Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-18
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOMBIAN New guide offers advice for and from LGBT parents
by Dana Rudolph

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

As an LGBTQ parent, I sometimes feel like I've had to make things up as I go along.

But Pride and Joy: A Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Parents, gives queer parents and parents-to-be a handy way to tap into the collective wisdom of many who have gone before. The new book, by Sarah and Rachel Hagger-Holt, offers stories, advice, and insight not only on starting a family, but also on navigating the years to follow.

The book is not meant to be a manual, however, the authors tell us, but rather "an invitation to join a conversation." They hope that the stories in it "will spark moments of recognition," help readers find solutions to their own dilemmas, and convey that we're all part of a community.

The Hagger-Holts are themselves raising two children, ages 6 and 8, in the U.K. Rachel, a clinical psychologist and Sarah, who works in charity communications, have already published one book together, a guide for living as an out Christian. For their new and non-denominational work, they interviewed over 70 LGBT parents, their grown children, sperm donors, prospective parents, and others across the U.K. and Ireland to provide a range of perspectives, anecdotes, and advice. And despite its British and Irish roots, most of the book is broadly applicable to LGBT parents in the United States, too.

The first section covers starting a family, beginning with how people have decided to do so in the first place. Even the chapters about specific options—adoption/fostering, sperm banks, surrogacy, known donors, and straight relationships—are less about the mechanics and more about sharing insights on why people chose that option and what it was like for them.

Part Two, "Coming Out as a Family," includes choosing names for parents and donors, telling extended family about your plans to parent ( and navigating what could be varied reactions ), responding to questions from medical and social service professionals as well as from other parents, and being an LGBT family in the school system. ( Best section heading: "We're here, we're queer, and we're on the PTA." )

A third section explores "Creating New Forms of Family," and the importance ( or not ) of biological connection, gender roles and expectations, being out as a parent, and relationships with co-parents, donors, birth parents, and others.

The final part looks at life changes that some LGBT families may face, such as gender transition, divorce, and new relationships, and then turns to ways of maintaining our own LGBT identities as parents. It wraps up with a chapter about talking with our children about sometimes tough topics like sex and relationships, prejudice, diversity, "and what it means for them to be part of an LGBT family, helping them to be confident in their own story and in sharing it with others."

Several "special feature" essays also take in-depth looks at additional topics like cross-cultural parenting, seeking asylum as an LGBT family, being an ally to LGBT parents, and choosing not to parent.

The book is consistently encouraging but not saccharine, balancing practical tips with stories that cast light on the emotional aspects of being an LGBT parent. The Haggar-Holts do a good job pulling together the diverse opinions and experiences of their interviewees, but are not afraid to offer their own insights, too. In talking with children about LGBT people and relationships, for example, they observe that this isn't a matter of sex; instead, "We're telling them a story about how much they are loved, wanted and surrounded by people who care for them."

Pride and Joy is a welcome addition to the small canon of guidebooks for LGBT parents, most of which ( like Stephanie Brill's The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth, Rachel Pepper's The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, and Eric Rosswood's recent Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood ) focus on starting a family rather than raising one, and do not fully include transgender or bisexual parents. Arlene Istar Lev's The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide is probably closest in covering more than just how to start, but like Brill and Pepper's work is now over a decade old. And Michael Shelton's more recent Family Pride: What LGBT Families Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods, feels less like a guidebook and more like a survey of the state of LGBT families in 2013.

The Haggar-Holts, in contrast, offer a broader look across the family lifecycle and the spectrum, even including several bisexual parents in different-sex relationships, as well as trans and genderqueer parents. They acknowledge the need for bisexual and transgender people to sometimes find their own spaces. They also wisely include insights from adults with LGBT parents.

Some might argue that a cross-spectrum book isn't necessary; that each part of the spectrum has its own specific concerns on the way to and through parenthood. While that may be true to some extent, a cross-spectrum book also shows that we have many things in common; that some of us sit in multiple or changing places on the spectrum; and that we can learn much from each other to enhance both our own parenting and our ability to support others in their journeys.

The book will likely appeal most to new LGBT parents or LGBT people considering parenthood, but even those of us with a few years of experience under our belts will find much of value in this bouquet of stories, tips, and reflections about the grand adventure that is being an LGBT parent.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SOUND THE ALARMS Supreme Court pick could dismantle LGBTQ rights 2018-07-18 - The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court should alarm every member of the LGBT community. His record demonstrates that if he ...

Gay News

Independence Day celebration for whom? 2018-07-11 - Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July with rounds of festivities marking our nation's 242 years of independence. Scenes of hyperpatriotism were ...

Gay News

GenForward surveys millennials' views on LGBT issues: race, identity, experience 2018-07-09 - Do more Millennials self-identify as LGBTQ than in past generations… or are they just more open about it? Are they more connected to ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT When they come for me 2018-07-04 - When they come to tell me to move to the back of the bus, the answer is no, I'm not moving. When they ...

Gay News

LETTERS Being human, meeting obligations to children 2018-06-27 - Being human To whom it may concern: Every day at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, we teach about the dangers ...

Gay News

Raoul for AG attacks opponent on anti-gay views 2018-06-25 - CHICAGO — As we celebrate Pride Month, Kwame Raoul's campaign for Attorney General has released a new video, "Republican Erika Harold: Wrong for ...

Gay News

Money bond, pretrial incarceration hurting Chicago's LGBTQ Communities 2018-06-20 - On any given day, more than 90% of people in Cook County Jail ( "CCJ" ) are presumed innocent and yet are locked ...

Gay News

What's happening to Pride? 2018-06-20 - I like to say there was something in the air that made Pride 2017—here and abroad—one of the most contentious events in its ...

Gay News

Cakeshop ruling doesn't crumple our opponents 2018-06-13 - A pall hung over me June 4. The Supreme Court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in favor of ...

Gay News

Trigger warning, mental health, suicide prevention and survivor guilt 2018-06-13 - Trigger warning: mental health. Simply put, suicide can kiss my ASS. If you're a fellow family/friend survivor, I'm sending you tons of ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.