opinion

'As a gay dad I don't want a 'normal' family - I want one that's unique and fabulous'

'Some Families' podcast host and Attitude's new parenting columnist Stu Oakley on remaining fabulous in fatherhood.

2020-05-06

I took my two-year-old to Drag Con, and he now goes to sleep each night telling me happily that he is going to dream of drag queens.

This is my new definition of Pride. I have a husband, three children, two dogs and live in a countryside town. You could almost say we live the 'normal' life.

I often hear a cry to 'normalise' LGBTQ+ parenting, but as my dear friend Lotte Jeffs, a lesbian mum and my co-host on Some Families, said to me recently, “no one thinks about being gay when you are changing nappies”.

Being a parent always feels normal, boring and quite often mundane, so why strive to be 'normal' when the groundwork has been laid for us to be fabulous, unique and queer parents?

I want my kids to grow up in a world that accepts them, their dads and their drag queen dreams. I want their friends to read books in school that reflect the world we all live in, I want them to see queer families reflected back at them in TV soaps, I want them to not be bullied for having two dads.

I want them to grow up without the pressure of sexuality, I want them to see their dads grow a family without conforming to gendered stereotypes, but I don’t want them to be 'normal'. I don’t want us to be 'normal'. Being normal is conforming to a standard. Stepping in line and being like everyone else.

Stu Oakley is co-host of 'Some Families', the UK's first LGBTQ parenting podcast series

We adopted our first two children two years ago and our third a few months ago. From the moment they stepped into our house they were part of our family and I couldn’t love them more. That was, until a few months later, when my daughter, then aged two and a half, correctly identified Madonna on the radio and my heart exploded, her diva training had commenced.

I am proud to confirm that aged four she can correctly identify not only the grand priestess of pop but also Lady Gaga, Kylie and even David Bowie. Does she even need to go to school? This weekend, whilst listening to a Pet Shop Boys documentary with her, I realised we were totally nailing home schooling.

It was summer, the blistering heatwave of 2018, when they first came home. Part of the adoption process involves self-isolation (before it was in vogue!) to allow your children to connect and attach emotionally to you.

It meant we missed out on taking them to Pride, which was a big thing for my husband and I, as we had met at Brighton Pride twelve years previously. I dressed them in some Pride t-shirts I often used as pyjamas and we had our own celebration at home.

Taking them to London Pride the following year was a parenting highlight for me. Then seeing my son wave a rainbow flag with my mum at Brighton Pride was an even greater moment - though I was mortified when he fell asleep during Grace Jones’ set.

I am loving learning and hearing about the wonderful, colourful and unique queer families through hosting Some Families, and I pleased to report that there is nothing remotely normal about any of them.

From drag queen dads to single lesbian mums to three parent families, they are all driving queer families forward to a happy, inclusive parenting world that I am proud to see my children adopted into.

The generations before us built a rich and diverse gay culture and I can’t wait to see my children and their children celebrate and wave flags at Pride… and be anything but normal.

Some Families is streaming now wherever you get your podcasts. Follow them on Twitter @somefamiliespod.