For many gay men, starting families has become preferable to the bar/party culture of the past. Many gay couples are moving from cities into the suburbs, where they’re pursuing the American dream of a home with children. Author Eric Rosswood is one of those such men. He and his husband Mat live in an East Coast suburb with their son, where they carry out a fairly traditional life.
Rosswood is the author of two books. The first, “Journey to Same Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples,” was published in February 2016. His second, “The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads: Everything You Need to Know About LGBTQ Parenting But Are (Mostly) Afraid To Ask” is due out Oct. 24. Both books answer all the burning questions faced by gay couples as they start their families in our post-marriage-equality world.
Rosswood writes from firsthand experience. He and Mat met at a salsa class in 2007. Married at Disneyland in 2011, they now have a 4-year-old son, Connor. Rosswood spoke to PGN about what inspired him to write about the topic of gay parenting.
“When we first started talking about starting a family, we didn’t know if we wanted to do adoption, foster care or surrogacy,” he said. “We tried researching online, but it was difficult to find a resource that compared all of the possibilities, and what we did find was mostly from the perspective of agencies or professionals. I wanted to know more from the perspective of other LGBT parents who went through the journey themselves. Since I couldn’t find it, I wrote it myself. I collected stories from numerous other same-sex parents and had them write about what went well, what went bad and what they wish they would have known before they started.”
It seemed that most questions were answered in “Journey to Same Sex Parenthood,” but there were more stories to tell.
“After we had our son, I realized that gay dads had to deal with so many issues on a day-to-day basis that straight parents don’t,” Rosswood explained. “I wrote ‘The Ultimate Guide For Gay Dads’ to cover critical information specifically relevant to gay parents such as: What legal steps do gay dads need to take in order to protect their families? How can you find LGBT-friendly pediatricians or schools? What is the best way to answer awkward and prying questions about your family from strangers?”
These are but some of the questions Rosswood addresses in his second book. The author emphasized that his books are available for all who need them, but they are not meant to suggest that all LGBT people should opt for suburban family lives.
“I think that’s a personal question and each person should do what makes them happy,” he said. “For me, nothing makes me happier than being with my family.”
Rosswood also pointed out that, though written from his own perspective as a gay man, there’s information in his books, especially in his first book, to benefit other LGBT-identified parents.
“The first parenting book I wrote will help any same-sex couple looking to start a family regardless of what gender they are,” he said. “While there is definitely some overlap with what gay and lesbian parents experience, there are also a lot of differences too. ‘The Ultimate Guide for Gay Dads’ covers [topics that] can be useful to all same-sex parents, but there are a lot of things specific to gay dads too. For example, how do gay men support a daughter going through puberty? Also, gay men get asked very different questions from strangers than lesbian parents.”
These books are especially needed, Rosswood said, now that Trump and the virulently antigay GOP are in charge of the country.
He pointed to a New York Times piece that said a lot about how much support same-sex parents can get from the current administration: “Mr. Trump’s original plan for six weeks of maternity leave, released during the campaign when he was struggling to gain support among women, excluded fathers, adoptive parents and gay couples. The new plan, which also offers six weeks of paid leave, covers adoptive parents and fathers. Officials did not immediately say whether it would include gay or lesbian couples.” n
“The Ultimate Guide For Gay Dads and Journey to Same Sex Parenthood” can now be pre-ordered on Amazon. For more information on Eric Rosswood, visit https://www.ericrosswood.com.