We've come a long way since 'Gay School'

When Brenna Harding thanked "two women, my beautiful mothers" at the Logies, she was given a warm round of applause and was inundated with messages of support on social media.

"It's very nice to know that our society has progressed," Brenna said shortly after her win. "Even on Twitter where anyone can say whatever they want, there was no mention of it being a bad thing. All there was, was comments saying they've raised her so well. It was nice to have no backlash at all."

The Puberty Blues star first appeared on TV with her mums in an infamous episode of Play School which aired in 2004 and was quickly dubbed "Gay School". Prime Minister John Howard slammed the episode, labelling it "foolish" and some letters claimed the episode had "robbed children of their innocence".

Families have always come in many different shapes and sizes but it's only now that same-sex couples can raise children without the stigma of the past. If Brenna Harding isn't an example of brilliant parenting, then we don't know what is. She's an example of a very important fact – children flourish in loving and supportive families, regardless of whether they have two mums, two dads or a mum and a dad or a completely different family structure.

Brennas parents are biological mum Vicki and her partner Jackie Braw. Brenna has long been an advocate for normalising the concept of same sex couples raising children, co-authoring children's books, campaigning for gay rights and recently contributing an essay about her family to the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity. It's called Same-Sex Citizenry: The Growing Pains of a Teenage Daughter.  In the essay she writes the following:

In this essay, I want to convey the complete satisfation I have with my family's construct. I am a product of my environment, my family structure, our culture, the community in which we live and my parent's sexuality. I represent a new generation that has discarded often discriminatory traditional family values in favour of inclusive, co-operative, accepting, empathetic and exciting values that reflect our diverse society.


You can read the rest of Brenna's essay here.

Brenna was back to school days after the Logies. She's in Year 11 at Sydney's St George Girls High School. Students at her school don't treat her any differently than anyone else. "Performing arts at my school aren't the biggest deal," she explained.

In a moment of reflection Brenna says she wasn't shocked by the reaction to Play School but more flattered by the attention. "You're on all these channels, you've got your friends calling you going 'I saw you on TV'", she said. She was only teased once by a girl in her new primary school who said because her mums are lesbians she must be one too; but her friends came to her defence and the girl "took it back quickly".

Brenna is in contact with her biological father as Vicki chose a known sperm donor so her daughter could meet him if she wanted to. "I don't refer to him as my dad. My donor is what I call him. He's a bit like an uncle.''

After Play School Brenna bugged her parents until they took her to see an agent. She landed her first role in the ABC family drama My Place in 2009. In 2010 she had a three-episode arc as Carbo's teenage stalker in Packed To The Rafters and then scored her winning role as Sue Knight in Puberty Blues. Shooting on the second season begins next month, a week after her 17th birthday and airs on Channel Ten later this year

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