hospital saw it was that they couldn’t give our baby to us. because there aren’t the parents cause , our surrogate was the legal parent at that moment. And so it had to be our surrogate than a hundred her over specifically to us.
And then we have, they given us our own room. of wheel our surrogate in all the many. And then we had a, a very, very beautiful moment. She was about three or four hours old at this point. she held her up to Jake. Jake took her and we all kind of had this kind of embrace with many with our surrogate we, with each other, we all cried.
And it just, just this shared just like moments of. Joy and then followed by the next six hours in the hospital. They’re just blind, constant skin skin between Jake and her and me and her. And it was all just a, it was just this kind of relief and joy and happiness. It was in a really incredible feeling
Lotte Jeffs: And how long until you flew home with her.
Jake & Hannah: we got her back. Yeah, 10, 10 days old. And I have to say much as she slept through all her vaccinations on Wednesday and daddy woke up, which is fairly present.
She slept through her entire first flights at seven days old when she woke up at the end open and I, and then kind of closed in, went back to sleep. So she’s quite the champ our Millie.
Stu Oakley: She’s is she eight weeks now? how’s it been? how have those eight weeks been for you?
Jake & Hannah: They’ve been amazing. I feel like we got into our routine fairly quickly. She’s starting to sleep in her basket, without being attached to us, which is.
Such a relief because every other day, Jake and I had a meal together for the first time. It was like, it was like a revelation, but I, if it feels like we’re doing this forever, you know, we were kind of like wondering what is it going to be like to have a kid everything’s going to change? Everything does change, but that it feels just so normal at the same time.
Lotte Jeffs: so, let’s talk a bit more now about being parents and what you expected. You might be like as a parent and what you actually like and who does, what, what your kind of roles are and all that side of things.
Jake & Hannah: Well, as you say, Millie is completely bottle fed, which has allowed us to kind of split the kind of duties a little bit more than if one of us was breastfeeding. so we very long got into it, like a shift pattern where I would go to sleep at about seven o’clock and would sleep through until about midnight one o’clock.
And Jake would do that shift. And then I’ve worked in a department like one and one culture. It’s one of those very strict amount I to call it. and so I’ve always had the wee hours of the morning, and Jake the evening. But I suppose what, I didn’t really know what I was going to be. Like. I kind of, there are definitely moments.
I consider myself a fairly together and pragmatic person. Generally speaking. There are moments when. Have just not known what to do. She’s just crying. I can’t understand that or what she wants or what’s not right. And just wanting just to like, just. Oh, my God, I failed as a mother. I just don’t know what to do.
What’s wrong with her? She doesn’t love me. What am I doing wrong? I don’t think that, of course, it’s just, it’s just the way things are. And so there’s, those moments are going to be few and far between, but that’s it. What do you think? I mean, honestly, you know, Hannah always worried about not having that maternal instinct and that bond and knowing what to do.
And having seen her for the last five years with my niece and nephew, she, I had no doubts that that would all just be, I mean, she’s the most patient kind caring.
And you know, for me, this is something that I’ve dreamt. So since I was about 20 odd, so this to me, as I say every single day, I am so grateful and so happy.
So I think, you know, much as there are moments when, when we are both tired and when it’s a bit tough and you know, every time we cook a meal, she wakes up and screams.
Well, she does have a sixth sense about the moment. Like you just want to. Play or watch a film together. She’s sleeping. You want to put a film on and the moment it’s just like, you just move that she kind of opens her eyes. I don’t know how she knows it, but, um, yeah, I, I didn’t have any massive preconceptions of what would be like as a parent. I’m just happy that she’s happy.
Stu Oakley: one caring theme that I feel that has come up from speaking to the LGBT parents. And something that Lotte and I have felt ourselves as well. The pressure put on ourselves as, as, as queer parents. And, and for you too, as well, being such a high profile trans couple, do you feel an added pressure at all in your parenting because of that?
Jake & Hannah: Someone the other day, said, you know, have you considered raising your child non-binary? And obviously you can’t raise child on binary because you know, that’s an identity.
we do get a lot of people looking at us and saying, you know, why have you made a weapon again? And if we make, go with blue, then it’s why you making yourself wear blue or are you yeah, whatever we do, of course we’re being watched and that’s, you know, I think family and friends largely are great.
And we’ve had about 18 bags of clothes from, you know, nieces and nephews. And so she is, as you can see an address, then a lovely blue suit with trucks. So, you know, whenever we see mom, she doesn’t know, she looks like, or the boy, whatever. there will always be those, those people looking in, particularly if you’re in of some sort of profile and waiting to see what we’re going to do to our child and, you know, idiots saying, are you making your child trans?
So I’m sure gay parents are asked if they’re making the children gay. You know, then that sort of sense more than our rhetoric. Um, but largely, I mean, you know, we we’ve had a massive amount of support. It has been crazy. I mean, we did a, a little video back in Belfast where we kind of pretend that we didn’t have a baby.
And then the baby just popped into the video and people went nuts and it was just like so much love and support and people saying. you’ve given me hope and young trans girls messaging, Hunter, and saying, I never thought that I would see a woman like you. That like me, who has got a husband, who’s got a child and who’s happy.
And then we get, obviously their mothers, you know, messaging and saying, you have made me realize that my child can have everything that I never thought that they’d have. And you’ve given me and my husband hope that it could all be all right for my trans child. So the judgment, the negativity, the silliness.
Whatever, when we, when we received the amount of hope and positivity that we do, we are incredibly lucky. So I’ve got a squirming baby on my lap
Stu Oakley: waking. She’s staring.
Jake & Hannah: she certainly is. I mean, from my perspective, the only person we have a good piracy to everyone else can have their opinions and they can say, well, they’re not, as long as she’s happy, I’ll be happy.
Stu Oakley: That’s a great attitude to have. I found as a parent, my eyes opening up to the stereotypical kind of gender world that we live in.
And it’s not something I really ever. Thought about in depth until I had children. Was it, was it, was it ever, ever a discussion or was it just something that you never really, even
Jake & Hannah: so the chances are that Millie is a girl. and so that’s how we’re going to raise her, but we’re going to raise her as a girl who isn’t confined by female stereotypes. So if she wants to be very active and.
Play with trucks and do whatever else she can do that if she wants to run Ryan, for sure. Prime wearing bright thing. Yeah. Like armies does. She can, she can do that as well. And if someone down the line, she says the Megan’s is a different course. Be as supportive as possible. Honestly it doesn’t. I know that people will always kind of extend out because they think that trans people want to like, have a need or want to subvert gender in everything that we do.
But it’s not, it’s just a matter of who we are born as we are quite often very similar to everyone else in this life. And obviously, you know, having. Come through being trans, you know, I knew I was, I knew I was male from the age about two and a half. And it made my formative years incredibly difficult. My teens, my twenties, incredibly difficult.
And that is something that we would not want to put on a child because, you know, we want her to be as happy as possible. And obviously we will accept. So we’ve got a son who she loves, who she wants to be, how she wants to dress. You know, we will never put any kind of limitations on her. And we will elevate her as much as possible.
You know what I mean? If Hannah has some way, meaning we’ll play rugby for Wales. And, uh, if I, you know, I I’d love for her to just be creative and just be happy and that’s it. And whatever gender roles or anything else that is put on how we will do our very best to dispel those.
Lotte Jeffs: And what about your relationship with the label’s mother and father? How, how comfortable do you feel with those?
Jake & Hannah: logical kind of person, she’s got two parents A guy and one is a girl. And so one is for them, where’s the mother. That’s kind of a simplicity. You know, we have called ourselves mother or father and that’s how she’ll be.
And that’s where she’ll know. And what she knows and feels, I think is the most important thing.
Stu Oakley: Obviously trans women are at the top of the news agenda right now, too, to a certain author’s comments.
Jake & Hannah: are you, what are you talking about?
Stu Oakley: raising. It raises the subject of same sex spaces for trans women. And I just want to be, can you educate me on what the current status is? And if it actually does affect you
you will not be named, It raises the subject of same sex spaces for trans women. And I just want to be, can you educate me on what the current status is? And if it actually does affect you in a parent in any way I using changing facilities, et cetera.
Jake & Hannah: Legally the moment we are protected because under the equality act, a gender identity is a protected characteristic and therefore you can’t be scrimmaged against based on that.
So as a transgender woman, I am entitled to use women’s facilities, but has been the way since 2010, there’s never been an issue with it. However, there has been a surgeon. gender queer school views, which are predominantly, but not in time. The system that women who to campaign against people like me using them women’s spaces under some kind of perceived idea that, we are a threat, so legally we’re protected and we don’t have to worry about it.
However, I think the way society Marty is looking at it, the way I’m a noise is being made and the kind of. Deception spine society in general are changing for the worst, the moments. And obviously that can be an issue because I have a lower voice, so I can be acted as trans very easily. We’re also in the public eyes.
So people might even it’s possible. People would recognize me. And if I’m in a public space changing really or something, then people might decide that I’m somehow a threat. so it’s a real. Messy business at the moment. I think as trans people, there’s an LGBT community as a whole. I think we need to rise above the kind of Twitter base, like name calling and just real nasty ping pong of insults, and really get back to showing unity and support.
And whilst there are, yeah, there is a particular author who said some stuff, which I deem is very transphobic. there are also a whole plethora or. big names and voices. he was stepping up and saying, no, I don’t agree. I think that is why we should focus our energy on the fact that as a young generation, you are much more positive, then they decided on the generation.
So, um, No dispense. I have at least have some hope. I mean, it’s, it is crazy because one of the arguments that is brought up time, and again, is that the trans agenda is making young lesbians and gay men trans so that they will then become nice normal, straight people. And it’s this really weird mindset.
That’s. Anyone, firstly, you know, young people have to jump through hoops. Young trans people have to jump through endless hoops to get any access to hormones. So no one is pushing them through parents if they’re supportive as opposed to parents, but they’re certainly not rushing because they also know that being trans isn’t incorrect, it’d be hard lifestyle.
And, you know, having lived in the state as a lesbian for 15 years, I know that being trans is kind of an extra step. There’s an extra step of vitriol aimed at us because we are constantly dragged out in the media and constantly maligned and reviled and vilified and called predators and mentally ill.
And I didn’t experience that when I was living life as a lesbian, of course there is, you know, marginalization across the board, but it feels like there’s a very dangerous and very strange argument that this is. That this is an agenda to make queer kids, gay and lesbian kids straight by making them Franz.
And as we know, that’s not how it works because there are gay trans people and there are straight trans people and there are all sorts of people. And. You know, I lived as a lesbian for 15 years and I had a community and I was happy and I have, I felt like I belonged, but I knew that wasn’t who I was. And after 15 years of trying desperately to live that life, I had to face the fact that that wasn’t who I was.
the, you know, the, the trans female community is the most, most attractive, most vitrified of all the LGBT community. And as we know, transgender women of color in the U S have an average life expectancy of 35 years old, they are being murdered at such an alarming rate and much as. 50 years ago, people would look at lesbians and gay men and say they shouldn’t belong in public bathrooms because a lesbian has only tried to touch her molest.
The normal woman and a gay man is only trying to look at another man. As he uses a urinal, these crazy arguments that we know are sensible. People are completely based in myth, and unfortunately they are still being given a platform by. Newspapers publications. And by authors with 14 million followers on Twitter,
Stu Oakley: it’s so important for everybody to understand that. And for, you know, for the, for the LG and the B to, to support the T
Well that was our first some families newborn baby which was quite exciting.
I had a very well behaved baby as well. She was, she just slept soundly like an angel blesser.
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah. And they both looked remarkably, glowing,
Stu Oakley: It must be, it must be locked down newborn parenting. That’s giving them that I just. I know we said it a thousand times before, but speaking to people who have just been through so much and have been on such a journey to get their children, and you really felt for, you know, for them in the sense of the huge journey they’ve been on to try and find the right surrogate, et cetera, et cetera.
And then to have it the very last minute as well, coronavirus sneak in and take away a few of those moments that they’d been expecting to, to have had on that journey as well is quite, is quite something.
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah, I love speaking to them actually, and was again, completely blown away by just how, how much some people have to endure to become parents, I guess, to become It just was so beautiful what Hannah was saying about how she, you know, just wants her to be happy and it’s just what every parent wants. And again, it comes back to that universal unifying thing of like, yes, we’re all different.
We’re all queer. Queer means different things to different people. we will identify in different ways, but. We all feel the same love for our kids. And it’s the thing that unites us with, right-wing heterosexuals, um, people more like us, you know, and I think that’s quite a powerful, powerful thing.
Stu Oakley: I’m powerful listening again to how somebody, I was thinking how, when we spoke to mrs. Kasher Davis, a few episodes back that. She had the feelings that she was, she was never going to be able to have children, but that was years and years ago. And you know, for Hannah as a trans woman to only be experiencing those feelings a few years ago, I think just shows.
How, you know, how much further the trans community have to go to really gain, you know, the acceptance that we have as a, as a gay and as an, as a lesbian parent. And. And that was a really, uh, a poignant moment for me where she said that, because so sad, as you said to her, that people have to, they have to go through that and yeah, I have to go through those feelings really.
hopefully that’s something that will get less and less and the more visible that their story is, the more that other people will feel that they can do that. And they can become parents.
Lotte Jeffs: Well, I can’t believe that this has been our last episode of our first series of Some
Stu Oakley: I know, And
and we not together because we’re virtually recording. I mean, I was, I was quite tempted by the idea of getting a drinks and I want to find where that. Secret military bar that they mentioned is, cause that sounds
I actually think I know where it is, but it
Oh, well I think we need to make that a date for the diary for the future.
Don’t you? My dear Lotte.
Lotte Jeffs: Definitely. And thank you all so much for listening to us. If you have been joining us for each five different episodes, it’s been great hearing from you and hearing your feedback and advice and corrections, which has also been very useful. So thank you for listening.
Stu Oakley: I was speaking to someone the other day, he asked me what my end goal was.
My answer was that I feel that way achieved it in the sense of we’ve already put stories out there. They’ve already been listeners who have felt that they’ve got something from them on the show who felt that desktop and their lives and their parenting journeys has been reflected back on them or for people who are about to say, Start the journey.
They found some interesting information out that they didn’t know before, or just finding it useful. So I’ve, I’ve had an absolute, well on this series, Lottie, we’ve got some exciting plans for the series two, and I’m excited for that as well. And we want to hear from more people, there’s more stories out there.
There’s more different. Perspectives that we can look at and discuss, say 10 touch with us. We wanted to hear from you. Um, if you want to get in touch, our email is some families as story hunter.com, UK
Lotte Jeffs: Yeah, well, you can find us on Instagram or Twitter, @somefamiliespod
Stu Oakley: Lovely listener. Thank you so much.
Lotte Jeffs: And with that, I think it’s time to say, goodbye,
Stu Oakley: goodbye
Some families is produced by story Hunter.