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Tips for First-Time LGBTQ+ Parents

By Michele Tiley-Hill, CFO at Reed Exhibitions

I am fortunate that I have only ever had positive work experiences as an LGBTQ+ parent. I’ve been a parent for 15+ years, and I’m probably one of a relatively small number of people who have had the pleasure of being on both paternity and maternity leave. Thankfully, the terminology has been updated over time!

What’s impacted me most at RX is the openness and support of all my RX colleagues to potential new LGBTQ+ parents.  There is nothing accidental about being an LGBTQ+ parent and not all possible ways to become a parent are supported on the NHS. For most of us, it’s not an easy journey. So, I am always personally delighted to hear about new LGBTQ+ parents, but even more so when I see the same warmth shared by many.

Michele Tiley-Hill

Here are my top tips for first-time LGBTQ+ parents:

  • As the non-pregnant mum, the future dads were extremely welcoming of me at our antenatal classes.  I was invited to both the mums and the dads evening events.
  • Twins are double the cost and effort for double the reward and benefit.  It doesn’t get any easier until they are 2-3 years old!
  • Expect your friend’s kids to openly fact check with you, as an LGBTQ+ parent e.g., Sam has two mums?  Fact checking is all it is at an early age; toddlers are after reassurance they have understood the situation correctly.  Later they might ask how and why as they try to understand differences to their home life.
  • As parents we have always been as honest and open with our children about how they were conceived and what their rights are etc., obviously taking their level of understanding and interest into account.
  • No LGBTQ+ children are “accidents”.  One of my sons had this discussion with a friend at school – you’re an accident, his friend said (in jest).  Hardly, I was conceived in a petri dish, was my son’s response.  Apparently, the teacher and class erupted with laughter.
  • Unconscious bias can still exist in health care.  I remember being labelled as a “first time mum” on a hospital visit, even though I was already a mum of two.
  • The law has changed for the better but can remain discriminatory for some – I am not on my twins’ birth certificates as they were conceived before April 2009.  That’s as painful for me today as it was 15 years ago.  I had to apply for parental responsibility to have any legal rights at all.

Michele's family

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