Amongst gay and lesbian families there is a huge amount of diversity.

Some lesbian couple have their children together, other families have come together after the break-up of an earlier relationship. Some lesbians are adoptive or foster parents. Some lesbians are single parents, or co-parent with someone who is not their partner.

Some gay families have their children via surrogacy, either from a known surrogate or from a commercial arrangement organised outside of Australia. Other families have more than two parents. In some parents, both mothers are biological parents, while in others only one mother is a biological parent.

Similarly, there are many diverse arrangements with donors. ‘Donor’ is the term commonly used to describe men who assisted with the conception of our children. In some families, the donors are anonymous. Or it may be that the donor is known as someone special in the child’s life.

In some families, the donor is known as a father, but not a parent. That is, he is the child’s biological father, but he does not have parenting responsibilities or rights.

It may be that the donor is both a father and has a day-to-day parenting role. Some children call their donor Dad, while others call him by his first name.

Some children of lesbian families call their parents Mummy or Mama, or some may call one Mum and the non-biological parent by name, or many permutations on this theme.

If you do not know the how a rainbow family was created, or what language they use to talk about their family, you can ask. We are all so wonderfully different!

Some of the information contained in this article is courtesy of We’re Here, a day care resource written by members of the lesbian parents playgroups in the City of Darebin in Victoria.
By NADINE SHARP, Rainbow Families.
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