My best friend of 15 years who is the daughter of a lesbian couple. She is 20 years old and was born by artificial insemination. She lies to people and says that her father left her mother when she was young and that her mother’s “friend” moved in to help out with raising her.
Her parents have been together for almost 20 years, they are the kindest people I know. But when it comes to “Sarah” understanding and accepting their sexuality, I don’t think they have ever really talked to her about it. Can you suggest anything that I can do to help her out?
Children of LGBT parents need to know that they are not the only ones, and they need help to find the words to talk about their families. It’s possible that Sarah’s mothers assume it’s not necessary to talk about her family. This is a point of view I’ve heard from many same-sex couples who are raising children, because they think it would be redundant to point out what seems so obvious to them.
Sarah knows she has two moms. So in that respect, they don’t have to talk to her about it. What they do need to talk about however, is how “out” they are as a family. Has she heard her parents refer to themselves as “lesbian” or “gay” or “same-gender loving?” If Sarah’s parents are not very out in their community, she might be taking a cue that she should not be “out” about them either. What might seem to you as Sarah’s discomfort with her parents’ sexuality could actually be behavior that she believes her parents prefer in order to maintain their privacy.
Sarah and her parents need to talk. They need to agree on when to come out and to whom, and what words they are going to use to describe their family when other people ask.
As a friend, getting a family to open up is not something you can control. What you can do for your friend is let her know that you are there to listen whenever she want to talk. She could also benefit from learning about other people from similar families, which she could explore through face-to-face gatherings, on-line resources and books.