My brother and I don’t have much in common, yet he is the only person in my family who has always supported me in being who I am. I was 16 and he was 10 years old when I came out to him. Rarely have I had such an unagitated outing. It was completely irrelevant to him whom I desire and how I desire, as long as I am happy, so was he. I don’t know how he would have interpreted this topic 6 or 9 years later, but I think it was easier back then, because he didn’t have any firm thoughts in his opinion on homosexuality. I do not believe that children of a certain age are basically less homophobic or less able to internalize heteronormativity, but they had relatively fewer years at their disposal so that these thoughts could be deeply anchored in their consciousness.

Almost ten years later I am planning with three other people, two of whom are my partners and the third person is my partner’s partner in having children, and I think back a lot on this outing. It gives me hope in an absurd way that every child is a new beginning and that the values and norms surrounding it are changeable. At the same time, I am aware that although we are familiar, safe and secure in our homes, the world out there is largely made up of heterosexual, monogamous mothers and fathers – how can we prevent our child from questioning his own family?

Probably not at all. That is why the possibilities offered by our constellation of four are all the more important. The child will be surrounded by four caregivers. This means four loving people, four times as much time and energy, four times more financial resources and four people who can support each other. However, it also means more need for negotiation and more potential for conflict and leads us directly to the challenge of defining parental roles and responsibilities. There are many obstacles and difficulties that already surround us. For example, it is difficult to agree on a sperm donor; it would probably be easier for two people. Besides, I’m already afraid of talking to my parents. How do I explain to them that I have no desire to be pregnant and have children with three other women? Worlds collide. We are also faced with the question of how important it is for each of us to have a legally recognised connection with the child. In Germany, only two people can be recognised as legal guardians at any one time; everything that goes beyond this must be regulated by powers of attorney. Absurd idea that I have to have a folder with powers in my pocket to go on holiday with my child.

Dealing with this leads me directly to the question of claims to ownership of people. Of course, it is important that responsibilities are regulated at the legal level, because if, for example, one of us dies, the child should not be left without a recognised guardian, or if he or she has to go to hospital, we should have all the right to a say and to visit. But what about all the other situations? How important is it to me that other people perceive me as a reference person or guardian? How do I define parental roles? After all, it’s the kid, not me. I want to take responsibility and I want to be an equal part in our constellation of four, but I don’t want to claim a human life for myself. And I certainly don’t want the kid to turn out the way I want it to.

People are unpredictable, things can come up to us that I never expected and situations can arise that I never expected. What we are doing now is to strengthen our trust – trust in others and trust in our project. It encourages me to read about other polyamorous parents because I see that it works, and why shouldn’t it work for us? For example, it gives me great pleasure to read the book “Gummiband-Familien – Rubberband Families” over and over again or follow the author Margaret Jacobsen on the Romper page, where she writes about themselves as a polyamorous mother. There they write at one point: “Their ‘normal’ isn’t the ‘normal’ most people experience, but they’re so deeply loved and cared for that they don’t think twice about it.”

It was always clear to my parents that I was their child and they supported me, but they always had a clear idea of how they wanted me to be. This made it difficult for them to support me in becoming the person I wanted to become and to strengthen my personal growth. This is precisely the pivotal point of a loving relationship. To love someone is to encourage a person to be as he is and to support him to become as they want to be – with all their wishes and needs. And that’s exactly what I want for our child.


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