Author and journalist Lotte Jeffs and film publicist Stu Oakley on launching the UK’s first LGBTQ+ podcast…
Tell us about Some Families. How did it come about?
Stu: Some Families is the only UK podcast series for queer families. Whilst the day to day life of an LGBTQ+ parent is the same as any other parent, the journey to becoming a parent can be quite different. There are so many different parenting options that we wanted to create something that really lifted the lid and explored those journeys. The podcast is here to support and hopefully give reassurance and information to those that are thinking about, or already on, their parenting journey. For the wider audience it hopefully does its part to normalise and give interesting information to those that are curious about queer parenting. The feedback we have had has been incredible and many have expressed how refreshing it is to hear their own family represented, adding some diversity to the parenting podcast landscape.
Stu, you adopted your son and daughter. What was that like?
Stu: Much like anyone’s parenting journey it’s been an incredibly exciting and emotional roller-coaster. My daughter was 2 and ½ and my son was 7 months. They are biological siblings and we adopted them at the same time. It was a year to the day from when we had our first interview with our social worker to when they moved in. We learned a few months ago that another sibling had been born and we were asked if we would be interested in adopting him. We had always prepared ourselves for having another child should a sibling come along, but when we heard the news it was big bolt out the blue. For us there was no decision to be made as the moment we heard of his existence he was part of our family in our hearts. He came home just before Christmas. Our family grew when we were least expecting but I think that is what makes it so special and I love that our three children get to grow up together as a little gang.
And Lotte, tell us a little bit about your parenting journey to conceive your daughter?
Lotte: I’m the ‘other mother’ to a little girl who is coming up to two. My wife got pregnant via IUI and we chose an anonymous donor who our daughter can track down if she decides she wants to when she’s older. I so rarely think about the donor but have nothing but warm and thankful feelings towards him for his generosity in donating sperm so we could have the family I’ve always dreamed of – we’re such a tight little family I hope our daughter won’t ever feel the lack of a father in her life, she has two very different Mums raising her and that’s enough! We fill her life with diverse kinds of people and male role models, not least Stu and his husband. I’ve found Stu’s story of becoming a parent so heart-warming and inspirational. His kids are so lucky to have such a wonderful Dad and Daddy. Making this podcast has made me feel so supported and part of a community, it’s been incredible hearing other people’s stories and sharing our experiences. It’s about time LGBTQ+ parenting had a platform like this and I hope our straight allies find it interesting and enlightening too.
Who has been your favourite guest on the podcast so far and who should we listen out for?
Stu: One of the first people we interviewed was the comedian Jen Brister. She is a lesbian “other mother” to twin boys. I loved speaking to Jen as her journey to being a parent is so different to my own, yet the life we lead as queer parents is so similar and that is what brings us together. I’m so proud to be part of something that is bringing the LGBTQ+ community together.
What are some of the myths about queer parenting that you’re hoping to tackle and dismiss?
Stu: One thing Lotte and I are clear on is that we are not experts nor do we want to be perceived as ‘the voice’ of queer parents. We want to celebrate and learn about all these wonderful families and through that knock down some of these myths. There are lots of things about adoption that I feel people get wrong and misunderstand which could potentially put people off ever exploring. You will not be discriminated against as gay parent and as Niall explains in Episode 2 it can even work to your advantage as many heterosexual couples have to prove they have grieved and come to terms with the fact they will never have a biological child before they can adopt. We can literally ‘gayly’ skip this step.
And finally, do you have any advice for LGBTQ+ parents-to-be, who are thinking about starting a family?
Stu: Know that there is a huge community out there that will support you. That doesn’t include solely LGBTQ+ people. The world has changed and, whilst it is far from perfect, we have found such love from those around us in the community. I am so excited about our children being part of the next generation and the fact that from September children will learn about different types of families through the new relationship education policies. My kids will go to a school where the teachers may read a book about Two Dads or Two Mums, helping the step towards normalising different types of families which will, hopefully, end homophobia for good.
SOME FAMILIES is streaming now on Apple, Spotify and all good podcast providers.