This week Frank Lowe, known to Gays With Kids readers for his witty and touching stories about fatherhood, and throughout the Twitterverse as Gay-At-Home Dad, published a book called “Raised by Unicorns – Stories From People with LGBTQ+ Parents." We had some questions for him.
Frank, what inspired you to write this book?
My son was the main source of inspiration, and he always is. I feel there are endless books on the subject of being an LGBTQ+ parent, but only a handful written by their children. This is a very necessary book, especially considering the troubling times we live in.
How did you go about research and collecting your stories and interviewing families?
Believe it or not, but this stage was very challenging. I wanted to make sure that the anthology was as diverse as possible, but one of the things I realized early on was that there were a lot more people with lesbian parents –– by a huge margin. I'm not sure if that's reflective of the current state, or because it is technically “easier" for lesbian couples to have kids. (They have all the right parts!) I received somewhere close to 70 different stories and whittled them down to 15 –– which was very difficult to do.
Are all the families you interviewed located in North America, or were some farther afield?
For this particular volume, all of the contributors live in the United States. When I say "volume," it is because I imagine this as the beginning of a series that we can revisit every 5-10 years. In the next volume, I would love to add global stories.
Were there any family accounts that surprised you?
Absolutely. In fact, most of them did. I spent days sobbing through some of the stories at my desk, and at other times I'd be laughing hysterically. As the reviews have been stating, this book is an emotional rollercoaster. Each of the stories have the common thread of LGBTQ+ parents, but they are completely unique experiences from one another. Surprises abound.
Of all the stories you heard and recorded, what was the biggest lesson you learned?
That the term "gay parenting" is ridiculous. How does an individual "gay parent" their child? What does that even mean? It's just parenting. It's all the same. Love was a recurring element throughout the book, but all of these people had to "come out" just as their parent(s) did. It's a similar experience to actually being LGBTQ+.
Who would you recommend read “Raised by Unicorns" and why?
Honestly, most people need to read this book. I say that because it makes transparent something that hasn't really ever been before. For anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who has/have kids, are considering kids, etc. – this is an absolute must-read. Adoption agencies should have this book on-hand. Psychologists/social workers/therapists, etc. it's a laundry list. The book transcends its own premise and needs to be heard.
What do you think is one of the most important takeaways from "Raised by Unicorns?"
Empathy. These stories are from the actual minds of people that normally get swept under the rug. None of them want sympathy, they just want people to understand their viewpoints. This is as close to being a "fly on the wall" and observing how an LGBTQ+ family works, and what subtle (if any) differences there are. There are 6 million people in the U.S. alone that have at least one parent that identifies as LGBTQ+. It's more than time to hear what they have to say.