Celebrating Pride with Charl and Bianca Naransamy

Bianca and Charl are the most amazing couple I have ever met. While relevant topics are being had about inclusion and diversity, It is necessary to listen and learn about everyone and respect the life choices that we make. June is the month that celebrates Gay Pride.

Charl and Bianca have answered questions openly and are extremely approachable to engage and educate anyone who has further questions relating to their love story.

 At what age did you know that you were different to other girls?

Bianca : “I always knew, from a very young age. The best way I can describe remembering being different was playing “kissing catches” in nursery school, and trying to kiss and catch the girls. Fast forward a few years later, and I confessed to being lesbian at my first ever confessional (I grew up catholic) annnnd this particular evening and well confession, happened to fall on my 11th Birthday.

Charl : “Well I’ve personally always been different, I was never the feminine type. I always preferred jeans over a skirt, and a track pants over a dress.”

 How did you come out to your family/friends?

B: “I never exactly came out to my family.. I was dating my first girlfriend in high school and she was quite butch. She was at my house one afternoon and something she did (I can’t remember exactly what, but I think she slapped my bum) and my step mother saw. And something in the way she did it, obviously set off something and I won’t lie, I definitely tried to deny it. I was 16 at the time. Fast forward a few years and I “came out” again to my dad. We were in the car, I had just failed another driver’s license test, and driving home my dad was asking about a guy I was “seeing”. So I told my dad that I needed to tell him something.. I fumbled and moaned about how I’d practiced this particular conversation over and over again and yet now the words were failing me. My dad turned around and asked “what’s her name” .. I burst into tears. In that moment I tried to reassure my dad that this wasn’t a phase, and that I wasn’t rebelling (I was really difficult in High School) and that this wasn’t anything he had done wrong as a single parent. (My parents had divorced when I was quite young) and that simply put, I’m still “me”, the only difference is that I chose to love and be with a woman..” 

My first “coming out” was never well received. My mother said a lot of hurtful and hateful things, although she later came around after I tried to harm myself. Her words were that she’d rather love me for who I am, than lose me…

My friends – I basically just told them one morning at school, and one of my friends, who I actually still occasionally speak too, turned around and said “Awww Binxy! Did you only figure that out now?” And proceeded to tell me how they had always known and were waiting on me to come out! Lol

C: “Friends were quite easy, I pretty much just told them that I have a girlfriend, I was a “late bloomer” lesbian. And actually only started dating women once I started working. 

With family, funny story. I called my mum while I was at work and told her that I’m pregnant. She laughed and asked what her name was. And I did the exact same thing with my sister.

 Have you ever been a subject of homophobia. If yes, please elaborate.

B : “Quite a bit to be honest. Charl and I have always openly displayed that we’re in a relationship and for example we’d walk through the mall holding hands. Not only do people stare and seem disgusted, but there have been remarks too.” 

C : “Yes, but no one has ever been “brave” enough to confront me. I think more of the criticism comes from being lesbian and in an inter racial marriage. 

Have you dated guys before? What was that like for you?

B : “I dated many guys throughout my childhood. Growing up catholic, the teachings were always about a man and woman. So I was ashamed for a long time, because I believed being gay to be a sin. Dating guys was normal for me, like I felt like dating a guy would change who I was. It also meant that I experimented or did things because all my friends were doing it. My aunt actually came out as shocked and said she didn’t understand because for as long as she can remember I’ve always had boyfriends and been “boy crazy” But in the end, having boyfriends didn’t mean anything really. I felt ashamed and felt that being with a guy, something that was accepted by society, by church, by family may have been right for everyone else except me. But I dated guys anyway, and I never truly felt complete and that something was missing if that makes sense.” 

C : “Yes, throughout school amd college. It just never seemed to “fit”, it always felt like something was missing!” 

What was the worst and best part of discovering your sexuality?

B :”Having to figure it out really. Knowing you’re different, and being made to feel like it’s not something to be shared out in the open. A dirty secret. The best part, was finally  being able to reach a point of self love and acceptance. Once that happened, inner peace about everything regarding my sexuality just followed. And there’s honestly nothing better than just feeling at peace regardless of who the person is that you’re dating.” 

C: “Once I started dating women, it was like a penny dropped, it was my “Ahhhh thats what was missing” moment! 

The worst part was not knowing how people would react to this new found happiness! “

 Did you ever feel uncomfortable growing up when all your friends started talking about boys constantly?

B : “Not outwardly no, because I was that person who kept up this appearance of being “normal”, of being “hetero”. Clearly I didn’t do a  great job if all my friends knew anyway haha

C : “Not at all, up until today, many friends still value my “opinion” on men

 What’s your favourite thing about being in relationship with another woman? What is the most difficult part?

B: “Honesty, it’s the sensuality and simplicity of it. People talk about how woman understand each other. And I guess you could say that, but it’s not just that, there’s this nuturing and caring side that is always there. A thoughtfulness because we’re woman. And Charl is just forever thoughtful, always. Worst part, someone has to do the “guy” stuff hahaha

C : “My favorite part is the deep, emotional connection. It’s more than just what is on the surface. A woman takes her time to build a solid foundation, without expectation. For me, its being married to my favorite person in the world! The most difficult part, no one wants to kill the spiders!!! 

How did the two of you meet?

Charlene and I met in a really unsual and totally weird way… We have a mutual ex. Whom we dated at the exact SAME time. Yup, you read that correctly! Hahaha We met 12 years ago. We both have different versions of how that went down 😂

 How was your relationship received by friends, family and publicly?

Publically and from our friends, I think initially it was a shock because of us having dated the same person. So I think for alot of people, our relationship may not have been taken seriously. Most of all, I think our mutual ex thought us being together was out of spite and revenge. Family – I think they may have also been taken by surprise because we were so serious from the beginning. My mother in law is a pastor, and I think it definitely took some time for her to become accepting towards our relationship. She is such a woman of God and our relationship is so special. 

 Who proposed to you? We want details!

Soooo Charl proposed to me! We were only 3 months into our relationship!! We were at this indian restaurant at Cresta called Sitar. We absolutely loved going there. I suspected something was up, I’m not sure why. But I kept asking charl where the ring was and would try and feel her pockets. Fast forward through dinner.. And desert makes its way to our table, annnnnd there, on this plate, decorated in chocolate sauce, was this box in the centre with a card, and I can’t remember if it was a magnet or a key ring with some special message on it. Annnd then she went down on one knee as one does, and popped the question. I think at this point we were the only ones left in the restaurant but we were surrounded by the staff. It was a wonderful evening. 

Did you have an official wedding? How long are you together for?

So, we had a very backward way of doing things. We unfortunately didn’t have any family at our wedding. We also didn’t have the traditional white wedding in a church. We found an incredible pastor who offered up this beautiful space in his garden where we ended up exchanging our vows and basically getting married surrounded by only a handful of friends. The two of us then went to the Irene Country Lodge to take pictures and thereafter we joined our friends at a privately set up area at a restaurant where we had our our own, intimate little reception. 

We just celebrated our 10 year “date-aversary” on the 27th June. But on the 26th December, we’ll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. 

 How did you decide when it came to the decision of having a baby?

From our early days of dating, Charl and I discussed what we wanted for our future. We both were on the same page about wanting a family. Because being on the same page is really so important!! Charl always knew she wanted to be a mother, but never had a desire to carry. I on the other hand, really wanted to experience pregnancy and the whole 9 yards that came with it. So the decision on who would carry came pretty easy. To add to this – at the fertility clinic, we were posed with us both being tested and basically whomever was the better suited person in terms of being more fertile would be put forward for carrying. We declined this because as mentioned, it was never in Charl’s plan to carry. Unless she really had too. Another add on, more of a follow up – Charlene being the more tom boy one of the two of us, didn’t necessarily mean that it was for this reason that she would never carry. We’ve had conversations about how very different our lives could have been if we were to do things to make other people happy, like be in a heterosexual relationship and deny who we were, and she has always said that even if she were in a relationship with a man, this wouldn’t have made a difference to how she felt about carrying / bearing a child. 

 What does your daughter refer to both of you as?

We always joked that Charlene would be called Maddy. For mom/dad, but we just felt like that just didnt suit us and our little family. So we agreed on Mama and Mommy. Charl is mama. And I’m mommy, although, at this point, Zana currently calls me MomMom which is also so absolutely perfect. But I think once she is old enough, she may decide on the other way around or something else altogether like in the L word TV Show, she could end up referring to me as mama B. lol I guess at the end of the day, whichever works for her. 

 What are the biggest misconceptions that gay women face?

That there has to be a man and a woman in the relationship. Because I mean, who is the man?? Why does there have to be a man? Can woman not be self-sufficient without a man? I’m lesbian. Lesbians are woman who love woman. If I wanted there to be a man in my relationship, I would identify as something other than lesbian. And then on an extremely personal level, that lesbians cannot or should not make use of toys for sexual pleasure, because lets PG it slightly and think about what most toys look like.. So therefore, you don’t want a man, but you’re happy having said toy!? 

Another misconception and one that is such a problem amongst our lgbqt friends of colour – you’re a gay woman because you haven’t met the right man. Or that you need to be forced “right” by having a man physically and sexually assaulting you. And unfortunately that’s not the way this works. 

Another misconception, is that you must have been abused by a man if you’re lesbian. Because Why can I not find myself loving another human being regardless of their gender? 

“who’s the guy”, or now… “who’s the father”… “so Bianca cheated for you both to have a baby?”  

Have you ever felt personally oppressed for being gay? What happened to make you feel that way?

I personally cannot say that I have. 

However I think it’s safe to say that Charl experiences this almost daily. Because she has short shaven hair, sexy short shaven hair might I add, most of the time, she is referred to as Sir. It also makes her extremely uncomfortable to walk into the female bathroom alone, regardless of what she’s wearing, or if you can or can’t see her bust area. People are so so so judgemental. So either I come with her, or she’d rather wait until we’re in a “safe” space again. 

  Does anyone ask you “who’s the boy and who’s the girl?” and do you find it offensive?

” It’s totally offensive. Even if it was asked from a place of naivety. We don’t ask heterosexual couples who wears the pants even though this seems mild in comparison.

 What’s the worst question that you get asked frequently?

I think it honestly just has to be who is the man, or in our instance, husband. By definition husband is “a married man” and that in itself should be self explanatory. Because, simply put, there is no man. 

And now having a child, “who is her real mom?” Would we be asked that if we chose to adopt instead? People of the lgbqt community don’t go around asking heterosexual couples if a person is the real dad or real mom, so why should we be asked that. It’s just really uncalled for, and so insensitive. Shouldn’t all that matter, be that there are two parents who absolutely love their child and who want nothing but the best for them? 

 What does pride month mean you?

I think not everyone sees pride month or gay pride as something to be celebrated because gay people are still oppressed, are still discriminated against, are still being murdered, and are still being assaulted.. But for us personally, its a month to just take a moment to celebrate how we have the freedom to love who we love. South Africa legalized same sex marriage at the end of 2006. Regardless of what still happens, that’s still a big deal and worthy of being celebrated. There are many other countries who jail, and stone members of the lgbqt community to death for being who they are. And now that we’re parents, I mean we are both listed on Zana’s birth certificate. That’s a win any day!! For my wife to be recognized as her mother, as her other legal parent!! We normally attend JHB pride which takes place annually in October and this event has become massive over the years. People are coming out, out of the closest, out to support, out to love and that’s always worth celebrating.

What is your advice to someone who is afraid of coming out?

It may not seem like it, but it does get better. Friends and family will eventually come around, allow them the time and space to do so. Things may be said out of hurt and anger but it really does get better. You’re never alone. Reach out, find a support system. There is always someone who is able to help you through it whatever you’re going through.

You only get one shot at life, live it on your terms. Life is too short to be anything but completely and utterly happy!

Not sure on what sort of question this will be under. But I guess I’d also like to make a statement, now that we have a family… We are both moms. It shouldn’t matter that Zana is only biologically related to one of us. We’re both her moms. Please be considerate of that fact. Because not acknowledging the other as her mother is small minded, insulting and downright rude. – we’ve experienced this first hand. And Rio, I guess I am going to take advantage of your platform in the hopes to educate people. Be it that they do it intentionally or find their actions have been unintentional. Blood isn’t what makes the three of us a family. May you be always aware of how you may be treating both parties, be it two dads, or two moms. Because each are equal parents. One of us isn’t less deserving of the title of mom, nor does not being biologically related to Zana mean one of us is less of a parent.