Over the last year or so, my partner and I have been scouring the internet to find everything we can about queer parenting, and I won’t lie — it isn’t exactly straightforward. It can be immensely frustrating to do so much digging to find basic information and stories about families like ours, and discover that, comparatively speaking, there is still so little out there.
Yes, it goes without saying that we are beyond lucky to live in a time in which there are incredible resources available to queer parents and those looking to explore family building, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Having to sift through the various technicalities can be demoralizing and depleting, especially when juxtaposed with the ease with which so many of my straight friends seem to get pregnant. At times, it can be hard to not feel embittered. There is just so much more to take into account, and the various processes can be exhausting.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart, especially with the compounded difficulties that have arisen during the pandemic. Having a support system is of the utmost importance in general, but it is especially vital for queer parents, as there are myriad unique issues that can arise during family building. Whether you’re only just starting to think about family planning or are in the thick of parenting, there are resources like podcasts, books and more available to help LBGTQ+ families feel supported.
Jesse Kahn, a psychotherapist, sex therapist and director of The Gender and Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City, talked us through some of the challenges that queer couples may face on their parenting journeys. “Something as simple as having all parents’ names on the birth certificate — which is often a given for straight parents — isn’t necessarily guaranteed for queer parents,” they said.
Other potential issues Kahn noted include a lack of access to healthcare and paid parental leave policies that often leave LGBTQ+ parents out. Often, insurance companies use exclusionary language that doesn’t take queer couples into consideration. As a result, queer people often do not have the same fertility coverage options as straight couples.
As if that weren’t enough, it can be more complicated for queer parents to find social support and safe spaces, including parenting and birthing classes. This makes it of vital importance that queer people share their knowledge. Kahn, who uses they/them pronouns, told HuffPost that “a great way queer parents can support each other is by sharing their experiences as well as recommendations and resources for knowledgeable LGBTQ+ affirming providers and organizations.”
The books and podcasts that I have turned to for help all speak with breathtaking honesty about the queer parenting journey ― the necessary legalities and processes, the heartache and, most importantly, the joy. Keep reading for my list of ultimate go-to queer parenting books and podcasts, and be sure to bookmark them so you’re ready to go when it’s your turn.
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If These Ovaries Could Talk — Lesbian hosts Jamie and Robin discuss the family-building process and non-traditional families with humor and candor to normalize and celebrate the queer parenting experience.
Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast — Yan and Alex, a married couple with twins, discuss parenting, relationships and more. Each week, they speak to guests and tackle issues that arise in parenting in general and gay parenting in particular.
The Gayest Show On Birth — Hosts Kate and Karyne take us on their journey through reciprocal IVF using Karyne’s eggs, donor sperm and Kate’s uterus.
The Longest Shortest Time — While technically not queer-specific, this podcast deals with all kinds of parenting and family-building stories. There is a series specifically for queer parenting and another on single women who are sperm shopping (and much more) that I found to be of interest.
Outspoken Voices: A Podcast For LGBTQ+ Stories — This podcast was created by Family Equality and has new episodes every month with guests that address important topics for queer families and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are thinking about starting a family.
Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance — Comedy duo and married couple Rose and Rosie take listeners on their journey to becoming parents while also speaking to friends and peers who have already navigated the experience. Often it is very lighthearted, and during my darker moments, I will admit I found it flippant. But their candor regarding the difficulties they faced and a compelling interview with a sperm donor won me back in the end.
Some Families — Hosts Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley are dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ families via funny and emotional stories from diverse families. They explore all routes to queer parenthood, including adoption, IUI and IVF donor insemination, surrogacy and co-parenting. As if that weren’t enough, they also dive into topics like transitioning gender as a parent, growing up with queer parents, fostering, raising disabled children and general parenting highs and lows. It’s a truly wonderful resource.