I HAVE TWO MUMS
Brenna, 15: “My mum, Vicky, had me when she was 30, via self-insemination of sperm donated by a friend of hers. She met Jackie when I was about five years old, and they just had their 10-year anniversary. When people ask me what it’s like to have two mums, I think, well, what’s it like to have a mum and a dad? It’s normal for me to have two mums. I call my birth mother ‘Mum’ and Jackie is ‘Jac’. They parent me, annoy me, support me, feed me, clothe me, and occasionally yell at me.
Having lesbian parents has made for a few out-of-the-ordinary experiences. For example, I’ve been involved with the gay community since I was a little girl. I have walked in the Mardi Gras Parade at least 10 out of my 15 years, and I’ve also written some learning materials with Mum for my class, so that my family is represented in my school environment.
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My family and community have made me a much more accepting person, because I have heard stories of the discrimination they’ve faced. The people who’ve had issues with my parents were those who either didn’t have anyone homosexual in their lives, or had homophobia pushed on to them by their parents or friends, but they’ve all swallowed their words quickly when my friends have supported and defended me.
If my parents create any sort of attention for me, it’s generally positive. Many people ask if they can come to the Mardi Gras with me. I think younger Australians are much more accepting of different sexualities because we live in such a diverse society. My hopes are that the efforts of young people will be strong enough to overthrow the discrimination of some of the older generations, so we can overcome things like marriage discrimination.”
WE'RE A FOSTER FAMILY
Jacki, 19: “I was six when my sister, Monique, and I moved in with our foster parents, Donna and Wayne. I was really young, so I can’t remember why or what happened. There were four of us growing up together – three girls, and then one boy came a year later. We’ve had more kids come in the last few years, and now there are eight of us in the one house. We’ve also had quite a few babies come in over the years.
Because we’ve been together since we were so young, our family is a normal thing for us. We still get in trouble if we do something wrong, and we still have as much love as other families. Many people think you’re going to turn ‘bad’ if you live in foster care, but I haven’t – none of us have. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you don’t have a parent’, but that’s not true. We did know our birth parents (who are both deceased), but we never knew them as much as we know our foster parents. It’s sad, but it’s not as heartbreaking as people might think.”
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Monique, 20: “I was seven when Jacki and I came to live with our foster parents. My older sister had called DoCS and asked them to take us because there was a problem in the home. I see her and my other older sibling four times a year. I don’t really miss them; I have foster siblings, which is really good. We can talk to them and have fun with them – they’re our family. We call it a normal family because that’s what it is to us. I call Donna ‘Mum’ and we do everything a family usually does; we’re a normal family.”
L-R: Nick, Grandma, Danielle, Grandpa, Mum
MY MUM & GRANDPARENTS ARE RAISING US
Danielle, 14: “My mum is a single parent, but my grandparents come over every day to help out with me and my little brother, Nick. I’m really close to my grandpa – I call him ‘Dad’ – and my grandma is like a big sister; we talk about boys and giggle together a lot.
My dad left us when I was nine and Nick was five. We see him every second weekend, but we’re trying to decrease that time. My family is really my mum, brother and grandparents. Being that little bit different makes my life so bright and exciting; it feels awesome to know that everyone is there for each other. Nobody feels ashamed to ask about anything – especially my grandpa when he gives advice! He lives and breathes wisdom and positivity. He treats us like his own and we love him for that. He takes us to and from school and he’s a huuuge softie! So is Grandma! She stands up for Nick and me if we get in trouble!
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My mum does everything and anything for us. She tries her hardest and we all absolutely adore her. She’s an angel. Dinnertime in our house is never quiet. We all talk and share stories about our day and make jokes. We love to laugh together; it’s such a warm feeling.
They say things happen for a reason, and this is so evident in our family. We’re proof that you don’t need to be an ‘ideal’ family to be happy. I adore my family and wouldn’t change anything.”
Words: Jenna Zampa | Art Direction: Stacey Crook | Photography: Anthony Adamson | Hair and Makeup: Melanie Burnicle @ Lizard Management