Questions not to ask the mixed-race daughter of two Jewish lesbians
Shoshana Devora is in her mid-twenties, and describes herself as the ‘mixed-race, Jewish, pansexual daughter of two lesbians and an Indian sperm donor.’ Her younger brother, Reuven, completes her immediate family.
Leah had Shoshana and Deborah had Reuven, and they share the same donor. She was born and raised in London, England.
Leah and Deborah have since split, and Deborah is now in a civil partnership with Anne, who is a stepmother to Shoshana and Reuven.
Shoshana began blogging about her experiences as the daughter of a same-sex couple to increase awareness about LGBTI families. Although believing it a good thing that LGBTI families are being covered more in the media these days, she finds that much of the coverage focuses on new families with young children.
‘The reason that worries me is that the debate is still too often framed in a subtly critical way: What will the consequences of this big experiment be? How will these children turn out? Will they be normal and happy?’
She started blogging to share her experiences of reaching adulthood as the child of a same-sex couple.
‘Gay parenting is not an experiment. There is no reason to imagine that LGBT+ people having children will necessarily raise them any differently than heterosexual parents. And if you want to know what the consequences are, then talk to the grown up kids.’
Below, she offers some advice.
Shoshana: The questions I don’t need to hear again…
I don’t have a problem with people asking me questions. If somebody is genuinely curious and interested, desirous to know more about alternative families, I welcome any dialogue. However, there’s a general principle that it’s sometimes best to think before you speak, and to work out how to word your question so as to get an open, honest conversation going.
Some questions can be offensive – thinly veiling prejudice and ignorance. Sometimes it’s clear that someone is expecting a certain answer, and they’re not happy when my response challenges their assumptions. Inspired by this, and other recent examples (see I, too, am Oxford), I’ve donned my very own whiteboard and put together my own list of some of the less welcome questions and comments I often encounter, alongside the response that goes through my head at the time.