21 October 2016
Laura Simonsen hopes people could be inspired by her photo exhibition. Photo: HKEJ
Laura Simonsen hopes people could be inspired by her photo exhibition. Photo: HKEJ

What we can learn from this lesbian mother

Imagine her horror when she was told by her attending obstetrician that she should not have children because she would only cause trouble for them.

But Laura Simonsen was undeterred.

“My son would live in a happy family because he would be immersed in love. That’s what matters,” she replied.

Simonsen is a lesbian. She conceived after she received a friend’s sperm at an Australian fertility clinic.

The British woman found that not every doctor in the hospital was judgmental.

In fact, she found her obstetrician’s supervisor open-minded and supportive.

Simonsen is now a mother of two.

Her elder son, who was born in Sydney, bears Simonsen’s name and that of her partner. Her younger son carriers Simonsen’s family name.

Simonsen has begun counseling her sons, telling them it’s okay that they don’t have a father because they have two loving mothers.

Her sons call her “mummy” and her partner “mama”.

Initially, they did not celebrate Father’s Day, until one day her elder son’s kindergarten teacher convinced her to let him participate in a project to draw Father’s Day cards.

“Every now and then, we enjoy their artworks and wear the ties they draw for us,” she said.

Simonsen works as a part-time architectural draftsman. The job gives her more time to care for the children and allows her to indulge her passion for photography.

Her upcoming exhibition, titled Another Side Of Me, in Voxfire, Central, centers on her friend Simon, a drag performer whom she shot for six months.

At 6-foot-2 inches, Simon towers in high heels. Passers-by sometimes can’t figure out his gender.

“She does it because she likes it even if some of the night clubs don’t pay the performers. Drag queens need an audience,” Simonsen said.

“The message of my exhibition is that everyone should be themselves.”

Simonsen said Hong Kong attitudes toward people with a different sexual orientation have improved a lot since she first arrived in Hong Kong eight years ago.

She and her partner could only hold hands in public and not show affection, fearing people might find their behavior disturbing.

“People would stare at us. In Sydney, no one would bother to look at us.”

Simonsen said people nowadays are too obsessed with labels.

On top of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), there’s also QI (queer/questioning and intersex).

“I would rather tell others that I am in love with a woman than label myself as ‘gay’,” she said.

She said it’s not easy to get married in Hong Kong, so she and her partner are planning to go to Britain or to any of the 23 offices of the British consulate general. 

“The main problem is that each of us needs to obtain a work visa. But for heterosexual couples, only one has to have a work visa.”

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 23.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version中文版]

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Laura Simonsen’s latest photo exhibition showcases her drag queen friend. Photos: HKEJ

Laura Simonsen loves photography but doesn’t take photos of herself. This is one of a few photos of her taken in India. Photo: HKEJ

Laura Simonsen says Hong Kong is a richly visual city. Photo: HKEJ

Writer of the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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