Change the World

These 8 Books Will Make the Perfect Gift for the Gay Dad in Your Life

So many good LGBTQ parenting and children's books came out this year! We're thrilled with all the options, but here are our top 8 of the year. Pick one (or all 8) up for the gay dad in your life!

Here are a roundup of some of our favorite books from the past year. From one gay dad's memoir on overcoming homelessness, abuse and neglect to founding a not-for-profit for foster kids, to children's books written by gay dads, to a collection of stories from the perspective of kids of gay families - we've got your Christmas book list right here!


"Rebel Dad: Triumphing Over Bureaucracy to Adopt to Orphans Born Worlds Apart" by David McKinstry

David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997 as the first openly gay Canadian man approved to adopt internationally. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

Read an excerpt from the first chapter of his new book here. It's 1998 and David finds himself in India. While in India, David visits several orphanages with his guide, Vinod, on his quest to adopt. With Indian adoption officials being extremely homophobic at the time, David could not reveal that he was a gay man.

Purchase your copy here.

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"Raised by Unicorns - Stories From People with LGBTQ+ Parents" by Frank Lowe

Frank Lowe, known on Instagram as @GayAtHomeDad, has carefully edited an anthology titled Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents. It reflects on the upbringing of children in many different forms of LBGTQ+ families - a subject that before now has rarely been discussed. Frank saw this current political climate as a time that is especially important to highlight stories from diverse families, rather than continually sweep them under the rug. From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, it features stories that are moving, visceral and raw. It's not always pretty, but love is always the common thread.

If you are currently an LGBTQ+ parent, about to be one, or considering being one - this book is a must-have. It sheds light on the flip side of parenting, and provides a moving snapshot of the world we're living in now.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"The 2 Boys Who Wanted to Become Daddies" by Gay Parents Books

Pascal and Sylvain are a French couple who have been together for 15 years, and became dads to twins via surrogacy in Canada. During the process they tried to find best ways to explain surrogacy to their family members, especially their young nephews. They looked for children books to easily depict surrogacy, but apart from stories with kangaroos and penguins, the choice was very limited. So they decided to create their own illustrated children's book to read it to their daughters and their families.

"The story is not necessarily ours, because our own journey had many obstacles: four failed transfers, and other disappointments which we did not want to put this in the book. Therefore, it is really a children's book for all families (gay or not) who wish to explain how two dads have babies by surrogacy."

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"Promised Land" by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris

"Promised Land" is a children's book with a gay storyline created by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris.

As the Odyssey reviewer Cassandra Burge says: "This story has all of the elements of a great children's book; adventure, an evil villain, a brave hero and even a cute animal sidekick. It also happens to have two male characters that fall in love."

In "Promised Land," a young prince named Leo and a farm boy named Jack meet by chance in the Enchanted Forest; their newfound friendship soon blossoms into love. However, things get complicated when the Queen's sinister new husband seeks control of the forest the farm boy's family are responsible for protecting.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" by Mark Loewen

In his debut children's picture book, gay dad Mark Loewen tells an important story that celebrates girl power and moves us to value the courage, determination, kindness, assertiveness, and "smarts" over beauty. Perfect for fans of The Paper Bag Princess and Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?, What Does a Princess Really Look Like? challenges gender stereotypes showing girls it's not how they look but what they do for others that matters.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"The First Man on the Moon" by Laurent Pehem

The First Man on the Moon is a riveting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, a true page-turner, full of unexpected twists. There are upheavals, escapes and near-misses, losses and gains, but never does Laurent loses sight of his ultimate objective: a baby.

Laurent and Harry want a baby. Easier said than done for a gay couple. When their adoption application is rejected, the two men embark on an insane four-year, four-clinic, four-egg-donor, nine-surrogate adventure.

Their journey takes them to Bangkok, where they must navigate the shambles of Thailand's big fertility business. From Baby Gammy, a Thai surrogacy baby born with Down syndrome and allegedly abandoned by his Australian intended parents, to the visiting Japanese millionaire trying to father a thousand babies, the Thailand surrogacy microcosm has its share of scandals and oddities.

Things become even more complicated when a military junta abolishes democracy in the name of love and declares surrogacy out of bounds. Doctors refuse to examine surrogate mothers and would-be parents of surrogacy babies find themselves stranded in Bangkok, unsure if they'll be able to bring their children home.

Laurent and Harry's yearning for a family is enduring, but as they encounter unscrupulous surrogacy agents and try to play according to the rules, miscarriages and heartbreak, the likelihood of becoming parents is far from certain.

The First Man on the Moon is a true story.

Purchase your copy here.

A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time

Rob Scheer never thought that he would be living the life he is now. He's happily married to his partner and love of his life, he's the father of four beautiful children, and he's the founder of an organization that makes life better for thousands of children in the foster care system.

But life wasn't always like this.

Growing up in an abusive household before his placement in foster care, Rob had all the odds stacked against him. Kicked out of his foster family's home within weeks after turning eighteen—with a year left of high school to go—he had to resort to sleeping in his car and in public bathrooms. He suffered from drug addiction and battled with depression, never knowing when his next meal would be or where he would sleep at night. But by true perseverance, he was able to find his own path and achieve his wildest dreams.

Poignant, gripping and inspiring, Rob's story provides a glimpse into what it's like to grow up in the foster care system, and sheds necessary light on the children who are often treated without dignity. Both a timely call to action and a courageous and candid account of life in the foster care system, A Forever Family ultimately leaves you with one message: one person can make a difference.

Purchase your copy here.

"O Cavaleiro E O Lobisomem" ("The Knight and the Werewolf") by Alexandre de Souza Amorim

"Every parent should remember that with their support their children can find the path of their happiness faster." - Alexandre de Souza Amorim

The book tells the story of young Kevin, who dreams of becoming a knight of his kingdom. When that dream comes true, Kevin is named the bravest knight in his kingdom. But being brave does not mean that you are not afraid of anything, but that you can face even your greatest fears. And it is facing his fear of Werewolves that Kevin meets Prince Noah. Friendship soon becomes love. It is a book about courage, love and with a great sensitivity to teach children that there are many possibilities to exist and to love.

Note: this book is in Portuguese

Purchase your copy here.

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Gay Dad Life

New Children's Book Explores a Different Kind of Gay Fatherhood: Doggy Dads

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads.

Guest post written by Dan Wellik

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads. It tells the story of how Pickles' life changes once his new "baby brother" Ocho joins his family. The themes in this story are important ones – families come in all shapes and sizes, all families look a little different than the next and diversity and inclusion should be celebrated. I have always felt strongly that children need more exposure to LGBT families and wanted to add my voice to this very important conversation.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dad Details Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy in Thailand in New Book

In "The First Man on the Moon," Laurent Pehem explains the long, complicated surrogacy journey that brought his son, Sam, into his life.

Guest post written by author, Laurent Pehem

'Where did you adopt them?'

'I didn't adopt them. I made them.'

Let's grant them this: straight people are trying their best to become more tolerant and inclusive. But when it comes to gay men having babies, they're particularly clueless.

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Gay Dad Creates a New Kind of LGBT Children's Book

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

Gay dad Mark Loewen's children's book debut made a splash in the children's LGBT literature pool this year.

Titled, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" the book differentiates itself from most other LGBT picture books. Namely, the story doesn't explain, clarify or justify its gay characters (who are dads). The characters are just a natural part of the story - the new normal.

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Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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