I’m a lesbian mother (no, really, stop me if you’ve heard this one before), but most of the time, I have more in common with other feminist mothers – trying to raise a boy and a girl in a world that thinks those two tiny facts are all they need to know about them, and hating that. Not all lesbian mothers are at all radical (why should we have to be?) and lots want to be just like the next two-parent two-vehicle two-gender-system-buying family.
So, yeah, radical mamas are my people, really. And most radical mamas, like most mamas, are in relationships with men, whether or not they identify as queer. And in most cases, our challenges are the same because we live in the same patriarchal shitheap of a world.
But sometimes, it’s not the same world. And I catch that when we’re talking about being a “good feminist”. Because apparently I’m a “good feminist” because I don’t live with a man, shag a man, wash up after a man. Or at least, that’s what I hear when they joke about the “bad feminist” status of being in a relationship with a man. “Ooh, the feminist orthodoxy will get me!”
Because you know who’ll get me? You know who the fear is of? You know why I don’t feel confident dressing my boy in “girl colours” like you do? Because I might look good to some imaginary feminist orthodoxy, but I sure as hell look bad to the people who actually have power. And they use it against people like me.
That’s my world. And, however feminist a space might be, it’s sometimes a world that shows up more in the myth than the practical acknowledgement. Other mothers make hard judgement calls, too. This isn’t the Oppression Olympics. But like everyone else, I have moments of realising that “my people” are not my people. They are the sons and daughters of life’s total denial of those who are slightly more different.