The Best of the Web for LGBTQ Parents
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I know I'm biased, but seriously this piece by Kathryn is so beautiful and so right. When we deeply know love, grace, gratitude and awe, social justice will follow. But don't stop at my over-simplified summary. Here's an excerpt from Kathryn. I highly recommend the whole thing.
"Our church struggled today to 'teach children about social justice.' Let’s try again.
First, teach them about God. Walk with them in the woods, holding their hands against the bark of living trees. Scoop the worm up with a gentle palm, feeling her living muscles pulse as she moves. Watch for the chipmunk, bright and quick. Their energy is your energy; it is all the living pulse of God. Let awe be born in the childrens’ hearts.
Keep teaching them about God. Hold the child close when he comes to you for a hug. Sing raucously with her when she’s joyous; sit by her side through the night when she’s sick. Wrap your home in the love of the generations that came before you..."
This is Part One of a three part series we're writing about the questions LGBTQ parents often have, but sometimes feel awkward asking. In this piece we discuss postpartum depression suffered by parents who didn't carry the baby and the weirdness of ordering sperm.
If you have any ideas for an "awkward question" you'd like us to explore, please leave a comment!
This piece by Molly captures the worry I think many of us with small children feel about the impending first time our child will face blatant, cruel homophobia. I really appreciated Molly's candor in this piece. Here's an excerpt:
"I remember the time (years ago) when Catch and I were crossing the street after a sushi date and someone threw a full water bottle at us from their car window as they drove by and screamed, “Fucking dykes!” We weren’t even holding hands. We scurried away as fast as possible—heads down, not making eye contact with anyone around us. We were hurt and embarrassed…. And now I think, what if Charlotte had been there? How long will it be until she witnesses a scene like that? "
While this article isn't super in-depth, it's a great introduction to some of the the things that gay men interested in surrogacy will likely need to consider. There are also some links to additional resources and information.
This is so good. In this piece Jacob talks about the inevitable question that that anyone who doesn't look like a gender stereotype will get from children: "Is that a boy or a girl?"
The thing is, coming from children that's a straightforward, genuine question. They've been taught that boys look one way and girls look another, so when they see something that is different than that, they ask about it. It's a great reaction for them to have.
The problem lies in the most common response. As Jacob mentions -- and my experience also supports -- the most common thing for the parent to do is smile embarrassed, mumble that it's not polite to talk about other people, then hurry the kid away.
This, of course, teaches the child one thing loud and clear: it is so very bad to look different than a gender stereotype you shouldn't even TALK about it. You can talk about pirates and evil villains and the devil. But someone who doesn't conform to gender stereotypes is a different, way worse sort of unnameable, unspeakable bad.
Of course, that's generally not what the parents MEANto convey, but it is nonetheless what they do convey.
Like Jacob, I often wish that parents would lean in and use their child's question about me to be a teachable moment. And if they don't know what to say, I wish they'd ask me.
I was glad to see that Barnes and Noble put together this list. Reading YA novels played such an important part in my development and so it's been heartening as an adult to discover an ever-increasing number of quality YA books with LGBTQ protagonists (Though I wish I could have had them when I was a kid!)
My Daughter Was Asked Why She Has Two Moms. Her Answer Was A Simple Shrug | Amber Leventry on The Next Family
I really identified with this piece by Amber. Like Amber’s daughter, my son is in preschool and I’ve started over-hearing -- and being part of -- conversations with the other kids in his class about our family. So far the questions kids have asked have all been rooted in curiosity, not bigotry. But it’s gotten me thinking about the inevitable time when my son will realize that our family isn’t just different; it is -- we are -- in some cases hated.
I still don't have a great idea for how I'll deal with that, beyond loving my son through it. But I really appreciated how Amber captured the exhaustion I feel, as well as the belief I share that we have a responsibility to teach our kids about goodness and beauty, even when we're scared and tired.
“I can’t keep up with the Duggars. I don’t have the time to stay angry at every law passed that will limit my rights. I don’t have the energy to defend myself to another preacher who thinks the death of all homosexuals would solve the world’s problems. If I get bogged down with what’s wrong with the world, I won’t be able to show my children what is right. And I won’t have the patience and kindness to teach them the beauty of a diverse world and the allies who support it.”
I recommend reading the whole piece. It’s nice to get a glimpse into another family’s thought-process, and it’s heartening to see her daughter’s nonchalant comfort in her family.
I loved the combination of vulnerability and confidence that Joanna shares in this piece. She's vulnerable up front about some of the biases and fears she had when first considering making a family ( “unnatural” fertility procedures, fear of being genetically left out, donor ambivalence), but then takes us along with her as she discovers the sort of daily acts of love that really make a family. She's candid and exact in her details, making the piece easy to relate to while I smiled along.
2TravelDads is a team of writers -- all of who are gay men with children -- who write about family and travel. I liked this post because even though we don’t travel nearly as extensively as these guys, I definitely still relate to the struggle of being too busy or distracted to properly take care of myself. There’s a nice mix of general tips and shared personal experience in this piece, which I appreciated. And I especially liked their point about the importance of teaching and modeling self-care to our kids, too.
Dana Rudolph of Mombian is consistently a great read. I appreciated this post not only because it introduced me to some LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books I’d never heard of before, but also because she brought up the important point that stories where LGBTQ protagonists triumph over homophobia can actually be a really upsetting story for a child who hasn’t been exposed to homophobia before.
“The story resolves happily, but depending on the age and temperament of your child and whether they’ve been exposed to homophobia before, the stinkbug’s ranting could cause fear and anxiety. Read it to them only after you’ve weighed this.”
Ok so this piece is shameless fluff. But sometimes -- especially when the news of the day is heavy and terrifying -- fluff just feels good. So here's a chance to gawk at some famous same-sex parents with their adorable kids.
While I wish the title of this piece didn't assume the worst (I believe that asking awkward questions is often a genuine attempt to understand something new) I did find her questions and answers to be helpful and well-written.
For example, she writes:
Will the child feel bad that he/she doesn’t have a mom/dad?
Maybe, as a phase, just like my kids have wished for a more athletic dad or a mom who was a “cool firefighter” like a classmate’s mom. These wishes aren’t about sexual orientation; wishes are a part of healthy development, as children over time let go of the superhero view of their parents and see them more realistically.
This is a post I wrote. It's about how Kathryn and I share our family story with our son. I wrote it because I'm often curious about how and when other non-traditional parents share with their children how their family was made. My hope is that sharing this sparks a conversation. I love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comment section!
In this post Nicole talks about the YouTube series, “The F Word,” that she and her wife filmed about the journey of adopting through foster care. The article is a great read on its own, but I also definitely recommend checking out the YouTube series as well. I’m a little ways in myself and am really enjoying it. I appreciate their balanced views and their willingness to be vulnerable in sharing their family story.