Black Lesbians Raising Children
A Tribute To The Lesbian Step Moms
When you're a mommy no more,
it can be a lonely time.

By Ta'Shia Asanti

This is about the "temporary" parents: the Lesbian step moms. I never really understood how they felt until my daughter moved out of state to attend college. It was a bitter-sweet departure. Our eighteen-year relationship was one of the longest I've had in my life. Before she graduated, I'd tell my friends and family how I couldn't wait until she moved out on her own. How I ate those words! I cried like a baby when I realized, in three days, my baby girl would be living on her own. And in another state mind you!

After a week or so not believing she was actually gone, I picked up my life and realized it was now my turn. But, as I grieved, I thought about the Lesbians who are step moms. I thought about how they must feel when a relationship breaks up and children they've played a major role in raising, are suddenly not in their lives anymore. They fed them, bought them clothes, took care of them when they were sick, took them to school and loved them. Then, the relationship between the adults doesn't work out and one partner, who spent a portion of their lives raising the children, is no longer included in, or informed about, the child's life. This month's column is a salute to those moms. The ones who have no legal rights but have given their time, their money and their love to help raise our kids.

Many such Lesbians are not acknowledged by our children's fathers or our biological family members, but, in many cases, have given much more to our children than either of them. There were many such women who helped me raise my daughter through the years. Some were there in a big way throughout her entire childhood. Some were there once or twice at times that really counted. But thanks to all of them, my daughter is a winner, a warrior woman who has high esteem and focus in life. She honors her body, has a good head on her shoulders, is a feminist and a conscious young Black woman with a promising future. She is studying Biology! She definitely didn't get that part of her brain from me. But I will take a little credit for the creative writing award she earned upon graduation from high school.

As Lesbians, particularly Black Lesbians, we must remember the Lesbian sisters who trudge the path of motherhood by our side. Often, in our community, homophobia pushes them further into the darkness. Whether they are our lovers, friends, our local Gay and Lesbian church, or our twelve step group, it really does take a village to raise a child. I couldn't have survived being a Lesbian mom without the positive role models that supported my daughter and I. Linda "Queen" Hollins, who rescued my daughter all those weekends when I was ready to send her on a permanent vacation. Queen organized a Lesbian Mothers of Color group for Harmony Matters Collective where sistahs could not only talking about being a mom but could also talk about what it was like being a "Black" Lesbian mom.

I mean, where can you go and talk about some kid telling your kid she has "nappy hair?" Another sistah, Carrie Broadus, was the Dyke who was on my daughter's emergency card. She was the "Lesbian" who picked my daughter up when I couldn't get off work and took her home, fed her, kept her warm and safe until I arrived. There were many other Lesbian sistahs and Gay brothahs, without whom I could've never made it those eighteen years.

I had sistahs who cooked down-home, Lesbian Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners. Those gatherings made life as a Dyke feel normal and complete for my child and I. And the sistah who helped me through those last eleven months of active parenting, my partner, Pepper. My daughter would've never made it into college if it wasn't for her riding our butt about those financial aid deadlines. It is time we give credit to the Black Gay and Lesbian community for the hundreds and thousands of healthy Black children they are producing. We are the parents of our country's children and we must step out of the dark!

This is a salute to the "moms," the ones who have no legal rights but have given their time, and their love, to help raise our kids. They fed them, bought them clothes, took care of them when they were sick, Then, the relationship between the adults sours and one partner, is no longer included in, or informed about, the child's life.