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.


I love LGBTQ History Month almost more than I love Pride Month. Going to grad school for history will do that. Keeping in mind the truism, “History is written by the victors” and philosopher George Santayana’s observation, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” I find there’s something about looking at our queer past that feels empowering and vital.

I’ve been thinking about religion a lot lately. As a Jew, I’m celebrating the High Holidays this week, and as the Jewish mom of a 12-year-old boy, I’m looking forward to the start of a year that includes his bar mitzvah preparation. As a lesbian mom, however, I look at what is being done in the name of religion to thwart LGBTQ equality, and I shudder.

Back-to-school time always raises mixed feelings in me. On the one hand, years of being in academia make me see September, not January, as the start of the year (or maybe it’s just a Jewish thing). On the other, the lazy days of summer are giving way to school time’s hectic rush, with my son’s after-school activities, homework reminders and the various other events and paperwork that public education brings in its wake.

It seemed fitting that the day after marriage equality became law across the United States, my family and I went on vacation to Maine and Canada. As we bumped down the unpaved road to our first campground, I reflected that when we’d last been in Maine, in 2009, the state was in the middle of a referendum battle over marriage equality. Equality lost, and the future looked bleak, as the blow came only half-a-year after a similar loss in California. It wasn’t until a second Maine referendum in 2012 that marriage equality came at last to the Pine Tree State. A bumpy road indeed.

Pride Month is the highlight of the LGBTQ calendar, so here are a few children’s books to help our kids better understand what all the fuss is about. I’ve chosen works specifically about Pride, as well as ones that explore other aspects of the LGBTQ rights movement and its history.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming children and their families, friends and peers have something to celebrate: a new children’s CD about gender diversity with great music and exuberant lines like “You don’t have to be just a boy or a girl/You can be a beautiful blended swirl.”

I’ve been celebrating the spring holidays with my interfaith family and reflecting that Passover and Easter this year came in the shadow of new, spiteful “religious-freedom” laws in Indiana, Arkansas and potentially other states. These laws, widely seen as targeting the LGBTQ community, would allow people to cite their religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against others. I have to remind myself, however, that we shouldn’t set religion and LGBTQ equality as necessarily opposing forces.

A 25th-anniversary edition of Lesléa Newman’s children’s book “Heather Has Two Mommies,” with brand-new illustrations and updated text, has given the classic new life for families today. And Newman is amazed that some of the children who read “Heather” when it first came out could now be reading it to their own children, she told me in an interview.

A news story has been circulating about a Michigan pediatrician who, “after much prayer,” refused to care for a newborn because the baby had two moms. It’s a story of personal discrimination and ignorance — but also indicates systemic problems.

Sometimes, a book comes along at just the right time. My mother was diagnosed with lung, bone and brain cancer Dec. 23, just days after I received a copy of Lesléa Newman’s new book of poetry about her own journey through her mother’s illness and death from cancer. Newman, best known for her classic children’s book “Heather Has Two Mommies,” takes us from diagnosis to yahrzeit — the Jewish memorial a year after death — with an unflinching yet compassionate eye.

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