Author in the Spotlight: Sean Michael O’Donnell

Sean Michael O’Donnell


Sean Michael O’Donnell is a forty year old married gay man. He lives in Pittsburgh with his husband and two adopted sons. He is an award-winning playwright and the author of the best-selling book Which One of You is the Mother? Sean also writes for various websites, including VillageQ and The Good Men Project, as well as his own blog,, where he attempts to chronicle his experiences as an adoptive gay parent. The contents of his blog (and life) are 75% truth, 18% satire, 6% hyperbole and 1% drama. 

What motivated you to write a book that is specifically inclusive of LGBTQ families/issues? 

The simple answer is I am a gay parent. I felt I had a story to tell that no one else was telling. My husband and I are not the first gay couple to start a family through adoption, many gay couples are having families, but very few people are talking about it. My hope is by sharing our story will increase the visibility of gay families and from that increased visibility will come understanding and acceptance. 

What do you personally feel makes a family? 

Love. Respect. Commitment. I firmly believe families are not born, they are made.  

What does “equality” look like to you? 

Equality is when people no longer ask, “Which one of you is the mother?”  

Whose books do you admire and why? 

I enjoy David Sedaris. Like millions of people I have read all of his books and I even directed a production of his play The Santa Land Diaries. Obviously Sedaris is quite funny, but there is also something profoundly sad in his stories. He has a way of making the reader identify with his most intimate personal experiences. I admire his ability to hold a mirror up to society and say, “This is you,” while simultaneously poking fun at himself. I am also a fan of the travel writer Bill Bryson. He manages to make the world seem big and small at the same time.  

What’s coming up next for you? 

Well, I just dropped my son off for his first day of kindergarten which made me realize that for the next 5000 days (at least) I will be taking my kids to school, making them dinner, helping them with their homework, driving them to piano and swim classes, doing laundry, cleaning the house, giving hugs…basically being a parent.