Meet Australia’s Rainbow Families



Photographer and rainbow parent Mia McDonald was standing on the steps of the State Library of Victoria in November 2017 when the results of same-sex marriage plebiscite came in.

“I quickly realised that the vote was only 63 per cent,” she remembers. “That’s a really terrible result for people like us and our kids and our families.

“As a queer parent, you have to come out daily, weekly, all the time: to the school principal, to your kids best friend’s parents, to the Centrelink office. The labour of that storytelling is real.”

– Mia McDonald, queer parent

So, McDonald began photographing and speaking to other rainbow families along the east coast of Australia. The result is the book Once In A Lullaby. PRIMER is delighted to share some of the stories.

Gavin, Tim, Finn and Evan

Gavin: As I am sure is the same for others who have gone down the path of overseas gestational surrogacy, it took several years from that initial decision to become parents to the day it finally happened.

“I won’t lie, it was an extremely tough ride and it certainly tested our resolve, our patience, our desire to be parents, our finances, our relationship, and many other things too. However, as soon as that little bundle is placed in your arms, you immediately forget about all the difficulties you went through and are overcome with feelings of love, joy, and a little bit of panic too!”

– Gavin, rainbow parent

Catherine, Claire and Ettie

My pregnancy was confirmed the same week that Claire started hormone replacement therapy, together we embarked on a journey of transformation. Changing bodies, changing identities — explorations of gender, personhood and motherhood.

“For the first six months of Ettie’s life we looked, to the outside world, like a heterosexual couple. It was very isolating; I wish we didn’t go through so much alone. At the time, the same sex marriage plebiscite was happening, we had a new baby and we were dealing with so much that making other people understand or having to explain it felt like more than we could manage.”

– Catherine, rainbow parent

Luke, David, Kelly and Eden Aisla

Luke: David and I are partners. We co-parent Eden Aisla with our friend Kelly. Eden calls Kelly, Mama; Dave, Dadda and me, Daddy. We tried to access IVF treatment so we were ready to begin that process, but for us we were lucky when we tried home insemination.

“We plan to share Edie’s conception story openly with her.She knows that she has two dads and a mum, and that although her family may exist across two homes in the future, she will always have one family that loves her unconditionally.”

– Luke, rainbow parent

Meet The Women Making Thousands From Their Wardrobes



See more stories of rainbow families at PRIMER.


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