In 2014, Jillian Stewart's mums made history when they were the first lesbian couple to be legally married in Scotland. But just because their marriage was made official three years ago, doesn't mean that these women hadn't already been living like a married couple.
Susan and Gerrie, Stewart's mums, have been together for 20 years, since Stewart was four. Both women had children from their previous marriages to men. Susan had Stewart and her older brother, Jamie, and Gerrie had three daughters of her own.
Since she was so young, Stewart had no trouble accepting that her mum was a lesbian and that they would be living with another woman and her children. But, she says in a new documentary from the BBC, she wanted to know what it was like for her older siblings and whether or not things have changed for gay parents who come out to their kids now.
In the short, 23-minute documentary, My Lesbian Mums, she set off to talk with her brother, her two older step-sisters, her mums, and Adam and Conor — a gay couple who were recently married and who had to come out to Adam's two children.
There are plenty of cute moments in the documentary, with Stewart and her brother — who was eight when their mum came out — remembering the birthday card he got for her one year. It was a baked bean card, because she was a les-bean (get it?). But there were some sad moments, too.
Not all of Stewart's siblings remember being totally happy about their mums coming out. Gerrie's daughter, Elaine, was 11 when she found out that her mum was gay and in a relationship with Susan. She says in the documentary that "society made me believe that that was such a bad thing."
Elaine tells Stewart that she had trouble in school over her sister's sexuality (she came out before her mother did) and therefore didn't tell people at school about her mum and Susan.
Unfortunately, that kind of problem hasn't been eliminated. Adam and Connor still worry about what their kids will go through at school. Although Adam's two kids, Tyler and India, have both seemed okay with their dad's sexuality and marriage to a man so far, they do sometimes ask questions like, "Daddy, why do you kiss Connor cause boys aren't supposed to kiss boys."
They worry for when their kids are in high school, and how helpless they'll both feel against their children's bullies. Stewart says in an article about the documentary that "to hear Adam and Conor still have these fears goes to show that society today hasn't really changed."
But, we'd argue that society has changed — just maybe not as much as Stewart was expecting. When her mums came out 20 years ago, a documentary like this wouldn't have existed. It wouldn't have been produced by a major national broadcasting company. And we wouldn't be writing about it. So, sure, we still have a lot of work to do to make sure that kids aren't bullied for having gay parents, or gay siblings, or being gay themselves. But things definitely have gotten better.
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