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Friday 21 July 2017

'How can someone say my family isn’t ideal? What does that even mean?' - Safia (15) writes open letter to her dads

Safia with Ray D'Arcy and dad Colm
Safia with Ray D'Arcy and dad Colm
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A child of a same-sex couple wrote them a heartfelt open letter, which she read out on national radio this afternoon.

15-year-old Safia read out the letter on today's Ray D'Arcy show on RTE Radio One, after seeing discussion surround same-sex relationships in the run up to May's equal marriage referendum.

She said:

"My name is Safia and I am fifteen years old. Marriage equality is a topic I feel very strongly about, as my parents are two gay men, so I really understand LGBT issues. But more importantly, I understand what it’s like to have two dads. One of the things that upsets me and makes me very angry is hearing people talk about how my family isn’t ‘ideal’. Hearing this does upset me as they don’t know a thing about my family.

"My dads are like any other good parents. They want me to be happy; they’re strict but only because they want the best for me. But most importantly, they really, really love me. So how can someone say that my family isn’t ideal? And what does that even mean?

"My parents are my parents, and I think my family is great as it happens. I have heard people saying that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt kids. Some people say that two women raising a child might be okay but not two men. This confuses me. What does it matter, if it’s a man and a women, two men or two women? As long as they love their kids, look after them and support them; as long as their kids are properly cared for, what’s the difference?

"Another thing I have heard people as is ‘how does a teenage girl talk about her period or bras to a man?’ Well why wouldn’t a dad be able to talk to his daughter about these kinds of things? For me, it’s just like one of my friends asking her mother. It does not make me feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. I talk to my Dads about this kind of stuff all the time. I think Dad’s should be able to do this…and I know mine have always been able to advise, help and support me. That’s just how it is for us.

"My parents cook, clean, do laundry, listen to me moan about school, help me with homework and encourage me throughout my exams, just like any other parent. So how are they not ‘ideal’? How is my family not ‘ideal’?

"People may also ask “if you were raised by two gay men, would you not be gay too?” But isn’t that a silly question? I mean after all, plenty of so called ‘normal’ families have gay children, just because I was raised by two gay men, doesn’t mean I would automatically be gay. As it happens, I’m not gay. But what would the problem be I was anyway?

"I get very, very angry when I hear people say things that mean they think there is something wrong with being gay. It’s not right. And some people seem to think that LGBT people have fewer rights than straight people. They are not allowed to adopt/foster without some sort of difficulty for example. They can’t get married. We live in the twenty first century and some people still don’t have equal rights!

"But here is a question I would like to ask everyone who is against marriage equality; how exactly would it affect you? How does letting gay people get married and be happy affect your life in any way? It has nothing to do with you AT ALL. You want people to be denied their right to marry the person they love, but how would their getting married affect you?

"A few years ago, I met an amazing woman called Kasha Nabagesera when she came to Ireland. A paper in Uganda had published her name on a list of people, it said should be killed, because they are gay. Uganda does not tolerate LGBT in any way at all. When I heard Kashsa’s story, it made me feel sick. I am thankful to see that this is not the case in Ireland but gay people are still not equal to straight people. LGBT people are human too and they deserve to be treated the same as you and I.

"My Dads flew to America to get married four years ago. They have been together for sixteen years and have only gotten married very recently. The very fact that my parents had to fly all the way to America to get married is wrong. The fact that they were not allowed to get married in their own home, with all their family and friends just upsets to me.

"My school friends often ask me what it’s like to have gay parents. Most of them are in awe of my dads and even if they have not formally met, they think that my parents are “the coolest people ever.” I have yet to meet a homophobic teenager or child. They all seem to accept LGBT people, it’s just adults who don’t. I have never had any kids say anything bad to me about my family. I never heard anyone at all say anything bad about my family until the debate on marriage equality started a few months ago.

"Having gay parents can also have huge advantages in a teenage girls life. But before I explain why, I want to make it clear that not all gay men may have great fashion sense, but my dads(thankfully) do!! My parents always help me with clothes and would never let me leave the house in a dreadful outfit. My parents are great! They happily listen to me talk about the guy I have a crush on and even offer me advice! We often like to have a giggle over Ryan Gosling and we often watch Rupaul’s Drag Race together, which we love.

"My parents have taught me so much. They have taught me how to cook, bake, clean and guess what, I even know how to work a washing machine and iron my own clothes! I know, shocking. My parents have raised me with manners and I have been raised knowing to speak my mind and be respectful to others. And I think that’s pretty ideal."

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