“You are disgrace to the family!”
“It has been 25 years father! 25 years!”
“I don’t care. She is a slut. You are a slut too!”
I hear raised voices coming from my grandfather’s study room. My heart breaks again. This is the third time people in my family fighting because of my mother’s sexuality.
The study door is thrown open and my mom emerges, her eyes swollen and red.
“Mother…” I start.
“I can’t Sella. I can’t.” She cuts me short, tears threatening to fall from her eyes again. Rushing past me, she heads for our room and quietly closes the door behind her.
Shrugging noncommittally, I go into the kitchen to help my mother prepare supper for my family. She senses my distraught upon my arrival for in that moment, she takes me in her arms, rubs my back and allows me to sob into her arms.
Dinner today is awfully quiet. The tension looming over us is stifling. My grandfather avoids my mother’s gaze who in turn toys with her food, hardly touching a thing.
I am fed up with all this drama and without having a second thought, I stand up, clearing my throat to catch everyone’s attention.
My palms are sweaty and my armpits are damp but I refuse to give up. With a trembling voice, I begin,
“I have two mothers and that’s okay.”
Everyone’s attention is now on me. My grandfather keenly watches me while my mothers look at me with a mixture of fear and awe. Giving them a reassuring smile, I continue.
“Growing up, I never realised I had two mothers until I was around 10. On that day, I had found my mothers kissing in the kitchen and honestly, I was deep in shock. I guess they figured out that it was time for them to tell me the truth.”
A suppressed giggle comes from the young ones in the room but aunt Theresa immediately hushes them.
“Later on, they sat me down and explained to me in clear terms that they were lesbians and they were married.
I was confused about the whole thing at the beginning but that actually didn’t change a thing. My mothers loved me and just like any other kid who had a father and a mother, I never lacked anything in life. My parents made sure I knew I was loved and I felt wanted. They provided me with everything.
My mothers made me a disciplined, straight forward person who grew up to be a woman of great morals and integrity. They taught me everything a child needed to know at that particular time.”
My mother is now in tears.
“During my adolescent age, they gave me advice on anything they felt I needed to know from boys to sex to periods to casual flings. Everything!
I grew up like a normal child who had normal dreams like every other child my age and never at any point did my mothers force me to love a woman because of the common stereotypes that goes: ‘lesbians hate men.’ No!
My mothers were all I had at that time. They were all I needed and honestly, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the whole world. They answered my questions about my father’s whereabouts as truthfully as they could, explaining every single detail.
Look at me now. I am a twenty three year old mother of one who is a successful author of two bestsellers and I mean look at me, look at my parents, still together, happily married and still going strong. I am a living proof that one doesn’t need to grow up in a heterosexual family to make it in life. You don’t need a heterosexual relation for a family to be complete. Love makes a family and not the genders in your family.
My mothers are two women in love and they raised me just fine. They are the best example of a prefect family and I am forever thankful that they taught me how to respect everyone else’s identities and sexual orientation without bias.
Love. Love is what makes a family.”
I turn to directly address my grandpa.
“Grandfather, a family is made up of people you love each other and who wish to grow old together and my family, just like every other LGBTI family out there is relevant. You constantly call mama a whore and slut for marrying a woman but ask yourself, how come they managed to raise me so well?”
I finish my speech and sit down. My hands continue to tremble as I feel the tension dissipate. The adults are looking at me with so much awe while the younger ones keep on stealing glances at me, smiling sheepishly on getting caught.
“Love makes a family.” Grandfather’s voice breaks the silence, surprising everyone.
“Love makes a family.” He states again, tears in his eyes.
“Love makes a family.”
My mother breaks out into a loud sob as her partner gently comforts her.
With that simple statement, my grandfather has just accepted my mothers after 25 years of marriage.
I let out a sigh of relief. Up to now, I didn’t realise that I had been holding my breath.
This. This is a feat I had never at any point in life thought I would come to accomplish.
Nyar Afrika is a radical feminist. Human rights defender. Activist. Writer. QUEER NON CONFORMIST. BLACK GIRL MAGIC.
Elizabeth Watkin is based in Asheville, NC. She dabbles in writing, art-making, and local activism.