For the last year or so, my partner and I have been scouring the internet to find everything we can about gay parenting, and I’m not going to lie – it’s not exactly that simple. It can be extremely frustrating to dig so much to find basic information and stories about families like ours, only to find that comparatively there is still so little.
Yes, it goes without saying that we are more than lucky to live in a time when incredible resources are available to gay parents and those looking to explore building a family, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Having to sift through the various technicalities can be demoralizing and exhausting, especially when juxtaposed with the ease with which so many of my straight friends seem to get pregnant. Sometimes it can be hard not to feel embittered. There is so much more to consider and the different processes can be overwhelming.
Parenthood is not for the faint of heart, especially with the compounded difficulties that have arisen during the pandemic. Having a support system is of the utmost importance in general, but it’s especially vital for gay parents, as there are a myriad of unique issues that can arise when building a family. Whether you’re just starting to think about family planning or are in the thick of parenting, there are resources like podcasts, books, and more available to help LBGTQ+ families feel supported.
Jesse Kahn, a psychotherapist, sex therapist and director of the Gender and Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City, talked to us about some of the challenges gay couples can face on their parenting journeys. “Something as simple as having all parents’ names on the birth certificate – which is often a no-brainer for straight parents – is not necessarily guaranteed for gay parents,” they said.
Kahn noted other potential issues, including lack of access to health care and paid parental leave policies that often exclude LGBTQ+ parents. Often, insurance companies use exclusionary language that does not consider same-sex couples. As a result, queer people often don’t have the same options for fertility coverage as heterosexual couples.
As if that weren’t enough, it can be harder for gay parents to find social support and safe spaces, including parenting and childbirth classes. It is therefore of vital importance that queer people share their knowledge. Kahn, who uses the pronouns them/them, told HuffPost that “a great way for gay parents to support each other is to share their experiences as well as recommendations and resources for LGBTQ+ affirmation providers and organizations as well. informed”.
The books and podcasts I’ve turned to for help all speak with breathtaking honesty about the queer parenting journey — the legalities and necessary processes, the heartbreak, and most importantly, the joy. Keep reading for my list of the ultimate gay parenting books and podcasts, and be sure to bookmark them so you’re ready to go when it’s your turn.
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A resource for non-biological lesbian moms
A funny memory
A collection of LGBTQ+ couple stories
An accessible, research-based book on same-sex families
A collection of essays by children from LGBTQ+ families
A collection of essays on queer parenting
An indispensable resource for single lesbians and couples
An important resource on adoption
An exploration of what makes a parent
An Insightful Perspective on Gay Families
A collection of images and personal stories
If these ovaries could talk – Lesbian hosts Jamie and Robin discuss the process of family building and non-traditional families with humor and candor to normalize and celebrate the queer parenting experience.
Square Dad: The Gay Dad Podcast — Yan and Alex, a married couple with twins, discuss parenthood, relationships and more. Each week, they speak to guests and address issues related to parenting in general and same-sex parenting in particular.
The gayest birth show – Hosts Kate and Karyne take us on their journey through reciprocal IVF using Karyne’s eggs, donor sperm and Kate’s uterus.
The shortest longest time — While technically not gay-specific, this podcast is about all kinds of parenting and family stories. There is a series specifically for gay parents and another on single women who buy sperm (and much more) that I found interesting.
Outspoken Voices: a podcast for LGBTQ+ stories — This podcast was created by Family Equality and features new episodes every month with guests who cover topics important to gay families and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are considering starting a family.
Rose and Rosie: parental supervision – Comedy duo and married couple Rose and Rosie take listeners on their journey to becoming parents while talking to friends and peers who have already been through the experience. Often it’s very light-hearted, and during my darker moments I’ll admit I found it flippant. But their candor in the face of the difficulties encountered and a captivating interview with a sperm donor finally won me over.
Some families – Hosts Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley are dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ families through funny and touching stories of diverse families. They explore all avenues to queer parenthood, including adoption, IUI and IVF donor insemination, surrogacy, and co-parenting. As if that weren’t enough, they also dive into topics like gender transitioning as a parent, growing up with gay parents, fostering, raising children with disabilities, and the ups and downs of parenthood in general. It is a truly wonderful resource.