One Journey Leads to Another

Family Equality is thrilled to feature Freya Lyon and her two mums that helped her on her own sexuality journey for our Outspoken Generation series. 

I grew up with two mums in the 90’s, in London, England – my biological mum and my other mum, Nicky. After meeting in the late 80s they knew they wanted children, and my mum ended up going to a sperm bank as a ‘single parent’ with Nicky there as emotional support (I’m glad times, for many, have changed since then!).

Freya’s mums, Claire (left) and Nicky (right) in the early 90’s

After picking an anonymous donor using very cursory information — hair colour, eye colour, height (which turned out to be slightly embellished), and interests (‘sports’- not sure what I’m meant to do with that!), they conceived me, born in 1994, and then my sister, born in 1998. 

After living in London for several years they realised they wanted a more liberal upbringing for their family, and we moved to Brighton — known then as the gay capital of England — in 2001. This was a huge bonus for me, as suddenly we were attending Rainbow Family groups and attending Pride events and celebrations. Families like mine weren’t as unusual as they may have appeared in other towns. 

My mums were always open with me and my sister about how we came to be. While I have no memory of the specific conversation, it was always just known — just part of our family’s story. The pride I had for my family often inspired me to lead spontaneous seminars in the classrooms at lunch explaining how donor conception worked to a group of fascinated teens. 

Freya’s mums and little Freya in their London home (1996)

Sadly, my parents decided to part ways when I was eight, and whilst my non-biological mum (Nicky) went on to marry another woman a few years later, my biological mum took the heartbreak hard. She made it clear she then saw herself as heterosexual. And when I myself came out as gay at the age of 14, she told me it was a phase and I was choosing a difficult life for myself. It was rough to see her shut down a part of her so tightly, but I recognised it came from pain. 

Thankfully, I also had Nicky, who ironed my shirt before my first date with a girl and even paid for the date. Nicky wasn’t loud about who she was but she didn’t hide it either, which gave me hope for my own future. 

Looking back, my bio mum had reason to worry about me. Her father had disowned her when she was with Nicky, and, as a result, I only met him once when I was a newborn. My mums therefore opted to not be public as a couple, so the mum who birthed me presented to the world and her friends as a single mum. Years later, I found it so painful to read the new baby cards all addressed to my mum and not both of my mums – not to Nicky, knowing she had to hide in the spare room when people visited me as a baby. 

Having Nicky to turn to during my own sexuality journey was in many ways a lifesaver. Whilst living with my bio mum after I came out, I had to hide myself slightly, for fear of upsetting her but when I was with Nicky I could be proud of who I was. 

Freya and their donor (2023)
Freya and her wife with their girls in Brighton (2023)

Nicky has helped me on my own journey to become a parent using a sperm donor with my wife, and has been proud and supportive as I set out to find my donor and my half siblings. One of the weirdest and loveliest sights was watching her sit in the same room as my donor after I found him in 2020. I watched in wonder as her eyes moved between him and me in total amazement.

Having two mums was always just a part of who I was. It gave me the strength to go on my own parenting journey, and the strength to teach my children about the diverse ways families are created. My parents were brave and strong in a world that didn’t cater to them at all. I have so much respect for the choices they made, and for the journey that led them to making me. 

Freya Lyon

Probation service worker, author, wife, and mum living in England

Freya lives in the north of England with her wife and two daughters, and their rather large collection of cats. She drinks too much tea and works for the probation service, and is writing a book about donor conception in her ‘spare’ time (which is nonexistent nowadays!)

Outspoken Generation

People with LGBTQ parents have been outspoken advocates for themselves, their families, and social justice for decades. Today, people with LGBTQ parents are telling their own truths and changing the national dialogue about the joys and challenges of our families. More than ever, the intersectional voices of people with LGBTQ parents are needed to combat discrimination against families and isolation in our communities.

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