Why be happy when you can be normal
I received an email from a customer today. She read about our book, Mummy & Mumma Get Married, in an article on Mamamia and wanted to buy a copy for her daughter. Her daughter has a mum and a dad, but she was conceived thanks to a donor egg, and her mum wants to be able to show her that there are all kinds of families out there. Our book, she felt, would help present her daughter with a view of the world that is not ‘heteronormative’.
That word. It keeps popping up. We use it in jest in our family, for various reasons, some of them personal, but mostly because the idea of being heteronormative is actually hilarious. The stereotypes around being a normal working Dad and a normal mummy mum living in suburbia are so much worse than the stereotypes around being a fun-loving, party-happy gay living in the the metrosexual capital city. Don’t you think?
I’ve always felt that my sexuality freed me from that life, and I’ve been grateful for it. I know it’s not that simple for everyone and that I’ve been lucky. Sometimes, I’ve wondered then why the need to get married, to mimic a heteronormative convention. For a long time, I held that view. A kind of elitist, ‘we’re better than that’ perspective! Then one day it dawned on me that it’s not about marriage, it’s about equality. And now that we have a child, it’s also about making life easier for her.
She’s never going to come from a heteronormative family (shudder) because she’s got two mums, and we celebrate that, but she does come from a stable, loving family environment.
When lesbian novelist, Jeanette Winterson came out, her mother asked ‘Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?’, inadvertently supplying the perfect title to Winterson’s brilliant memoir (recommended read, if you haven’t already).
We hope our daughter will be happy. We don’t much care about normal. In fact, we wonder if by the time she grows up, diversity in families will be so entrenched that there’ll be a new term to describe those traditional normal families – heteroabnormative anyone?