I was mega ashamed of myself this morning.
The mancub was sitting next to me and playing with my wedding and engagement ring on my finger. It’s a common game where he tries to take them off and he tries to pull them off. I do a pretend massive tug and announce they are stuck and I can’t take them off.
“Mummy’s rings stay on all the time don’t they – they mean mummy loves daddy and daddy loves mummy very much”.
“Yes, mummy love daddy daddy love mummy rings” the mancub said.
“Yes baby that’s right – when a mummy loves a daddy and a daddy loves a mummy very much they get married and they wear a ring to show how much they love each other”.
And then I died a little bit inside. What an old-fashioned, narrow-minded statement I had made. What sort of person was I, what sort of parent, to make such a statement.
I know parents who are same-sex couples, married and unmarried. I always said I never cared if I got married, and when I did, yes it was a forever commitment but I think it would have been the same had we not got married – an extra piece of paper didn’t make our love any stronger than an unmarried couple. Our son was born out-of-wedlock and yes I love what marriage represents but it wasn’t do or die for me.
I love that same-sex marriage is recognised and legal now. You love who you love, you shouldn’t be discriminated against or not allowed to marry just because you are the same-sex.
I’m 32 and the world we live in now is so much different from it was when I was a child.
Every child had a mummy and a daddy. I had no knowledge or idea that two mummies might love each other and live together; or two daddies.
I’m not saying that my parents were wrong but I grew up in a small village and it was not diverse in any way, shape or form. I didn’t know any different. I had a huge shock when I went to secondary school and I came across different religions and cultures and girls who liked girls, and boys who liked boys.
Saying that, looking back, even at secondary school it was very biased towards heterosexual relationships and some of my friends and acquaintances did not come out until they had left school or until much later.
It was a cruel age. If someone made a fool out of themselves, we would say they were gay.
Gay, queer, lesbian – these words were thrown around constantly and used as derogatory terms. I’m disgusted to think that as a teenager that’s what we did. But we didn’t think anything of it – they were just words, and no different to calling someone a bellend or twat.
I guess its like how we use the word ‘bastard’ and forget that it is a derogatory term for a child born out-of-wedlock.
We had no idea of how much we may have hurt people. We were all the same, who we find attractive and fall in love with doesn’t define us, yet by being so narrow-minded we were making people feel abnormal. A friend confided much later that she wanted to be ‘normal’ and fancy boys. She felt like she was broken and like she didn’t fit in. She couldn’t confide in anyone because of what would be said and so she lived her teens in and out of heterosexual relationships and not being her true self.
It makes my heart hurt to know someone felt like that.
Every Wednesday we had PSE – Personal & Social Education. Each week our form tutor would spend an hour giving us life lessons. This included Sex Education, relationships, dealing with conflict, Smoking, Alcohol, all sorts of things.
We never once spoke about same-sex relationships. Never. If our teachers and parents never spoke of it being okay to love someone of the same-sex, what sort of message does that give to people who needed support?
I don’t want my child to grow up thinking its wrong to love someone of the same-sex. I don’t want him to think that certain religions are bad because a small percentage are responsible for terrorism and bad things.
I want him to grow up knowing that you can love whoever you want, regardless of gender, religion, culture or skin colour.
I want him to know that its wrong to be unkind to another people because they are gay, a different religion, or they have different colour skin.
Next time he asks I will answer differently for sure. I couldn’t care less who he loves.
As long as my child is happy and healthy, that is all that matters.