Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, December 19, 2003, Page 41, Image 41

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    9
dec ember 19. 2003 • Ju s t o u t 41
BOOKS
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(S)he's having a baby
T he L esbian P arenting B u > k : A G uide to
C reating F amilies and R aising C hildren
try D. Merilee Clurus, Ph.D ., and G. Dorsey
Green, Ph.D.; Seal Press, 2003; $18.95 softcover
helpful resource guide, The Lesbian Par-
enring Book offers insight into things you
may not have considered. For example, it
includes information about homophobia in
childbirth classes and how to chixwe a lesbian-
friendly physician.
Yet, like any book
that attempts to take
on such a broad
subject matter, it’s
hit and miss.
A total of 17 chap­
ters cover everything
from deciding whether
to have children to
the role of lesbian
grandmother. The
bxxik is divided into
two sections: Tide first addresses issues common
to lesbian families, such as coming out and the
role of partners and attempts to tackle big
issues like racism and homophobia; the second
offers information about different stages of
child development, from prenatal and birth to
dealing with adult kids.
The best thing about The Lesbian Parenting
Book is the inclusion of vignettes from a diverse
group of lesbian parents. Reading about other
people’s experiences shows that there really is
no one way to he a parent and that moms need
to figure out what works best for their families.
The authors should have stuck with the
unique aspects of being a lesbian parent— it is
here that they shine. Whereas 1 appreciate
A
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Child-rearing advice for all-girl and all-boy parents
their effort to include information on dealing
with racism, the chapter simply skims the sur­
face of this deep and complex topic. The chap­
ter on coming out to your children, however, is
highly informative and would he helpful to
people with kids of any age.
The btxik is well-organized so finding a
chapter on your particular interest is easy, and
an excellent resource guide and bibliography
are included.
— Kathy Beige
tion of positive, inspiring portraits of gay men
who have chosen to he dads. This is not a how­
to Kx>k, nor is it a parenting aid for the gay dad.
This is story after story of what drove gay men,
both alone and with partners, to go through the
sometimes grueling prixress of becoming a parent.
The authors are unabashed in their desire
to tell only the stories of successes, since there
are enough naysayers in the world and few
inspirational sources. “This is a door,’’ says one
G ay D ads : A C elebration of F atherhood
by David Strah et a l.; J.P. Tarcher, 2003; $ 2 3 .95
hardcover
he instinct to father children is completely
unrelated to one’s sexual instincts. There
are heterosexual men who haven’t the
slightest need or desire to he a parent. And
there are men who
wouldn’t dream of
putting their penises
into a vagina hut who
have an overwhelming
biological urge to he a
father. Parenting, in the
end, may be a much
deeper and more com­
plex drive than we ever
thought it was.
This seems to he one of the messages of Gay
Dads: A Celebration o f Fatherhixxl, a new collec­
T
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Qay D ads includes painfully cute photos of gay
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father, “that as a gay man 1 had closed many
years before; having it open was a miracle.”
But not always an easy miracle. These
stories have recurring themes: T he process of
becoming a parent often takes a lot of time
and requires hours of research and extraordi­
nary reserves of determination. T he gcxxl
news is G ay Dads also points to the uniquely
bountiful, life-affirming rewards and joys
that parenting can bring.
There are stories of multiracial adoption,
of surrogate parenting, of single parenting, of
international adoption— stories of men who
lied to get a child, men who fought the sys­
tem and won, men who got a child only
after the hardest, roughest roads.
Any dumb
straight guy has
the plumbing to
birth a child.
Gay Dads is
about those men
whose drive to
be committed,
loving fathers
leads them to
extraordinary
measures and, in
the end, glorious
successes. Any
gay man inter­
ested in parent­
ing should read
this book first—
and maybe again
and again and
again.
— Glenn Scofield
Williams jm
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