Adoptive Parent, Intentional Parent: A Formula for Building and Maintaining Your Child’s Safety Net by Stacy Manning
An invaluable tool that adoptive parents will use over and over again. Whether you are in the “waiting stage” or you are two, four, six, or even ten-plus years into your adoption…this book will enable you to reframe your situation with a clear vision, new knowledge, tools that work, and the support of others who have walked the path before you. Every child who has been adopted has suffered a breach in attachment; no adopted child is exempt. In addition to attachment issues, some children also suffer from difficult behavior issues amongst diagnoses such as RAD, FAS, and those that suffer from grief, anxiety, sensory issues, and the effects of trauma. The author’s breakthrough concept of intentionally creating a safety net to help your child heal fills the book’s entirety. The four-part formula for Building and Maintaining that safety net is laid out in a detailed and user-friendly fashion. It combines the value of knowing yourself, the power of knowledge, specific tools and techniques that work in everyday life, and the keys to maintaining the net over time to create a plan you can put into motion today.
Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography by Thea Dodds & Kathryn Hamm
Same-sex couples are one small part of a large, vibrant market and need most of the same services as heterosexual couples. But all wedding templates are not created equal for same-sex couples. This is also true for wedding photographers and the poses they have been trained to use when conducting engagement shoots and photographing weddings. What works for John and Barbara, won’t necessarily work for Matthew and Rick, let alone Jill and Louise. Enter veteran wedding photographer, Thea Dodds of Authentic Eye Photography, and gay and lesbian wedding pioneer, Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com, who have teamed up to create this groundbreaking book and visual guide. Featuring the work of 38 of the best same-sex wedding photographers and 46 loving couples, Hamm & Dodds provide needed support to wedding photographers who must revisit the rules of traditional wedding and engagement portraiture and develop an expanded skill set to better serve all couples in today’s dynamic wedding market.
Children on Trial: When the System Fails, a Family Begins by Lane Igoudin
Children on Trial is a memoir of adopting two little girls from the deeply dysfunctional Los Angeles County foster system. It is a frank account of a recent, three-year battle over the fate of these two children, which offers a documentary peek into a world where rapists go free, siblings can be split, and powerless adoptive parents read Tarot cards to peer into the closed-door children’s court hearings – a surreal world of social services.
Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad by Alison Wearing
A moving memoir about growing up with a gay father in the 1980s, and a tribute to the power of truth, humor, acceptance and familial love. Alison Wearing led a largely carefree childhood until she learned, at the age of 12, that her family was a little more complex than she had realized. Sure her father had always been unusual compared to the other dads in the neighborhood: he loved to bake croissants, wear silk pajamas around the house, and skip down the street singing songs from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. But when he came out of the closet in the 1970s, when homosexuality was still a cardinal taboo, it was a shock to everyone in the quiet community of Peterborough, Ontario—especially to his wife and three children.
Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All! by Harlyn Aizley
After author Harlyn Aizley gave birth to her daughter, she watched in unanticipated horror as her partner scooped up the baby and said, “I’m your new mommy!” While they both had worked to find the perfect sperm donor, Aizley had spent nine months carrying the baby and hours in labor, so how could her partner claim to be their child’s mommy? Many diapers later, Aizley began to appreciate the complexity of her partner’s new role as the other mother. Together, they searched for stories about families like their own, in which a woman has chosen to forgo her own birth experience so that she might support her partner in hers. They found very few. Now, in Confessions of the Other Mother, Aizley has put together an exciting collection of personal stories by women like her partner who are creating new parenting roles, redefining motherhood, and reshaping our view of two parent families. Contributors include Hillary Goodridge, who was one of the lead plaintiffs in the case for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, stand-up comedian Judy Gold, and psychologist and author Suzanne M. Johnson. This candid peek into a previously unexamined side of lesbian parenting is full of stories that are sometimes humorous, sometimes moving, but at all times celebratory. Each parenting tale sheds light on the many facets of motherhood, offering gay and straight readers alike a deeper understanding of what it means to love and parent in the twenty-first century.
Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX by Ginny Gilder
Forty years ago, when a young Ginny Gilder stood on the edge of Boston’s Charles River and first saw a rowing shell in motion, it was love at first sight. Yearning to escape her family history, which included her mother’s emotional unraveling and her father’s singular focus on investment acumen as the ultimate trophy, Gilder discovered rowing at a pivotal moment in her life. Having grown up in an era when girls were only beginning to abandon the sidelines as observers and cheerleaders to become competitors and national champions, Gilder harbored no dreams of athletic stardom. Once at Yale, however, her operating assumptions changed nearly overnight when, as a freshman in 1975, she found her way to the university’s rowing tanks in the gymnasium’s cavernous basement. From her first strokes as a novice, Gilder found herself in a new world, training with Olympic rowers and participating in the famous Title IX naked protest, which helped define the movement for equality in college sports. Short, asthmatic, and stubborn, Gilder made the team against all odds and for the next ten years devoted herself to answering a seemingly simple question: how badly do you want to go fast? Course Correction recounts the physical and psychological barriers Gilder overcame as she transformed into an elite athlete who reached the highest echelon of her sport. Set against the backdrop of unprecedented cultural change, Gilder’s story personalizes the impact of Title IX, illustrating the life-changing lessons learned in sports but felt far beyond the athletic arena. Heartfelt and candid, Gilder recounts lessons learned from her journey as it winds its way from her first glimpse of an oar to the Olympic podium in 1984, carries her through family tragedy, strengthens her to accept her true sexual identity, and ultimately frees her to live her life on her terms.
Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages by Patricia A. Gozemba & Karen Kahn
On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision provoked a searing public debate over the meaning of marriage and family, civil rights, and the role of religion in law and society. But the experiment went forward nonetheless: thousands of Massachusetts gays and lesbians married and, remarkably, the sky did not fall. Through engaging storytelling and powerful photographs, Courting Equality takes readers through the volatile public debate following the decision and introduces some of the many lesbian and gay families who have taken advantage of equal marriage laws. In Massachusetts, equal marriage has not destroyed the family but rather has reinforced the importance of love, commitment, fairness, and equality to the functioning of healthy democratic communities.
Determined To Be Dad: A Journey of Faith, Resilience, and Love by Steve Disselhorst
Steve’s life has been consumed with the quest to create a family. As a boy raised Catholic in the Midwest, he grew up thinking he was straight and would marry a woman and have children. When he was confronted with his attraction to men and the eventual realization that he was gay, he gave up that dream of having a family and chose the route of gay singledom. As the times changed and he gained greater self-acceptance, he re-ignited his dream for a family and started the arduous journey toward parenthood.
Determined To Be Dad chronicles his trials and tribulations of self-discovery to acceptance to building a new reality and, finally, to the joys of creating his own family through adoption. With this tender and painful story, Steve offers his journey as a tribute to his desire for familial connection, overcoming self-imposed handicaps, and facing the harsh realities of two men trying to create a family. This is the story of faith, resilience, and the ubiquitous need for love and family.
Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? by Dan Bucatinsky
In 2005, Dan Bucatinsky and his partner, Don Roos, found themselves in an L.A. delivery room, decked out in disposable scrubs from shower cap to booties, to welcome their adopted baby girl—launching their frantic yet memorable adventures into fatherhood. Two and a half years later, the same birth mother—a heroically generous, pack-a-day teen with a passion for Bridezilla marathons and Mountain Dew—delivered a son into the couple’s arms. In Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Bucatinsky moves deftly from sidesplitting stories about where kids put their fingers to the realization that his athletic son might just grow up to be straight and finally to a reflection on losing his own father just as he’s becoming one. Bucatinsky’s soul-baring and honest stories tap into that all-encompassing, and very human, hunger to be a parent—and the lifechanging and often ridiculous road to getting there.
The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
Tammy and Ed Sloan have been married for over two decades when they suddenly discover themselves on opposite sides of a current social issue – gay rights. Soon, they are horrified to discover that their differences run much deeper. The Door of the Heart is a story of being true to oneself, of marriage and commitment, and of individual responses to change; but in a broader sense, it is a story about how polarization limits the emotional and spiritual growth of individuals and destroys every aspect of community.
A Family of Their Own by Malcolm Varner
The only element missing from Max and Brian’s three-year marriage is a child. After Max’s promotion to dean of arts and sciences at Greater Cleveland Community College and Brian returns from a national LGBTQ leadership conference addressing mental health within communities of color, they diligently embark on their shared vision of fatherhood. However, religious mockery by close family members soon become distractions along the way as Max, the central character, reflects upon the true nature of family with the support of his husband and their friends. Once their five-year-old son, Donté, moves in with them and an unexpected hate crime strikes their lives, Max receives the opportunity to find the answer he seeks. Despite his own anxiety and idealistic thinking, it’s up to him to navigate their family through this trying ordeal through grit, faith, and most painfully of all, acceptance.
Family Pride: What LGBT Families Should Know About Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods by Michael Shelton
An invaluable portrait and roadmap on how to thrive as an LGBT family the overwhelming success of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” YouTube project aimed at queer youth highlighted that despite the progress made in gay rights, LGBT people are still at high risk of being victimized. While the national focus remains on the mistreatment of gay people in schools, the reality is that LGBT families also face hostility in various settings—professional, recreational, and social. This is especially evident in rural communities, where the majority of LGBT families live, isolated from support networks more commonly found in urban spaces. Family Pride is the first book for queer parents, families, and allies that emphasizes community safety. Drawing on his years as a dedicated community activist and on the experiences of LGBT parents, Michael Shelton offers concrete strategies that LGBT families can use to intervene in and resolve difficult community issues, teach their children resiliency skills, and find safe and respectful programs for their children.
Finding Our Families by Wendy Kramer & Naomi Cahn, J.D.
The first comprehensive book that offers invaluable step-by-step advice for families with donor-conceived children. Wendy Kramer, founder and director of the Donor Sibling Registry, and Naomi Cahn, family and reproductive law professor, have compiled a comprehensive and thorough guide for the growing community of families with donor-conceived children. Kramer and Cahn believe that all donor-conceived children’s desire to know their genetic family must be honored, and in Finding Our Families, they offer advice on how to foster healthy relationships within immediate families and their larger donor family networks based on openness and acceptance. With honesty and compassion, the authors offer thoughtful strategies and inspirational stories to help parents answer their own, and their children’s, questions and concerns that will surely arise, including:
• How to support your children’s curiosity and desire to know about their ancestry and genetic and medical background.
• How to help children integrate their birth story into a healthy self-image.
• How to help your children search for their donor or half siblings if and when they express interest in doing so.
BOOK NOOK: PARENTS—Finding Our Families opens up the lives of donor-conceived people who may be coping with uncertainty, thriving despite it, and finding novel ways to connect in this uncharted territory as they navigate the challenges and rewards of the world of donor conception.
First Comes Love by B Proud
First Comes Love is a book of photographs and love stories that celebrates the lives and enduring relationships of LGBTQ couples from across the U.S. The brainchild of Philadelphia photographer Barbara Proud, the book is just one element of the First Comes Love Project, a traveling exhibition of photographs, love stories and video interviews documenting LGBTQ couples who have been together for 10, 20, 30, 40, and even 50+ years. First Comes Love seeks to change attitudes, open hearts, and propel the marriage equality movement simply by introducing and sharing the love stories of 65 real American long-term same-sex couples. By doing so, Proud hopes to educate the outside of the LGBTQ community, while celebrating those who are a part of it. “First Comes Love has it right,” says supporter Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry. “It’s the faces and stories of real people that open hearts and minds and pave the way to legal and social change”.
Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son by Richie Jackson
In this poignant and urgent love letter to his son, award-winning Broadway, TV and film producer Richie Jackson reflects on his experiences as a gay man in America and the progress and setbacks of the LGBTQ community over the last 50 years.
When Jackson’s son born through surrogacy came out to him at age 15, the successful producer, now in his 50s, was compelled to reflect on his experiences and share his wisdom on life for LGBTQ Americans over the past half-century.
Gay Like Me is a celebration of gay identity and parenting, and a powerful warning for his son, other gay men and the world. Jackson looks back at his own journey as a gay man coming of age through decades of political and cultural turmoil.
Jesus Has Two Daddies by Thomas McMillen-Oakley
As teachers, Tom Oakley and Tod McMillen thought they knew everything. They were wrong. It is said that love makes a family. But in this case it was a teenage girl with two moms, a couple of lawyers, and just three weeks to get ready that made this particular family. This is the story of how their family was born, first through the private adoption of their daughter, and then expanding it with the adoption of their son from foster care three years later. Their adoption experience challenges the notion of what makes a family and sheds new light on the world of open adoption and LGBT parenting. While Tom and Tod thought they were just adopting a baby girl, they got much more. And the kids? They got two daddies.
Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood
Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples, helps people in the LGBTQ community compare adoption, foster care, surrogacy, assisted reproduction, and co-parenting so that they can make the best decision for expanding their own families.
The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans
Passionate embryologist, Savarna, is in a complicated relationship, with two different women, when she is told that she MUST have a baby. Her conservative East Indian American parents are desperate for her to conceive, in spite of her “not being married”. They insist that she is the last in line of a great spiritual lineage. In the process of choosing her lover and having doubts about her ability, or desire to conceive, Savarna begins to question the necessity of biology and lineage within her parents’ beliefs and becomes forever fascinated with the process of conception and the definition of family. Threads of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart) and The L Word (TV series) flavor this colorful tale of awakening, romance and mystery.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Foster and Adoptive Parents: Recruiting, Assessing, and Supporting Untapped Family Resources for Children and Youth by Gerald P. Mallon
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Foster and Adoptive Parents: Recruiting, Assessing, and Supporting Untapped Family Resources for Children and Youth provides social work practitioners with guidelines for working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people interested in fostering or adopting. Although a growing number of LGBT people are applying to foster or adopt and are successfully caring for children and youth, they remain, in some parts of the nation, an underutilized resource. With a national shortfall of foster and adoptive placements, and a national strategy to recruit and support foster and adoptive parents, agencies need to ensure that they do not prejudice lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans applicants from coming forward as potential foster or adoptive resources for children and youth in need.
LGBTQ Divorce and Relationship Dissolution: Psychological and Legal Perspectives and Implications for Practice
What unique challenges face LGBTQ individuals in relationships or who are separating or divorcing, especially now that same-sex couples may marry? What issues might complicate the ending of relationships when children, multiple partners, or multiple parents are present? How do gender, gender transition, ethnicity, immigration status, economic status, geography, and other characteristics shape the experiences of divorcing or separating LGBTQ people? Finally, how can therapists and lawyers most effectively assist LGBTQ people whose relationships and families are dissolving?
Love’s Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (Queer Ideas/Queer Action) by Martha M. Ertman
In Love’s Promises, law professor Martha Ertman delves into the legal cases, anecdotes, and history of family law to show that love comes in different packages—each shaped by different contracts—which family law should and sometimes does recognize. Beginning with Ertman’s own story about becoming part of a family of two moms and a dad raising a child, she then shows that many people—straight and gay, married and single, related by adoption or by genetics— use contracts to shape relationships. These contracts and deals can be big, like vows of fidelity, or small, like “I cook and you clean.” But regardless of scope, these deals can create, sustain, and modify family relationships. Insightful, accessible, and revelatory, Love’s Promises lets readers in on the power of contracts and deals to support love in its various forms and to honor the different ways that individuals contribute to our daily lives.
Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality by Debbie Cenziper
The fascinating and very moving story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to one of the most important, national civil rights victories in decades—the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. Through insider accounts and access to key players, this definitive account reveals the dramatic and previously unreported events behind Obergefell v Hodges and the lives at its center. This is a story of law and love—and a promise made to a dying man who wanted to know how he would be remembered.
Twenty years ago, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love in Cincinnati, Ohio, a place where gays were routinely picked up by police and fired from their jobs. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to provide married gay couples all the benefits offered to straight couples. Jim and John—who was dying from ALS—flew to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. But back home, Ohio refused to recognize their union, or even list Jim’s name on John’s death certificate. Then they met Al Gerhardstein, a courageous attorney who had spent nearly three decades advocating for civil rights and who now saw an opening for the cause that few others had before him.
This forceful and deeply affecting narrative—Part Erin Brockovich, part Milk, part Still Alice—chronicles how this grieving man and his lawyer, against overwhelming odds, introduced the most important gay rights case in U.S. history. It is an urgent and unforgettable account that will inspire readers for many years to come.
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely by Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein’s 1994 book of autobiographical theory, Gender Outlaw, drew a line in the sand about the whole boy/girl thing. “Who needs it?” America’s most active transgender activist questioned. Now, in My Gender Workbook, Bornstein has assembled a collage of simple exercises, quizzes, puzzles, and essay questions that systematically break down our ingrained ideas about how women and men—and whoever is in between—should act. Bornstein’s breezy, “Hey, let’s all discover who we might really be” style works to make this potentially threatening material accessible and even intriguing to almost all readers. Just glance down, check out who—or what—you thought you were, and get ready to answer a few questions.
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman
October Mourning, a novel in verse, is her deeply felt response to the events of that tragic day. Using her poetic imagination, the author creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company, and Matthew himself. More than a decade later, this stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life.
Parent Plans: LGBTQ+ by Natalist
Parent Plans LGBTQ+ by Natalist contains thought starters for those who want to have a family in the future—whether this year or in a few years. With insights from LGBTQ+ parents and organizations that assist LGBTQ+ families, this book helps you think through the unique hurdles and joys you will face when becoming parents. Covering topics from conception to parenting philosophies, expect to think and talk about everything from baby names to values and finances to fertility. With space to either write responses or take notes, this book offers guidance when working with your partner and having deeper conversations. As you move into the new identity of parenting and priorities shift, Parent Plans guides your planning and supports you on your path.
The Paternity Test by Michael Lowenthal
Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers. As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father? In one of the first novels to explore the experience of gay men seeking a child through surrogacy, Michael Lowenthal writes passionately about marriages and mistakes, loyalty and betrayal, and about how our drive to create families can complicate the ones we already have. The Paternity Test is a provocative look at the new “family values”.
A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
Winner of a 2012 Stonewall Book Award in nonfiction – the first book to cover the entirety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from pre-1492 to the present. Intellectually dynamic and endlessly provocative, A Queer History of the United States is more than a “who’s who” of queer history: it is a book that radically challenges how we understand American history. Drawing upon primary documents, literature, and cultural histories, noted scholar and activist Michael Bronski charts the breadth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from 1492 to the 1990s, and has written a testament to how the LGBT experience has profoundly shaped our country, culture, and history. A Queer History of the United States abounds with startling examples of unknown or often ignored aspects of American history—the ineffectiveness of sodomy laws in the colonies, the prevalence of cross-dressing women soldiers in the Civil War, the impact of new technologies on LGBT life in the nineteenth century, and how rock music and popular culture were, in large part, responsible for the devastating backlash against gay rights in the late 1970s. At heart, A Queer History of the United States is simply about American history. It is a book that will matter both to LGBT people and heterosexuals. This engrossing and revelatory history will make readers appreciate just how queer America really is.
Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, & Kay Whitlock
Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences—as “suspects”, defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes–like “gleeful gay killers”, “lethal lesbians”, “disease spreaders” and “deceptive gender benders”—to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities.
Rainbow Relatives: Real-World Stories and Advice on How to Talk to Kids about LGBTQ+ Families and Friends by Sudi Karatas
Whether you have your own questions because you’re preparing to come out to your kids, or you aren’t sure how to explain to your kids why their uncle has a boyfriend or why their friend has two mommies, this book can help. With an entertaining and educational approach to educating yourself and your peers about the issues and topics surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, Rainbow Relatives will provide answers to your kids’ questions and help you raise them to be open-minded and accepting adults.
First and foremost, this book will help you approach the conversations you need to have and predict what you can expect from them. Author Sudi Karatas tells a variety of stories, such as that of a Mormon woman’s transition from fighting against gay rights to becoming a crusader for them. Also included are the voices of filmmakers, actors, musicians, mental health professionals, and more.
Through Rainbow Relatives, Karatas helps parents support, advocate for, and educate their children, relatives, and family friends
Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents by Frank Lowe
In recent years, the world has been saturated by endless blogs, articles, and books devoted to the subject of LGBTQ+ parenting. On the flip side, finding stories written by the children of LGBTQ+ parents is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. Now that the world is more accepting than ever of non-traditional families, it’s time to create a literary space for this not-so-unique, shared, but completely individual experience.
In Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents, Frank Lowe has carefully edited an anthology that reflects on the upbringing of children in many different forms of LGBTQ+ families. From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, it features diverse stories that express the distinctiveness of this shared journey and of each particular family. It’s visceral, raw, and not always pretty, but love is always the common thread.
Lowe candidly reveals true accounts of this particular niche of humanity, while simultaneously creating a moving snapshot of the world in which we live. Raised by Unicorns guides the reader through an empathetic journey that is nothing short of compelling and poignant. We’ve all heard the phrase “raised by wolves.” Now we have a window into the complex world of being Raised by Unicorns.
The Reluctant Daughter Bold Strokes Books by Leslea Newman
A story every daughter will recognize, The Reluctant Daughter depicts the struggles of Lydia Pinkowitz to communicate the realities of her life as a lesbian, as a feminist scholar, and as the woman she has become to her mother Doris. After years of hoping to attain her mother’s love and acceptance while struggling to live a true and honest life, Lydia eventually acknowledges her mother will never really see her. When Doris develops a life-threatening illness, Lydia is forced to make a life-and-death decision of her own: should she make one final attempt to heal her relationship with her mother or simply let her go?
Reproductive Losses: Challenges to LGBTQ+ Family-Making by Christa Craven
Although there are far more opportunities for LGBTQ people to become parents than there were before the 1990s, attention to the reproductive challenges LGBTQ families face has not kept pace.
Reproductive Losses considers LGBTQ people’s experiences with miscarriage, stillbirth, failed adoptions, infertility, and sterility. Drawing on Craven’s training as a feminist anthropologist and her experiences as a queer parent who has experienced loss, Reproductive Losses includes detailed stories drawn from over fifty interviews with LGBTQ people (including those who carried pregnancies, non-gestational and adoptive parents, and families from a broad range of racial/ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds) to consider how they experience loss, grief, and mourning. The book includes productive suggestions and personal narratives of resiliency, commemorative strategies, and communal support, while also acknowledging the adversity many LGBTQ people face as they attempt to form families and the heteronormativity of support resources for those who have experienced reproductive loss.
This is essential reading for scholars and professionals interested in LGBTQ health and family, and for individuals in LGBTQ communities who have experienced loss and those who support them.
The Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood by Carlos A. Ball
In 1975, California courts stripped a lesbian mother of her custody rights because she was living openly with another woman. Twenty years later, the Virginia Supreme Court did the same thing to another lesbian mother. In ordering that children be separated from their mothers, these courts ruled that it was not possible for a woman to be both a good parent and a lesbian. The Right to be Parents is the first book to provide a detailed history of how LGBT parents have turned to the courts to protect and defend their relationships with their children. Carlos A. Ball chronicles the stories of LGBT parents who, in seeking to gain legal recognition of and protection for their relationships with their children, have fundamentally changed how American law defines and regulates parenthood. Each chapter contains riveting human stories of determination and perseverance as LGBT parents challenge the widely-held view that having a same-sexual orientation, or that being a transsexual, renders individuals incapable of being good parents. To this day, some courts are still not able to look beyond sexual orientation and gender identity in order to fairly apply legal principles in cases involving LGBT parents and their children. Yet on the whole, Ball’s stories are of progress and transformation: as a result of these pioneering LGBT parent litigants, the law is increasingly recognizing the wide diversity in American familial structures. The Right to be Parents explores why and how that has come to be.
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality by Ann Fausto-Sterling
Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced. Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms – sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed – and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood by Amie Klempnauer Miller
After ten years of talking about having children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that. Over the next nine months, as her partner became the biological mom-to-be, Miller became . . . what? Mommy’s little helper? A faux dad? As a Midwestern, station wagon–driving, stay-at-home mom—and as a nonbiological lesbian mother—Miller both defines and defies the norm. Like new parents everywhere, she wrestled with the anxieties and challenges of first-time parenthood but experienced pregnancy and birth only vicariously. Part love story, part comedy, part quest, Miller’s candid and often humorous memoir is a much-needed cultural roadmap for becoming a parent, even when the usual categories do not fit.
Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial by Kenji Yoshino
A renowned legal scholar tells the definitive story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality Speak Now tells the story of a watershed trial that unfolded over twelve tense days in California in 2010. A trial that legalized same-sex marriage in our most populous state. A trial that interrogated the nature of marriage, the political status of gays and lesbians, the ideal circumstances for raising children, and the ability of direct democracy to protect fundamental rights. A trial that stands as the most potent argument for marriage equality this nation has ever seen. In telling the story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the groundbreaking federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, Kenji Yoshino has also written a paean to the vanishing civil trial–an oasis of rationality in what is often a decidedly uncivil debate. Above all, this book is a work of deep humanity, in which Yoshino brings abstract legal arguments to life by sharing his own story of finding love, marrying, and having children as a gay man. Intellectually rigorous and profoundly compassionate, Speak Now will stand as the definitive account of a landmark civil-rights trial.
Stuck in the Middle with You: Parenthood in Three Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both (“the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo”), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. “It is my hope,” she writes, “that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men”. Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people’s memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they’ve faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising – and on being – a child.
This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life by Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo
Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced to answer parents’ many questions and share insight and guidance on both emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this is the book gay kids want their parents to read.
A Time to Embrace: Same-Gender Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics by William Stacy Johnson
As rhetoric continues to heat up on both sides of the debate over same-gender unions, clearly reasoned statements are in short supply. Watching this debate unfold, William Stacy Johnson found that he could be silent no longer. The result is this finely honed book. In A Time to Embrace Johnson presents a brilliant analysis of the religious, legal, and political stakes in the debates over gay marriage, civil unions, and the place of committed gay couples in a democratic society. Carefully weighing the pros and cons from across the moral and religious spectrum, Johnson here offers a fresh, thought-provoking examination of one of the most controversial issues in the West today.
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill
Through extensive research and interviews, as well as years of experience working in the field, the authors cover gender variance from birth through college. What do you do when your toddler daughter’s first sentence is that she’s a boy? What will happen when your preschool son insists on wearing a dress to school? Is this ever just a phase? How can you explain this to your neighbors and family? How can parents advocate for their children in elementary schools? What are the current laws on the rights of transgender children? What do doctors specializing in gender variant children recommend? What do the therapists say? What advice do other families who have trans kids have? What about hormone blockers and surgery? What issues should your college-bound trans child be thinking about when selecting a school? How can I best raise my gender variant or transgender child with love and compassion, even when I barely understand the issues ahead of us? And what is gender, anyway? These questions and more are answered in this book offering a deeper understanding of gender variant and transgender children and teens.
True Selves: Understanding Transsexualism for Families, Friends, Coworkers, and Helping Professionals by Mildred L. Brown & Chloe Ann Rounsley
This work combines authoritative information and humanitarian insight into the transsexual experience. Filled with wisdom and understanding, this groundbreaking book paints a vivid portrait of conflicts transsexuals face on a daily basis—and the courage they must summon as they struggle to reveal their true being to themselves and others. True Selves offers valuable guidance for those who are struggling to understand these people and their situations. Using real life stories, actual letters, and other compelling examples, the authors give a clear understanding of what it means to be transsexual. They also give other useful advice, including how to deal compassionately with these commonly misunderstood individuals– by keeping an open heart, communicating fears, pain and support, respecting choices.
Where’s the Mother? Stories from a Transgender Dad by Trevor MacDonald
“A deeply compelling memoir from a transgender man who birthed and breastfed his children – it’s informative, inspiring, and transformational.” – DIANA WEST, co-author of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition
In a time when to most people “pregnancy” automatically means “motherhood,” what is it like to get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed a child all while being an out transgender man?
When Trevor MacDonald decided to start a family, he knew that the world was going to have questions for him. As a transgender man in a gay relationship, Trevor has gone through the journeys of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing all while exploring (and sometimes defending) his role as a trans dad. Trevor and his partner tackle all the questions new parents are familiar with, such as: Should we feed our baby breast milk or formula? Should we have a hospital or home birth?
Other questions are much less familiar: How can a man cope with gender dysphoria when going through such female-coded rituals as childbirth and breastfeeding? How can a person breastfeed after having had chest masculinization surgery? How do we find donor milk to supplement our own modest milk supply?
Luckily for the reader, Trevor explains his own answers to these questions with grace and humor. His stories convey the intimate and sometimes surprising realities of the transgender parenting experience. This memoir is a book about being a breastfeeding parent and a transgender man, and the many beautiful, moving, and difficult ways these two identities collide. It reminds us that birth is a fundamental process that lies outside simplistic definitions and concepts. Coming at a time when transgender people around the world face significant legislative oppression and violence, “Where’s the Mother?” is a memoir about love and family like no other.
Which One of You is the Mother? by Sean Michael O’Donnell
After fifteen years of up-all-night gay disco dance parties, Sean O’Donnell and his longtime partner Todd decided to trade in their leather chaps for mom jeans and start a family. In August 2012 the not-so ambiguously gay duo walked into a Pittsburgh-based adoption agency and said, “We’d like a child, please.” For the next several months they attended parenting classes, subjected themselves to probing FBI background checks, and completed enough paperwork to reforest the whole of the Amazon River basin. Despite lacking a magical baby-making vagina the pair successfully made omelets without eggs when in July 2013 they flew to Oregon to meet their seven-year-old son for the first time. No longer Sean and Todd they would now be forever known as Dad and Papa to the observant boy (“So that’s how you sleep.”) with a million questions (“Do you have a girlfriend?”, “Where do babies come from?”, “What’s gay?”) No sooner had they settled into their new roles when the stork returned the following year, delivering another boy who quickly proved that five-year-olds were basically talking babies who could use the toilet. Which One of You is the Mother? is the story of how two gay guys finally met the two kids who were always meant to be their sons. This is a book that celebrates a different kind of family who just happens to be like every other family on the block. Only gayer. And funnier.
You’re Not from Around Here, Are You? A Lesbian in Small-Town America by Louise A. Blum
This is a funny, moving story about life in a small town, from the point of view of a pregnant lesbian. Louise A. Blum, author of the critically acclaimed novel Amnesty, now tells the story of her own life and her decision to be out, loud, and pregnant. Mixing humor with memorable prose, Blum recounts how a quiet, conservative town in an impoverished stretch of Appalachia reacts as she and a local woman, Connie, fall in love, move in together, and determine to live their life together openly and truthfully. The town responds in radically different ways to the couple’s presence, from prayer vigils on the village green to a feature article in the family section of the local newspaper. This is a cautionary, wise, and celebratory tale about what it’s like to be different in America—both the good and the bad. A depiction of small town life with all its comforts and its terrors, this memoir speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in America. Blum tells her story with a razor wit and deft precision, a story about two “girls with grit,” and the child they decide to raise, right where they are, in small town America.