Gay Dad Life

Books About Gay Fatherhood

Sure, much of what gay dads need to know about raising a child can be found in the excellent series Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5; Caring for your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12; and Caring for Your Teenager: The Complete and Authoritative Guide, by the American Academy of Pediatrics. But gay men contemplating fatherhood must overcome a different set of hurdles than others: legal, financial, societal, to name but a few. To help answer some of those questions, I compiled the following list, an admittedly motley collection of printed matter.

Gay Dads: A Celebration of Fatherhood

David Strah, with Susanna Margolis

Photographs by Kris Timken

2003

From the publisher:

“Inspiring portraits of gay men and their families from all across America.

An evolution has quietly been occurring in the world of parenting. Recent surveys reveal that millions of children have found loving homes either by being born to, or adopted by, gay men. This book is a celebration of these remarkable new families.

Gay Dads includes twenty-five personal accounts from men describing their unique journeys to fatherhood and the struggles and successes they have experienced as they raise their children. This is the first book to provide such an expansive exploration of this extraordinary new family unit. With beautiful black-and-white photographs of each of the families, Gay Dads is a moving tribute to familial love.”

 Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Confessions of a Gay Dad

 Dan Bucatinsky

 2012

From the publisher:

“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 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 life-changing and often ridiculous road to getting there.”

The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided To Get Pregnant

Dan Savage

2000

From the publisher:

“Dan Savage's nationally syndicated sex advice column, "Savage Love", enrages and excites more than four million people each week. In The Kid, Savage tells a no-holds-barred, high-energy story of an ordinary American couple who wants to have a baby. Except that in this case the couple happens to be Dan and his boyfriend. That fact, in the face of a society enormously uneasy with gay adoption, makes for an edgy, entertaining, and illuminating read. When Dan and his boyfriend are finally presented with an infant badly in need of parenting, they find themselves caught up in a drama that extends well beyond the confines of their immediate world. A story about confronting homophobia, falling in love, getting older, and getting a little bit smarter, The Kid is a book about the very human desire to have a family.”

The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family

Dan Savage

2006

From the publisher:

“Dan Savage’s mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says “no thanks” because he doesn’t want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren’t “allowed” to get married, but that he’d like to come to the reception and eat cake. Throw into the mix Dan’s straight siblings, whose varied choices form a microcosm of how Americans are approaching marriage these days, and you get a rollicking family memoir that will have everyone—gay or straight, right or left, single or married—howling with laughter and rethinking their notions of marriage and all it entails.”

Lesbian and Gay Parenting Handbook: Creating and Raising Our Families

April Martin

1993

From the publisher:

“A much needed book that addresses the many questions and important issues associated with lesbian and gay parenting, by a well-known psychotherapist and lesbian parent.”

Gay Parenting: Complete Guide for Same-Sex Families

Shana Priwer and Cynthia Phillips

2006

From the publisher:

“This insightful, thoroughly researched guide offers sage advice for same-sex families in every stage, from making the decision to have children to dealing with embarrassed teenagers. Discover the ways same sex parents should accent family pride to deal with being more visibly out.  Explore the options for bringing children into your lives, including adoption, fostering, surrogacy, and donor insemination. "

The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide

Arlene Istar Lev

2004

From the publisher:

“Gay parenting is a productive and positive decision, but author and lesbian mother Arlene Lev admits it isn't always an easy one. With practical wisdom and advice, and personal real-life stories, Lev prepares gay parents for this endeavor with everything they need to know and everything they can expect while making their own significant and challenging mark on family life in the 21st century.”

Gay & Lesbian Parenting Choices: From Adoptions or Using a Surrogate to Choosing the Perfect Father

Brette McWhorter Sember

2006


From the publisher:

“Creating a family is one of the greatest joys a couple can have, but gay and lesbian couples face unique challenges when they wish to become parents together. Gay & Lesbian Parenting Choices provides a complete explanation of the many ways gay or lesbian couples can create a family and the legal hoops they must jump through as part of the process. Written by an attorney in an-easy-to-understand style, this guide provides a comprehensive look at the options available to gay couples and offers advice and information on how best to proceed.

Different types of adoptions international, domestic agency, state agency, private, and facilitator-led are discussed, in addition to open versus closed adoptions. Special emphasis is paid to the considerations and concerns gay adoptive parents face, such as how to tell whether an agency is gay-friendly and whether both partners can adopt simultaneously or must use a two-part process. Advice is offered on finding an agency and dealing with the home study.

Gay & Lesbian Parenting Choices also considers the wide variety of assisted family-building choices, including donor sperm and insemination, egg donors and surrogates, as well as new technologies on the horizon. Consent laws, fertility procedures, choosing donors or surrogates, finding fertility clinics that are gay friendly, and advice about how to make sure your family is legally protected is also covered.

Other parenting options such as foster care and adopting your partner’s child are included, in addition to family protection measures such as wills and medical consents, getting cooperation from schools, finding support for your family, and talking about your family with your child.

This complete guide helps gay and lesbian prospective parents choose the path to parenthood that will work best for them and offers advice and support as they journey towards becoming a family.”

Family Pride: What LGBT Families Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods

Michael Shelton

2013

From Michael Bronski, Series Editor, Queer Action/Queer Ideas:

“The rapid emergence, over the past decade, of the LGBT family from the shadows of fear into your bright lights of the everyday world has been startling. Openly LGBT families are now attending PTA meetings, applying for social services, and rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn. This journey—a continuous, unfolding adventure for many families—has been historically a slow, and often dangerous, one. in the 1950s and ‘60s one of the main concerns of the daughters of Bilitis, the first political and social group founded by and for lesbians, was to help women who raising children alone or with a partner. Dealing with issues of housing, school, being out, and dealing with hostile relatives and neighbors were a staple in their publication the Ladder. The advances of feminism, gay liberation, and the relatively new field of LGBT family law has made life for these families—and really, all families—immeasurably better, safer, and healthier.

This move into the right daylight over security and safety is immeasurably helped by Michael Shelton’s Family Pride: What LGBT Families Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods. Raising a happy, healthy family is difficult for all Americans who choose to do do. For nontraditional families, and especially LGBT families, what should be a joyous experience can often be fraught with social, legal, political, and even medical problems. Are our children going to be safe at school if their classmates find out they have two mothers? Can I trust the doctors and nurses at the local health clinic to tell them Bobby's father has HIV/AIDS? How open can I be with our neighbors about the fact that my partner and I just broke up? These are just a few of the problems that come LGBT families face every day. Michael Shelton is not just providing reasonable, helpful—maybe even life-saving—advice here for LGBT families. He is mapping out new territory in helping reshape and rethink how all families might live safer, stronger, and happier lives.

Gay Men Choosing Parenthood

Gerald P. Mallon

2004

From the publisher:

“Gay parenting is a topic on which almost everyone has an opinion but almost nobody has any facts. Here at last is a book based on a thorough review of the literature, as well as interviews with a pioneering group of men who in the 1980s chose to become fathers outside the boundaries of a heterosexual union -- through foster care, adoption, and other kinship relationships.

This book reveals how very natural and possible gay parenthood can be. What factors influence this decision? How do the experiences of gay dads compare to those of heterosexual men? How effectively do professional services such as support groups serve gay fathers and prospective gay fathers? What elements of the social climate are helpful -- and hurtful? Gay Men Choosing Parenthood challenges a great deal of misinformation, showing how gay fathers from different backgrounds adapted, perceived, and constructed their options and their families.”

Fatherhood for Gay Men: An Emotional and Practical Guide to Becoming a Gay dad (Race and Politics)

Kevin McGarry

2003

From the publisher:

“Fatherhood for Gay Men: An Emotional and Practical Guide to Becoming a Gay Dad is the story of one man's journey down the road less traveled—a single gay man adopting and raising his two sons. Author Kevin McGarry recounts his passage into parenthood after years of having his natural fathering instincts stifled by the limits—real and perceived—of being gay. This unique book details the emotional, financial, practical, and social realities of the adoption process for gay men.

Much more than a “how-to” guide to adoption, Fatherhood for Gay Men is the personal account of a single gay man's struggle to become a father despite the real and imagined limitations of being a gay man. The book looks at the adoption process (domestic and international) from the inside, providing unique insight into: conducting a homestudy; costs (fees and expenses); what countries allow men to adopt;  alternatives to adoption; life as a new parent; online resources; and a state-by-state review of adoption laws, categorized by “Completely Legal,” “Favorable Climate,” “Mixed Success,” and “Illegal”.

The book also includes results of the 2000 study by Gillian Dunne, senior researcher for the London School of Economics Gender Institute, of 100 gay fathers and fathers-to-be.”

From the author:

"We take risks by coming out of the closet as gay men and at the end of the day, we are emotionally happier because we took those risks. By coming out, we are being true to who we are. The same goes for anyone, gay or straight, who has gut instincts for parenthood. I knew over the years that I had parenting instincts because I had this incredible envy of other dads. I would watch them with their kids and wish that somehow, I could have that role. It was painful at times because being gay, I didn't think parenting was in my life plan. Had more role models been available to me, the process would have been a little less difficult."

On Being a Gay Parent: Making a Future Together

Brett Webb-Mitchell

2007

From the publisher:

“This practical, down-to-earth guide to being a gay Christian parent is filled with interesting stories, simple anecdotes, creative ideas, and thoughtful reflections, while raising up important issues facing gay-and lesbian-headed households in contemporary American society. Includes a list of resources helpful in addressing often-surprising issues, simple day-to-day tasks, and crucial decisions around being a gay or lesbian parent in today's world.”

From Jane Tully, Clergy Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays:

”A truly faith-based family story, where love is what matters and the challenges of living openly and honestly are faced head on."

Forever Dads: A Gay Couples Journey to Fatherhood

Tony Zimbardi-LeMons

2012

From the publisher:

"Forever Dads: A Gay Couple's Journey to Fatherhood chronicles Tony and Antonio's experience from their first exploratory meeting at the "Pop Luck Club," (a non-profit group who provides information, guidance and support to gay parents and prospective parents) to tackling one of the hardest, yet most gratifying responsibilities in the world--parenting. Readers will follow Tony and Antonio as they navigate the tumultuous roller coaster ride of the Los Angeles County foster-adoption system to the ultimate adoption finalization of their sons Erik and John. The book which ran in Frontiers Magazine is told in a compilation format and explores many themes, some unique to the gay experience and others simply universal in the journey to parenthood.

The Zimbardi-LeMons family story is told in heart-felt installments peppered with rich humor and poignancy, a must read for any prospective adoptive parent, gay or straight.”

Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is

Abigail Garner

2005

From the Publisher:

“Abigail Garner was five years old when her parents divorced and her dad came out as gay. Like the millions of children growing up in these families today, she often found herself in the middle of the political and moral debates surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parenting.

Drawing on a decade of community organizing, and interviews with more than fifty grown sons and daughters of LGBT parents, Garner addresses such topics as coming out to children, facing homophobia at school, co-parenting with ex-partners, the impact of AIDS, and the children's own sexuality.”

Both practical and deeply personal, Families Like Mine provides an invaluable insider's perspective for LGBT parents, their families, and their allies.

Three Little Wonders: An Adoption Story

David H. Burton

2012

From the Publisher:

“Together for ten years, David and his partner made the decision to become dads. Figuring out they wanted to adopt was easy, the waiting and complications along the way were not. Follow their journey as this same-sex couple tried to start their family and prevent three brothers from being separated.

A heart-warming tale of two dads and their Three Little Wonders.”

Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle

Abbie E. Goldberg

2012

From the Publisher:

“The past several decades have seen increasing controversies over lesbian and gay parenthood. More same-sex couples than ever are becoming parents, building their families while others debate their legal rights pertaining to marriage and parenthood. Against this sociopolitical backdrop, how do same-sex couples transition to parenthood, and what are their experiences as parents? Furthermore, what are the experiences of their children?

Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle provides a comprehensive overview of the research on same-sex parenthood, exploring ways in which lesbian and gay parents resist, accommodate, and transform fundamental notions of gender, parenting, and family. The book takes a family life cycle approach, beginning with research on how same-sex couples meet and build healthy relationships, then describing how and why same-sex couples decide to have children and how they grapple with the changing roles each partner must adopt. Their experiences raising children through young adulthood are explored, including the challenges of interacting with their children's schools and teachers. In the end, the book considers the perspectives of the children themselves—as young adults and adults speak out about their experiences having lesbian or gay parents.

Integrating both qualitative and quantitative research, this book incorporates a range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, sexuality/gender studies, and human development. It also highlights understudied aspects of same-sex parenting, such as termination of couple relationships.

With practical recommendations in every chapter, this book is an indispensable resource for those who research lesbian and gay mental health and family issues, as well as those who provide services to lesbian and gay parents and parents-to-be.”

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Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, dammit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

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Gay Dads Forced to Flee Russia Find Refuge in Seattle

After fleeing Moscow last spring, this family of four has started new lives for themselves in Seattle.

For almost ten years, Andrei Yaganov, 45, and his husband Evgeny Erofeev, 32, managed to live a fairly ordinary life in Moscow, Russia. The two men both held down respectable office jobs. And their two sons — Denis and Yuri, now 14 and 12 respectively — went to daycare and school without issue. Despite being headed by a same-sex couple in a country with notoriously aggressive laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, the foursome went about their lives just like any other family.

Adoption by LGBTQ couples, like same-sex marriage, is illegal in Russia. But the couple managed to circumvent the ban by having Andrei adopt as a single parent. Andrei became only the third single man in Moscow, he was told during his placement process, to do so.

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The podcast 'A Gay Man's Wife,' explores how one woman makes her marriage to a gay man work for her — and their family.

Guest post written by Michael and Tawyne, hosts of A Gay Man's Wife

Michael: Growing up, I always knew I was different. I knew that what my family perceived as normal wasn't who I was. Only when I hit a certain maturity in my teenage years did I understand that I was gay. Still, I didn't know what that meant for me at the time. When I was 16 I met Tawyne (15) and immediately felt something that I didn't quite understand. She was wild like a tornado and captivated me. Throughout the first year of our friendship we fell in love.

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Politics

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.

News

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In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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