Aug 02

Kids of Queer Parents (LGBTQ): 3 Recent Books

Three recent books by or specifically about adult kids of queer parents (LGBTQ):

I. The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA by Gabriela Hermin (2017)     

Herself raised by lesbian moms, Hermin features captioned photos of over 50 kids raised by queer parents. Many can also be seen on her website.

A few examples:

CAROLINE, RAISED IN NEWTON, MA BY HER TWO MOMS AND STEPMOM “The famous story in our family is that my little sister Jing—she’s the best—she cried the first time she saw straight people kissing because she was so confused. She was probably four or five years old.”

ZACH, RAISED IN IOWA BY HIS TWO MOMS “I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it’s family. It isn’t something that I try to point out about who my family is. It really is no more accurate to say my moms are gay-married than to say they are Packers fans or work in health care. Your sexual orientation is part of who you are, but it’s not particularly good at defining who you are.”

HOPE, RAISED IN NEW YORK CITY BY HER TWO DADS “I knew that there were other structures of families because I would see my friends’ families and my aunts and uncles, and I knew that people had something called a mother that I didn’t necessarily have, but I didn’t really think that I was in the minority.”

II. Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents, edited by Frank Lowe (2018)  

Excerpts from several reviews of this book that also features adult kids of queer parents:

Publishers Weekly: “…largely conveys the expected upbeat message that loving households produced happy, functional adults.”

Christie James: “This book is a teaching guide, a collection of LOL, Awww, and (insert crying emoji here) moments, but ultimately it is a collection of stories that prove what really makes family ‘normal’ is the love and understanding we have to give each other at the end of the day.”

III. Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home by Lara Lillibridge (2018) 

Lillibridge refers to her narrator (herself) as “Girl.” Not only raised in the 1980’s by a lesbian mom and stepmom, Girl also reveals a dysfunctional upbringing. Important distinction to be made here: it’s not the mere existence of lesbian parents that equates with dysfunction; it’s about what happens within this particular family.

Now in her 40’s, Lillibridge recently penned an essay for The Guardian. From its conclusion:

Research is beginning to show that being raised by parents in same-sex marriages does not have the negative outcome that people feared. As the Washington Post reported in 2014, according to researchers at the University of Melbourne, ‘the quality of parenting and families’ economic wellbeing was more important than sexual orientation’.

The world isn’t perfect, and many children of LGBT parents still suffer from bullying. But as adults’ attitudes change, kindness is trickling down to the next generation. The change in attitude is best reflected in a conversation a lesbian friend overheard between her 12-year-old and his friend.

‘So, I hear your mom’s a lesbian,’ the friend said.

‘My mom’s queen of the lesbians!’ the son responded, and they went off to skateboard with no further conversation needed.

May 11

“The Kids Are All Right”: And the Moms Are Lesbians

The true experiences of Zach Wahls (see yesterday’s post) may be reminiscent to some of the recent dramedy directed by Lisa CholodenkoThe Kids Are All Right (2010). It stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules, who have two teenagers who were conceived with the aid of an anonymous sperm donor.

Like many parents—of any sexual orientation—Nic and Jules do not have a perfect relationship. And it really teeters on the edge when they actually meet the sperm donor, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who’s been found by the kids.

The trailer for The Kids Are All Right includes snippets of interviews with the cast about this unique story:

Selected Reviews

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: “Cholodenko and cowriter Stuart Blumberg have crafted a loving work about family that will resonate as true for those who find their experience reflected on the big screen and will be revelatory to others.”

Dana Stevens, Slate: “…a comedy that doesn’t take cheap shots, a drama that doesn’t manipulate, a movie of ideas that doesn’t preach.”

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: “The basic joke here, and it’s a rich one, is that the dynamics of gay marriages differ little from those of straight marriages. But that joke also serves as a catalyst for some startlingly beautiful considerations…”

A.O. Scott, New York Times: “The performances are all close to perfect, which is to say that the imperfections of each character are precisely measured and honestly presented.”

Dr. Ellen Weber Libby, psychologist: “…captures, with respect and sensitivity, the hard work required to keep marriages alive, to raise children, and for both children and adults to meet life’s challenges.”

Don’t let this element escape you: the kids in this family have in fact turned out all right. And research backs this up. As reported by The Huffington Post, “In a 2010 review of virtually every study on gay parenting, New York University sociologist Judith Stacey and University of Southern California sociologist Tim Biblarz found no differences between children raised in homes with two heterosexual parents and children raised with lesbian parents.”