Mombian by Dana Rudolph

Mombian offers a mix of parenting insights, book reviews, media analysis and political and legal commentary for and about LGBTQ parents and our children. It takes an LGBTQ-focused look at parenting topics and explores other aspects of the LGBTQ community with a parent's eye. Dana Rudolph is the the founder and publisher of Mombian, a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents. She's the lesbian mom of a middle-schooler and lives with her spouse of over two decades. For more information, visit www.mombian.com.


 

Halloween is almost here — which, for many of us, means trips to the store to purchase overpriced costumes or hours spent sewing and hot-glueing homemade versions, both for our kids and for ourselves.

As a child, there were two things I thought were unfathomable and absolutely morally wrong: nuclear war and Nazis. To see both in the news again as real threats to our country sickens and appalls me. But while nuclear war felt like a broad threat against all humanity, Nazism felt more personal. It was hate largely directed against a group — Jews — of which I was part. (It was only later in life that I added “queer” to that list as well.)

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.

This wasn’t the Pride Month I was looking forward to. I hoped we would be celebrating gains built on marriage equality, not battling to stop religious-exemption laws that could exclude us from parenting and limit homes for children who need them. I hoped we would be celebrating a growing understanding of transgender people, not trying to stop the same kind of bathroom bills for which North Carolina has been widely criticized. I hoped we wouldn’t still have to fight for the right of both same-sex parents to be on our children’s birth certificates.

 

Queer parents often wonder what their children will call them, but the Lotterys have it figured out. There’s MaxiMum (from Jamaica), CardaMom (of the Mohawk Nation) and their co-parents, PopCorn (from the Yukon) and PapaDum (after the tasty cracker of his native India, not because of a lack of intelligence). The two same-sex couples are co-parenting seven children and a menagerie of animals in Emma Donoghue’s funny and clever new middle-grade novel, “The Lotterys Plus One.”

An increasing number of states are risking harm to children in foster care by allowing discrimination against LGBT people and others who wish to foster or adopt them. On March 10, South Dakota enacted a law stating that no child-placement agency may be required to provide services that conflict with its “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction,” even if they are receiving public funds or tax benefits — a move widely seen as targeting LGBT prospective parents. Similar bills have advanced in Alabama and Georgia, and others are pending in Oklahoma and Texas. Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia already have such laws in place.

February, despite being the shortest month, is often a hard one. Where I live, any day might be a snow day, with my son home from school and the sidewalks needing to be shoveled. The usual routine of laundry and groceries and dinner doesn’t stop. In recent weeks, too, I have been distracted by the news stories of a government chipping away at the rights of LGBTQ people, immigrants and others. How not to be overwhelmed by it all? Here are some of the stories about LGBTQ families making February just a bit warmer.

For J. R. Ford, father of a 5-year-old transgender girl, appearing in the upcoming National Geographic documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey” with Katie Couric was “more than an obligation.” He and his wife Vanessa let Couric into their Washington, D.C., home, hoping that, as Vanessa explained, their family would be “relatable” to those who know little about transgender people — and that other families with transgender children would “know they’re not alone.”

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