What Kids Have to Say
October 29, 2010
Amie Klempnauer Miller is the author of She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood. She is a frequent speaker about gay and lesbian families, and her writing has appeared on Salon, in Brain, Child and Greater Good magazines, and elsewhere. Miller works as a development consultant to the public media industry and lives with her partner and daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This post originally appeared on Goodkin.
The kids of gay and lesbian parents are, apparently, all right, according to some thirty years of research and one mainstream movie. As the parent of one of these kids, I’m glad to hear it, of course. But what I’m most interested in is what it’s like for Hannah—my daughter—to be seven years old and have two moms. So I asked her.
I started by asking Hannah if she knows other kids with two moms or two dads. I know she does, but I wanted to see what she’d say. Does she perceive herself as part of a larger group? (There are approximately seven kids at her school with same-sex parents.)
How many kids go to your school who have two moms or two dads?
I think about 100 or 200. Like “Zoe”, every time I see her in the hall, she’s really nice. It’s fun to have kids that are like me around.
How big is your school?
There’s about 800 kids that go there. It’s an elementary, a middle school and a high school. Sometimes I wish they had a college so I could go to college there.
Do other people ever ask you questions about having two moms?
Oh yes. Actually, if someone comes up to me, I kind of know they’re going to ask. I say, ‘OK, let me tell you the story.’ One time in kindergarten, there was one girl and she just had no idea. I had to draw her a picture. She just didn’t understand it and I had to tell her, ‘I just have two moms because I have two moms.’
Do grownups ever ask about it?
It’s very rare.
What kinds of things do kids ask you?
They ask, ‘Why do you have two moms?’ Because it’s different and they want to have it explained to them. It’s kind of annoying because they come up to me a lot. They usually came up to me in kindergarten. Most kids now know that I have two moms. They ask mostly about how did I get two moms. Some ask how I was born if I didn’t have a dad.
How do you respond?
I just say my family has a donor. I have a donor. I say I have siblings because they both have two moms and they used the same donor. We’re related because they have some of the same genes as me. And that’s not like the jeans you wear, but the genes that are inside of you.
What’s a good part about having two moms?
You’re different. Plus, you get to do more stuff than people with a mom and a dad. Like, you get to go to all these special events. I like going to [Gay] Pride because I get to go up and dance with the Drama Kings and Queens. [Note: She means “drag” kings and queens, but I was fond of the slip.] It’s basically my job. I go almost every year and I dance with them every year and it’s just really fun.
What’s a not-so-good part about having two moms?
Sometimes people yell at you. One time I got bullied just because I have two moms and that’s one of the things I don’t like about it.
What advice would you give to another kid with two moms?
I would say, be proud because you’re different. Being different is cool. It’s cooler than having a mom and a dad.
What do you like best about being different?
I can be independent from other people. I like being independent. I like doing things by myself and figuring it out on my own.
Do you feel like your teachers are supportive of you and your family?
Yes, very. Especially my second grade teacher. She’s a new teacher. She has a little boy and she’s just a very good teacher. She’s supportive because she helps me learn and she treats me like all the other kids. And I’m special in other ways because I’m the only left-handed person in my whole class.
What do you think about two men or two women getting married?
I think it’s fine. I’m actually kind of mad because some people think two men or two women shouldn’t get married because it’s not appropriate. But I don’t agree. I think it’s good. I’m rooting for the judge to say yes [to allow] two men or two women to get married.
Would you like your moms to get married?
Yes. They already had a wedding, but since they were two women, the government didn’t give them their little slip of paper and say they’re married. So someone could come up and propose to my mom and she could say yes, but I don’t think that will ever happen.