We Can’t Leave it Up to the Lesbians

I was born on the 15th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. They happened 52 years ago today, on the 28th of June 1969, following the funeral of Judy Garland in New York City. The LGBTQIA community experienced a watershed movement towards activism.

We have had 52 years over which pride celebrations have been evolving into the rainbow festivals of colour that we know them as today. It is in this same time that feminist communities and activists have also been speaking out and taking a stand. Many of those feminists have also been gay and part of the LGBTQIA world to boot.

In writing about gender equality in parenting I generally refer to cis-gender, heterosexual parents. I write, mostly, about mums and dads. I am very much aware of all of the parents and families that this leaves out. But I do it on purpose.

Most families across the world include parents made up of one woman and one man. As the majority, it is us who are then responsible for setting the standards. As the majority, we can choose to continue doing things the way they have always been done, regardless of how absurd that may be. Or we can choose to call bullshit and to make things change.

Actually, being a member of the majority is a type of privilege. And I would say that it is the duty of those that count themselves a part of the majority, of those that are privileged, to speak out and challenge the status quo.

Nobody should have to explain their sexuality or their gender in the context of being a parent. When we carry forward the notions that women have to do mum things, and men have to do dad things, we are making things less inclusive.

The more we challenge things, the more we subvert the norms, the more we can normalise dads doing things that they may not have historically done. We can make dads be more present in the parenting scene. And by doing this, we are laying the ground for any parent, regardless of their sexuality or their gender to be as involved in parenting as they want, no explanation needed.

There’s another reason that I write about mums and dads. And that is this: when it comes to achieving this equality, we are talking about a delicate and a tender negotiation that has to happen between loved ones. These are discussions that need to happen between men and women in their homes. When it comes to getting over this part of the feminist struggle, we straight women can’t leave it up to the lesbians to fight for us anymore.

We have to #takeithome.