Queer parenting is not everyone’s cup of tea; in fact, every time the Star mentions anything to do with mother/fatherhood at least one reader writes in to complain. That said, there are plenty of gay and lesbian parents and would-be parents out there, and most have bought at least one book on the subject. The Complete Lesbian And Gay Parenting Guide is one of the better ones available, even though it is typically North America-centric (which makes the chapters on adoption and the extensive contact lists of little relevance to Australian readers). It’s lighter than most of the other works on the subject, includes information for both women and men and is almost readable as a novel. Istar Lev is a New York-based counsellor, activist and writer who adopted two sons at birth with her partner. To complement her own writing, she uses short personal anecdotes of ordinary people and well-known gay and lesbian parents, like sex columnist Dan Savage and transgender writer Pat (now Patrick) Califia. While it’s probably not one to relax on the beach with, The Complete Lesbian And Gay Parenting Guide is a good read for those in the family way.

Review: Stacy Farrar

Within the last decade LGBT parenting possibilities have expanded in previously unimaginable ways, establishing our families as a viable and visible presence and challenging more traditional definitions of family. We are looking at nothing short of a revolution in family-building.

Revolutions may make certain social experiences possible, or at least nameable, but they do not necessarily make them safe or easy. The decision to become a parent is rarely a simple one for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered people. For older people, there was simply no decision to be made: being gay had precluded being a parent. Or in other situations, being a parent precluded being gay. More than thirty years later, young people are coming out knowing that parenthood is possible for them because they see images of gay parents on television and in magazines. They are still left with many decisions about exactly how to become a parent and numerous fears about what their children, being raised on the slopes of a bell curve, will endure.

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