It was a dangerous time, but my lesbian parents paved the way
Jeers of “Lara the Lezzie” accompanied me as I walked down the hallway. A girl at school had outed my family to the entire class. It wasn’t easy being the daughter of lesbians in the 1980s. Many of my friends’ parents had married right out of high school and started families shortly thereafter. LGBT families were just starting to become visible and my family was one of the first. This was before the first child was conceived through in vitro fertilisation in Manchester in 1978. Back then, children of LGBT parents were mostly the result of heterosexual unions, or occasional liaisons between lesbians and gay men with the intent of procreation.
In my case, my father and mother divorced when I was still in nappies, for reasons that had nothing to do with my mother’s sexuality. She went back to college and became active in the feminist movement of the 1970s, and once she found her voice she couldn’t imagine going back to a subservient role with a husband. She calls herself a “political lesbian” because for her, dating women was as much about finding her own feminist strength as it was about anything else. When I was three, my mother fell in love with Pat, a woman who had known she was gay since she was 12, if not earlier. In terms of the “born gay” versus “become gay” argument, I have one parent in each camp.