Anytime you decide to have a child, it is a major decision that impacts every aspect of your life and that of your children. For gay parents, this is not just an act of love but it is also a political decision in a fast-changing world. You are part of the gay community, certainly, but you also will become a member of the PTA, the school shuttles and will often find yourself at bake sales, dance recitals and after-school sports with soccer moms. So, where do you turn to advice for these every day moments for which there is NO etiquette guide and very few neighborhood resources? Authors Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren have all the answers in their book The Definitive Parenting Handbook for Gay Dads, everything a gay man needs to know about the art of parenting.
The Definitive Parenting Handbook for Gay Dads focuses on the lives of gay men with children, a fast-growing demographic. This guide covers everything from deciding to start a family, having kids, coming out as a gay dad, getting married with kids present, being older dads, living in a transracial family, the merry-go-round of play dates and birthday parties, the truths and lies of children’s books, negotiating the tricky territory of telling kids where they came from, and much, much more. Chapters include The Gay Birds, the Egg Donor and the Surrogate Bees in which authors Brian and Ferd take readers on a journey through the many avenues gay dads travel on the way to becoming parents.
Drawing from their own experiences as two gay dads and also from readers’ questions and comments to their highly popular blog, Ferd and Brian go over all the choices and options for gay parenting whether it’s bringing in a surrogate or adopting through the foster care system, as well as other creative solutions. Although these are serious and complicated topics, they approach them with their trademark sense of fun and personality along with helpful, practical recommendations. As leading voices in gay parenting, Brian and Ferd don’t shy away from the tough stuff and share what it means “to have to come out constantly at their kids’ school, at the doctor’s office and when they meet other parents.” A crucial topic is the perspective of the children and how this affects kids, who are also forced to “come out” over and over again when introducing their parents. Even the terrain of naming is discussed fully and with great sensitivity. What’s in a name? Much more than you might think, according to Brian and Ferd who speak to the many options available when it comes to last names for the kids. Should they take the surname of one parent or the other? Or, should the family create a unique surname for everyone?
In their warm, witty and oh-so-smart manner, the authors discuss leaving certain aspects of the gay lifestyle behind and what has to change when you make the big decision to be a dad. For example, fancy, high-end furnishings and bespoke suits don’t exactly go with rambunctious, messy toddlers. As Brian puts it, “Gay fathers share all the universal truths and challenges of parenting that are experienced by dads and parents everywhere, but we also face many that are uniquely our own, like dealing with homophobia, guiding daughters through puberty, and coming out. We have also traveled many different paths in order to become dads.” Drawing from the experiences and thoughts of other gay dads and gay dads-to-be and even gay grandpas, this is the definitive handbook on the top of LGBTQ fatherhood.