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.

Read more...

Every book or product on Gays With Kids is independently selected by our staff, writers and experts. If you click on a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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What to Buy

"The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" Is Being Turned Into a 5-Book Series

Will Mason has launched a kickstarter to turn his children's book "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" into a 5-book series

Guest post written by Will Mason, author of "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart," which he wrote in honor of his lesbian sister, her children, and all children who find themselves feeling different in some way.

I, Will Mason, kindly ask you to support my Kickstarter, to help launch the latest book in the LGBTQ Rainbow Heart children's series, "The Invasion of Big Angry Red." 5% of sales will go to GLSEN, in honor of Jamel Myles, the 9-year-old student who took his life this past August after he was bullied for being gay.

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Gay Dad Life

New Book Explores How Two 'Broken Souls' Met on Craigslist, Fell in Love, and Started a Family

Nick and Bryan had both almost "given up," until they met each other through a Craigslist ad.

Guest post written by Nick He, authors of "Two Dads and Three Girls"

My name is Nick. I am 100% made in China. Growing up in China, being gay was not an option. I was denied a chance to be myself. Thanks to the Chinese education system, I also was not encouraged to seek my true self. Everyday, I was told to study, get a good score, go to a college, and to make my parents proud.

Growing up in Seattle, Bryan's happy family life was shattered by his parent's divorce. He quit college and worked in a local grocery store for 18 years. He knew that he liked boys when he was little, but chose to live a faked straight life.

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Expert Advice

Get the Book: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction

Dr. Kim Bergman's new book "Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Reproduction" breaks down surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation.

Guest post written by Dr. Kim Bergman

If you are reading this article, chances are good that you are thinking about building a family. You've been dreaming about your baby, first smiles and first steps, family vacations and holidays spent together. As with any dream, you might need some help to fulfill it. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, and a changing legal climate assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for the LGBTQI community can help make your dream a reality.

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Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Fatherhood, the gay way

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