What We Are Family means to me

No plans for parenthood yet, Laura considers why the magazine matters

I’m Laura and I am the Subscriptions and Distributions Manager at We Are Family. I thought I would write a little piece about what We Are Family means to me, as a young member of the LGBT community not looking to start a family but possibly-potentially-maybe-perhaps-vaguely thinking about the idea in the far FAR away future.

When I first started working here and flicking through the glossy pages of We Are Family, what struck me when looking at the magazine’s images was that I was seeing something I had barely seen before. Happy and functional LGBT families who have had their struggles, like all parents, but are generally just getting on with life. Having grown up in a very heteronormative environment, my exposure to this sort of imagery has been limited.

Of course, media representation of LGBT people has increased considerably, even in my modern family with permissionlifetime. But the extent and quality of representation is still lacking, (especially for those in the community who are not cisgender gay men). One result of this is that the LGBT characters that we see on our screens largely continue to play into stereotypes of promiscuity and sexual manipulation... they are rarely the settling down family types. Perhaps with the exception of Modern Family’s Cameron and Mitchell.

I had been told many times that having children really is a viable option for this generation of LGBT people but it’s very hard to believe when you don’t actually see it going on. Where are these people supposedly paving the way? I didn’t see them on my TV screen, in the cinema or in the news. It was easy to come to the conclusion that it’s all just naïve optimism: LGBT parenting isn’t really going on.

But it is going on, in force, all over the country and in growing numbers. And I have only really been able to realize the extent to which it is going on, in all its wondrous shapes and forms, through We Are Family magazine.

It is the diverse and down-to-earth voices and stories that we see in We Are Family that I love. From the gay couple, Andrew and Ian, fostering in their fifties to Jane and Sarah, a lesbian couple who, through induced lactation, both breastfed their daughter, to Thomas Beaty, an American trans man who gave birth to his three children.

It is this multitude of rainbow stories that are needed in order to stop the LGBT community being squished and squashed into the media’s stereotype boxes that we don’t frozen familyfit into. It’s about time that we start seeing more LGBT families in mainstream media. Not only in feature films and TV for adults but also in film and TV for kids. Disney made the revolutionary move of portraying a gay family in Frozen… for less than a second! We need something a little bolder than that. In order to put an end to the generational cycle of homophobia, kids who are LGBT or from LGBT families need ammo to shoot at their homophobic peers which says “look, my family is out there too!”. Hopefully, we will one day live in a world in which breastfeeding lesbian mums and trans men with wombs are portrayed in the mainstream media and it’s not even a big deal. Until that day, there’s We Are Family magazine.

Laura, We Are Family team

2 Responses

  1. <p>My wife and I and our two children were photographed for the Matalan modern families campaign, as far as I am aware it is the first time a store has used a two mum family. There is a distinct lack of books for children that feature same sex parents and our children do not see themselves in the literature available. There are kids books with same sex parents but not many. My wife has written a book for children that features two mothers and we hope to publish it this year. Our children need to see our families in the literature they read.</p>
    • admin
      Hi Helen, We agree with you. This is one of the reasons why our editor, Hannah, started We Are Family magazine. We have lots of subscribers who's kids love reading it because they get to see families like theirs. The Matalan campaign sounds great. IKEA also featured a lesbian couple with their kids in a web campaign not too long ago. The more companies who do this the better!

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