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A Simple Act of Recognition

Recently, my wife, our daughter, and I went on a fun family day out... ice-skating outside in the rain! We didn't let the weather dampen our spirits and had a gorgeous evening together... made all the better by a small interaction we had with a stranger. Little did we know that a seemingly ordinary interaction would leave a mark on our hearts, challenging the micro-aggressions and societal 'othering' we've encountered for the past five and a half years since becoming parents.



As we were waiting to to get on Santa's sleigh (driven by a jolly elf haha), a stranger approached us and offered to capture a photo of our family. Of course, we said yes as I am usually the one behind the camera. We posed for the photo, when unexpectedly, the stranger turned to our daughter, her eyes warm, and said, "Are you getting on the train with your mummies? Make sure you get to the front!"


In that simple sentence, that stranger unknowingly shattered the daily assumptions and questions that often surround our same-sex family. It was the first time someone had ever publicly acknowledged us as two parents, with no hesitation or prejudice. The impact of those words was incredible, it gave us a real sense of validation and visibility.


Reflecting on this interaction, I thought about how hetero families might take these comments for granted. It was a reminder of the daily microaggressions we've faced since the early days of our journey – from assumptions during pregnancy about us being friends to being questioned about the whereabouts of our daughter's dad.


Even during the mundane days of parenthood, the challenges persist. Being out and about, only one of us is often referred to as our daughter's parent. The discomfort and awkwardness can be intense, especially when in public spaces, our daughter is shouting for her "mummy" as I (her other mummy) drag her out of soft play!


Engaging in conversations with friends, it becomes apparent that the hesitation to acknowledge diverse family structures often comes from a fear of saying the wrong thing. People worry that assuming someone is in a same-sex family could be offensive, while others simply forget that it's 2024, and diverse family units are the norm!


It raises the question: What is the worst that can happen when assumptions are made? In reality, these mistakes can lead to simple corrections, but more importantly, these small acts of recognition have the power to make someone feel seen, validated, and truly appreciated.


Our encounter with the stranger serves as a testament to the impact that a moment of inclusivity can have. It reminded me that embracing diversity is not only essential but also a huge source of joy. Let this be your reminder to be more like that stranger, warm and kind to others, open-hearted and recognising that every family, regardless of how they are made up, deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.


 

 

Follow Caprice and her family on their adventures, via Instagram here.

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