“We were told having a child in Russia was a huge mistake”
What's it like being a same-sex parent in Moscow right now? One lesbian mum shares her story...
My name is Lisa, I’m 32 years old, I live in Moscow, and I am a lesbian.
When I was 14, I had a crush on my classmate. It was my first lesbian experience. That girl abandoned me in quite a cruel way, so I spent another two years mourning the two weeks of happiness we had together. I went through all the phases of recognising myself as a gay teenager: negation, condemnation, anger, fear, and finally, desperate acceptance.
I met my wife when I was 27. Back then, I was completely tired of heartbreaking affairs and no longer believed in “happily after”. What was supposed to be a one-night stand turned out to be a family with one little boy and two cats.
At the very beginning of our love story, I said to my wife: “I love you, and I am happy with you, but I want to make it clear, I’m planning to have a child by my 30th. I can only hope that by that time you will still be with me because you want it too.” She said nothing that night, but asked me for a baby boy two nights later.
We spent the next three years having fun and travelling around the world. Then we had IVF in 2015.
When I was nine months pregnant, my wife’s friend asked us to do an interview with a women’s website, and we happily agreed. We talked about our parents, our fears, our plans, and goals. And to be honest, it was quite a surprise to see so many heterosexual people supporting us in the comments section. Even more precious to me personally was the fact that some people said we changed their negative clichés about lesbian couples.
And yet, we received some negative feedback from the lesbian and bi community. We were told that having a child in Russia was a huge mistake, and that my wife and I were being silly and irresponsible.
Well, I strongly believe that the easiest thing in the world is to just keep being afraid of homophobia, just keep doing nothing.
We’ve gone through the whole IVF process holding each other’s hand. She was next to me when our son was born. He calls her mom, he calls me mom too, and he is definitely the best thing that happened to both of us. We have never been threatened, faced violence or been offended in any way. Yes, not everyone knows about who we really are to each other, but look - I never cared if people think being gay is OK, so why should I care what they think about my family now?
Yes, we are a kind of illegal family. I have the status of a single parent. We would receive more benefits if we were in a registered, heterosexual marriage.
Some people think we haven’t had any serious problems yet because our son is only one year and eight months old. He can’t speak. He can’t draw his two moms. His classmates are not bullying him yet.
Well, I have no answer to this. Seeing my son's tears, caused by the simple fact he has two moms, is one of the most horrible things I can imagine. I guess, if this did happen, I’d tell him that the worst thing I could do would be to marry a guy I never loved and to raise my kids, faking my happiness. I would tell him about the Nazis and Anne Frank, about white society and Rosa Parks, about Zach Wahls and his two moms, and so many others, who refused to be afraid and live under pressure. I will show him rainbow crosswalks in different European cities. I will hold his hand tight. And one day, his two moms will have their marriage ceremony somewhere in Denmark.
You can follow Lisa on her Instagram page @lisa_rowie.
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