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tv   My Lesbian Mum  BBC News  August 6, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm BST

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hello. this is bbc news. the headlines: a review into the cost of energy is dismissed as "cold comfort" by consumer groups who say households are already paying too much. both the us and china have welcomed tougher sanctions against north korea in the wake of its recent ballistic missile testing. the american ambassador said it was "the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation". the coastguard suspends a major search operation for two men missing in the english channel. one man has died, and another was rescued when their boat sank off the coast of shoreham. the international athletics‘ governing body expresses disappointment after two—time drugs cheatjustin gatlin won the men's hundred metres at the world championships. lib dem leader, sir vince cable, criticises elderly brexit supporters for, in his words, "comprehensively shafting" young people in the uk. now on bbc news,
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what's it like when one of your parents comes out to you as gay? it happened tojillian stewart, her mum ended a relationship with her father before going on to become the first lesbian to marry a same sex partner in scotland. butjillian has never really explored how her experience contrasted with that of her brothers and sisters until now. all: five, four, three, two, one! cheering. this is the moment my mums made history, becoming the first lesbians to marry in scotland. but it wasn't plain sailing for them to get down the aisle. hi, my name'sjillian, and 20 years ago my mum came out as a lesbian. i was only four at the time, so it really wasn't such a great dealfor me, but i have learned from my parents that it might have been a bit more difficult for some of my siblings, so i'm going to go on a journey and speak to my brother and two of my elders sister to see what it was like for them.
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i would also like to find out what it is like nowadays, and if it is easier for parents to come out to their children. my family is very open, but there are some things we don't talk about it a lot. more mummies than an egyptian pyramid. i know some found it hard, but how hard? society had made me believe that that was such a bad thing. i will need to travel. palma, here we come! and see if our mums think we have changed anything. i remember my mum sat me and my brother down and she asked if i was embarrassed by her. people will say to us, "0h, it is so easy for gay couples now compared to what it used to be, you know. you are totally accepted." we're not! if, 20 years later, some parents still struggle with coming out to their children. i don't know any other gay couples that had a dad that has two kids from... a separate marriage. yeah. i feel bad if they were being bullied because of you, do you know what i mean? i think that's the hardest thing.
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that's the guilt. hello? hi. well, it isn't raining outside. this is my mum, susan. do you want a tea? or you could have my new drink, raw, organic, unfiltered cider vinegar. it's very good for you. absolutely not. no chance. and this is the house where our family grew up. my mum moved in here with gerrie 17 years ago. with gerrie came three big sisters for me. right, come on. time to go. see you later. bye! so here we have some pictures of me and my brother, jamie. my favourite one of us is the picture of us posing out here because my mum always tried to make us be all happy and smiley together. poorjamie. he was the only boy in the house apart from rupert
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the dog and max the cat. so i think we're going to start my journey off by speaking to him. i think it will be quite interesting to see what it is like from a male perspective in a house full of women. i think i was eight. and i remember... i remember gerrie coming over to the house quite a lot and elaine being there, playing football with her in the back garden and all of that, but not really knowing what it was. and then it was when my mum and dad split up, that's when it's sort of... 0h, 0k! this is what's happening. do you know what i mean? i feel like you always just found the funny side of things. aye, always. you have to make a joke of things. and not feel sad or angry. always got to look on the bright side of life, as they say, you know. like i remember... what was that card that you got mum? was it for her birthday or something? the baked bean one. she was a les—bean. terrible, terrible joke. fourteen—year—old me
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found it hilarious. twe nty—eight—year—old me, not so much. something i would tell all my friends about your yearbook is the quote. more mummies than an egyptian pyramid. yeah. see, it's just good to find a joke. there's no point in letting it get to you. i don't think i remember anybody staring at us when we went out. nah. i think wejust... were so oblivious to that kind of thing because it wasjust ourfamily. yeah, i wasjust there for the food. getting a free dinner. can't beat it. you're such a fat pie. but, no, i don't remember hearing any whispers or hearing any... like, tuts or anything like that. i think it was normal for us, so there was no looking around and wondering if anyone was watching. yeah, that was our normal. if we went out for dinner, let's go out for dinner. let's not care what anyone else thinks. and mum and gerriejust held hands and didn't care if people saw them, and that's the way it should be. i feel like there's not
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enough people doing that. what, holding hands? yeah. if you're expecting me to hold your hand right now, you have got another thing coming! but i know what you mean. i think i've started seeing more people who've come out or whatever holding hands and all that kind of stuff. being public. but back then it wasn't such a big thing. no. what would your response be to people who don't agree with the way we have been brought up? why take the time out to sort of chastise somebody else's upbringing? maybe have a look at theirs first. i know. why even bother? i mean, we wouldn't do that other people. no, definitely not. and we've been very lucky in the sense that nobody has ever questioned it. yeah. definitely. but it'sjust... it's weird. there should be more love in the world, not any more hate. definitely. peace, man!
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oh, my god. i thinkjamie found it easier because he had so many friends in school. he was confident enough to say in his first introduction, "i amjamie and my mum's a lesbian." there are four years between jamie and me. maybe being the youngest made it easier. elaine's a really cool sister to have. she's a singer and writes her own music. but being a few years older thanjamie, she might remember our two families coming together in more detail than we do. do you remember your mum coming out to you? she didn't. i was sitting in the living room and there was a card sitting on the couch from susan to my mum, saying how much she loved her, that kind of thing. and i was hysterical. because it was complete news to me. i can't even remember what exactly i was upset about and it turned out i was the last person to know as well. and all her friends were actually girlfriends.
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i just remember that day, finding out, i remember being in my school uniform, i remember sitting on the couch. how old were you? ten orii. i think with you it was probably a friend thing and she was too scared to tell you. i was so young then, i was just like, 0k. i think that's the difference. if you're tiny you can tell kids the things, and it's like, "yeah, well, so?" we don't understand what the differences. they love each other, that's all we need to know. it's interesting to hear how different it is for the different ages, though. that's just because society made me believe that that was such a bad thing, and that was kind of the last thing irememberabout it, about that discussion. elaine was a bit upset when she realised, because she was a little bit older and i think it wasjust... i think she felt as though i should have told her earlier, so you can't always get the timing right. you try your best.
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and i do regret that, that i hadn't told her sooner, more explicitly. but we're fine with that now, but it has taken time. it's about getting it... how do you judge the timing? how'd you know when the time is right for individual person? but elaine had more to deal with than just her mum saying she's a lesbian. one of her sisters came out when she was a teenager. mhari wasn't able to take part in this documentary. i thought i knew about my sister being a lesbian before i found out about my mum, and i was totally fine with that. for some reason, it was a bigger deal because it was my mum, and i don't know why. what was it like in school? awful. it was just constantly being reminded of it, just walking down the halls, and people shouting out, "oh, your sister's a bean!" that kind of thing, and i would just keep walking.
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and it was constant. and i don't think i told anyone about my mum and susan, apart from my close friends, because i got so much abuse about my sister, why would i? why would you even put yourself through that? i didn't talk to anybody about anything. i just couldn't talk to people, generally. you think that's why you were so shy? yeah, because ijust feel like i lost every bit of confidence. let's talk about something happy. i know, it's hard. it was really hard for you. yeah, i think everything changes when you leave school. you can find yourself. it starts getting better. i didn't realise how hard it was for you because we were just
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at different points in our life back then. it is probably quite good to show that that's how you actually felt and it's notjust all happy and... no, it wasn't all happy, but ijust wish i could talk about things that without crying, because then you can actually say them out loud. i cry at everything, so don't worry. you just can't get it out otherwise. elaine struggled a lot more than i did. and it's clear there's not one right way to tell your children. it must have been tough on our mums, though. all five of us were at different stages in our lives. we didn't sit them down as a group. no, definitely not. it is about each of them individually. and getting time with them and feeling the timing was right. for me, my fear was that the children would be bullied. my two tell me that they didn't face anything like that ever. they felt totally accepted and that our family was accepted for what it was. althouthillian recently told us that there were some remarks from schoolmates about having two
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mothers, so that was news to me. i think at the time she was probably protecting us to some extent, that we didn't know about that. people will say to us, "oh, it's so easy for gay couples now compared to what it used to be. you're totally accepted." that's not true. we're not. there are still a lot of parts of society across the world or countries or even in this country where if you belong to a particular religious group, whatever, whatever background that might be, i'm not pointing the finger at one or another, that might say that our relationship is wrong. i've had some horrendous stuff on social media. from strangers, though. from strangers, being called an abomination and things like that. you don't know me. you don't know us and our wonderful family, because every single one
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of those kids are wonderful and are a bonus. they are a gift to society and to the world, every single one of them. and one of them, my elder sister, anne, is running a successful business in majorca. palma, here we come! about to get a taxi to go and see anne, and i can't wait to see her. so excited. can you throw me the keys? this is so scary. catch them. thanks. so what do any sisters do when they have not seen each other in a while? pass me the wine. anne is gerrie‘s eldest. i never lived with her because she was at university when our mums moved in together, but it's so hot, so time for some drinking.
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i see through them that absolutely anything is possible. i think it would be different if people were horrible to me or if i was bullied because of it. because i was 17 or 18, i was at university. it was actually kind of cool to have lesbian parents. it was the whole time of friends and ross. yeah, carol and susan. i was like, "my new mum's called susan too!" i think my mum, as well, for having such young children, i think that would have been really hard for her. i think she was quite scared. you don't know what fears are in your head and what are legitimate fears. but they didn't know if you could legally lose your children or if someone complains and what would the school system say?
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my grandparents knew, but none of their friends knew, they were so worried about what their reaction would be. i remember my mum sat me my brother down and she asked if i was embarrassed by her. and we were both just like, "don't be so stupid. of course we're not embarrassed." i think maybe in another 20 years, it will be completely different. i think our mothers helped in pioneering the change that has happened. knowing that our parents have helped at least one person in this world come out is just a lovely thought. look at all the people they marry, all the younger women and all the gay guys that they marry. ijust think it's in anything, knowing you're not alone. massive respect for them, to have done what they did back then. yeah. because they really were the first. there was no one around them to support them. but then it is kind of the strength of their relationship in that they managed it together.
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they did it together. a lot of people wouldn't have been able to survive that, i don't think. no. so far, you know howjamie, anne and elaine dealt with our mums. but what about me? i lived with gerrie for three years before i realised what a lesbian was and that not everybody lived like us. i was sitting on the settee watching eastenders with jillian, and the woman who was playing the character of pat came on and i had never used the word lesbian withjillian ever. we were sitting on the sofa and you turned to me and said, "mummy, sure pat in eastenders is a lesbian just like gerrie?" and she was doing all this
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gesticulating behind my head and so i launched into a great deal of how important it is to have loving families like we had. both my mums officiate weddings. as humanists, they conduct non—religious ceremonies. sometimes they meet couples who face the same issues they did. speaking to my brother and sisters has been really eye—opening and insightful, understanding that it has been completely different for all of us. me being the youngest, i was obviously so oblivious to how everybody felt, and obviously some people dealt with it a lot harder than others, and i guess i was very lucky in the sense that i didn't struggle with it at all. gerrie, my stepmum, actually married a gay couple not that long ago who by the sounds of things are struggling an awful
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lot more than we were. so we're currently on our way now to go and visit them and have a chat with them and see what life is like for them. hello! hello, doggies! hi, nice to meet you. we're coordinated. the office for national statistics estimates there are 9,000 same—sex couples in the uk with children to look after, so tyler and india are not alone. at no point have we sat them down and said, "this is because daddy wants to be with a man and connor wants to be with daddy." india was quite young when we first met. she was maybe two or three, and so she is kind of... she doesn't remember
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anything different. tyler was a little older, but he is much the same. but it has always been that daddy will live with connor. we don't make a big thing out of it. we had a lot of questions from them, and we still do. every now and again, they come and usually at bedtime, i will get, "daddy, why do you kiss connor? because boys are not supposed to kiss. " we get those kind of comments every now and then, and, "daddy, why do you sleep in the same bed as connor?" so there have been some times where tyler will cry and he will ask why i don't love mummy any more and why i love connor now, and it's hard to try and... explain. a lot of times i come down the stairs and put a brave face on but i come down and...
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what do i say to that? and i say it in the best way that i possibly can, but... it's tough, it's really tough. it's hard work. what you think it will be like in high school for them? it is probably my biggest worry for the kids because i don't know any other gay couples that have a dad that has two kids from a separate marriage. i think it will be tricky. i think back to what it was like for me growing up in high school and even being gay and people picking up on that, it will probably be difficult because the worst thing would be if something was happening and we didn't know about it and you would feel kind of helpless and you would feel bad because they were being bullied because of you, do you know what i mean? i think that is the hardest thing, that is the guilt, i guess.
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if that did happen that you are kind of helpless and you feel that you are the cause of it as well. thank you. see you later. it sounds like they've had a really, really tough time, but i just think adam is so brave to have done what he has done and it sounds like their kids will come up absolutely fine. i know they were saying that they worry a bit about what their kids will be like in high school and growing up, but from what i saw, ijust know that they are going to have the best life and they will grow up so well. i suppose with adam and connor, just like my mums, parents, lesbian, gay, or straight, just want to do what's best for their children. so i feel like i have learned so much from every single member of my family, and not only myself, but all of my siblings and my parents, from looking at elaine, she has obviously struggled so much and she has come out so much better from this. she is such an incredibly strong person.
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my brother is just my brother. he's the most amazing person. he's just great. and my sister, anne, i feel like she has taken the amazing qualities of my mothers and created this worldwide business from it, and from my parents, well, theyjust taught me to be who i am and grow up and be the person that i am today and i think they have done a really good job. i just loved every single minute of this project. ifeel like it has been the most enlightening experience, joyful, emotional, laughter, all sorts of emotions, and it has just been incredible. elaine definitely has struggled through school. i think she is actually quite emotionally traumatised by what happened to her in school. i don't think that was necessarily about having two mums. she said that she never actually told anyone in school because of how they reacted to her sister. she was clearly very unhappy, a very unhappy time for her.
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obviously, i'm understanding more about it now. but where she is now, she's amazing. she's so beautiful and creative and our biggest fear was losing our children because we were lesbians. that still felt real, then. that felt very real. the general consensus from all of the children is that we're all very proud of you. you'll make me cry! you're going to make me cry. the hardest thing i ever did was to tell you that i wasn't going to be with your dad any more. us coming out and being together is not the way the book was written on life, but it's our truth, and as a parent, that was the only thing that we could do and give that to all of you, so even if that was hard at times, it was worth it. cheers to that.
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much of the country starting on a fine note for sunday, area of low pressure has promised to ruin that for many of us, particularly north—western areas, packed isobars, winds increasing, weatherfronts bringing outbreaks of rain, will not reach the southeast or east anglia, bobby not even until tomorrow, should stay largely dry, sunshine continues, this is rain bearing cloud, things continue to include through the afternoon, as we head
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into northern ireland. —— improve. by into northern ireland. —— improve. by the time we get into the first pa rt by the time we get into the first part of the evening, quite wet across scotland. —— probably not even until tomorrow. winds will feature as well, dry end to the date for northern ireland bar the odd shower. rain popping up across the north west, particularly cumbria and lancashire and northern and western parts, and wales, spots of rain getting into the south—west, bit of cloud pushing into the midlands, fine end to the day for east anglia and the southeast, temperatures reaching 22 celsius through the afternoon, slowly slipping away as we head into the evening. stays dry for the athletics, wind will remain like. overnight, wet across northern parts of england, across northern and western wales, northern areas for scotland, northern ireland, clear spells and showers, south—east corner stays dry, temperatures 14, 15 degrees, overnight low, around
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ten to 12 further north. unsettled for the upcoming week, starting with low pressure, with us on monday, weather front bringing further showers, central parts. to the north, a mixture of sunshine and showers, some of the showers will be fairly heavy across northern areas and also across the southeast of england too, more consistent rain into wales. for old trafford, largely dry through the afternoon, we should see some cricket, temperatures around 18 degrees, on into monday, the weather front will be through central areas bringing further outbreaks of rain, and then we look to the southeast, fixed area of low pressure, near continent, quite a lot of rain as we had through the afternoon, from tuesday into wednesday. looking unsettled, nothing hot or summary, into wednesday. looking unsettled, nothing hot orsummary, in into wednesday. looking unsettled, nothing hot or summary, in the forecast, looks like things may settle down later on in the week, with high—pressure beginning to build to settle things down. this is bbc news — the headlines at 3pm: a review into the cost of energy
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is dismissed as "cold comfort" by consumer groups, who say households are already paying too much. both the us and china have welcomed tougher sanctions against north korea in the wake of its recent ballistic ballistic missile testing. the coastguard suspends a major search operation for two men missing in the english channel. one man has died, and another rescued. what we can say for sure is that whatever happened happened extremely quickly, there was no distress call, nobody raised the alarm until the chap was found this. commentator: coleman still has the lead and justin gatlin wins it. the international athletics governing body expresses disappointment, after two—time drugs cheatjustin gatlin won 100 metres at the world championships.
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