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Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is Paperback – April 5, 2005

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Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is + How It Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book by Kids for Kids of All Ages (Haworth Gay and Lesbian Studies) + Let's Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060527587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060527587
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the children's book classic Heather Has Two Mommies, Leslea Newman offered kids a chance to read about nontraditional families. Now Garner, who created the site FamiliesLikeMine.com, attempts to do the same for teens, young adults and their families by interweaving her experiences growing up with a gay father and straight mother with those of other children who were raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents. She intends "to advocate for our families to be just that: families." Although there is no exact figure for the number of children who have grown up in LGBT families over the past two decades (estimates vary from one million to 16 million), the issues Garner raises about the messages that we pass on to our children "on what a "well-adjusted" child is; on the risks and advantages of coming out (for both parents and children); and on the effects of a "homo-hostile" world "affect increasing numbers of children whose parents are straight or queer. Despite Garner's decision to interview only children in their 20s and 30s, their concerns about finding a way to name family members (e.g., should a lesbian mother's long-term partner be called a "step-mom"? Are that step-mom's children stepsisters or -brothers?) and learning how to maintain nontraditional families in the wake of a parent's death or the breakup of a relationship between parent and partner, will reverberate for young people confronting similar difficulties. Nor does Garner flinch from addressing the complex issues surrounding what it means for children raised in LGBT families, herself included, to be, in the words of advocate Stefan Lynch, "culturally queer, erotically straight."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Researchers commonly cite the estimation that one to three million American children are being raised by lesbian, gay male, bisexual, and transexual (LGBT) parents. Family rights activist Garner created a Web site for LGBT parents who are seeking guidance and resources, and she lectures nationwide on LGBT family issues. A straight daughter from a gay family, she chronicles and articulates the experiences of other adult children like herself, whom she has come to know during her eight years of community organizing, activism, and from almost 300 responses by potential participants in her research. Compellingly written, fortunately including definitions as needed (e.g., of colager as derivative from the organizational acronym COLAGE [Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere]) and resource-referral guidance for LGBT families, this should quickly become a mainstay resource for many family service agencies and public libraries serving LGBT patrons. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I highly, highly recommend you buy this book and read it from cover to cover.
I think this book is as important for LBGT parents to read as it is for the children of LGBT parents.
If these were the only topics covered this book would still be a valuable resource.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By S on February 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm a lesbian mom raising a son, so I was excited to find a book that claimed to be about families like ours. Unfortunately, I found the book quite a disappointment. The author does explain in the prologue that, since she was interviewing people in their 20s and 30s, most of them predate the "gayby" boom and are actually children of heterosexual marriages, with a parent later coming out as gay or lesbian. This would explain the big emphasis in her book on topics like how to come out to your kids, custody issues and contention between the gay parent and the straight one, break-ups in general, problems amongst extended family with new partners, etc. Most of it would be irrelevant to gay or lesbian people that come out before conceiving or adopting children, whether as couples or on their own.

Also, while the book was published in 2004, the author spent 8 years researching it, and most of the folks interviewed were in their 20s or 30s. So most of the experiences these grown children talk about it -- issues at school, with friends, with parents dying of AIDS, and society in general -- would have happened from the 1970s to the mid-1990s. Where I am, in Massachusetts in 2008, the landscape looks pretty different. Kids may still make nasty cracks at school, but the teachers are very unlikely to. Kids don't assume that if your mom is a lesbian, you might give them AIDS. When I introduce my partner at church, people don't think we're in business together. And while the whole chapter on parents dying of AIDS is probably invaluable to the grown children who had to deal with that, I don't know any gay or lesbian families with young children who struggle with that now.

It was mildly interesting from a general historical/sociological point-of-view.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lori L. Lake on May 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After eight years of experience with community organizing and activism on behalf of LGBT families, Abigail Garner has written a book about kids with gay parents. FAMILIES LIKE MINE is full of heart and hope-but even more importantly, it's full of truths. Because of her own experience as a child with two gay dads, she speaks from a well-qualified vantage point. She says she is "culturally queer" but heterosexual, and with that perspective, she comes at the topic from a unique and fascinating angle.
Using extensive research and interviews with some five dozen youths, Garner discusses many topics including: adult parents coming out in the family; family changes, particularly divorces and same-sex break-ups; how kids with LGBT parents handle school; the concept of "straight family privilege"; the impact of HIV/AIDS; straight kids in queer culture; and kids of LGBT parents who don't grow up to be straight. She doesn't shy away from tough questions, and she doesn't believe that kids with gay parents grow up exactly like everyone else. But it is clear that she is championing a little-heard truth: that kids with LGBT parents don't reach adulthood any more wounded or messed up than other kids from straight homes. In fact, many such children grow up more open-minded and tolerant than their peers, though they often have to face a great deal more antagonism and prejudice than is fair.
Weaving into the book her own fears and experiences, Garner is able to clearly delineate many of the problems that members of a non-traditional family encounter. For instance, once when her biological father was out of town, Garner's other dad, Russ, fell ill and was rushed to the ER.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Straw on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am the child of two wonderful Lesbian moms, and I was thrilled to find this book! Finally I can read about people who grew-up like I did and went through similar experiences. This book is informative and real. I love the fact that she paints the picture of the gay family as being just like everyone, sometimes happy, sometimes disfunctional, but never inherently bad for being queer. The sections where she touches on the pressure that children of gay families have to live with really hit home with me. Between living with homophobia from childhood, keeping our families in the closet, calling our step-parents "roomates", and fearing for our own safety and our rights as a family unit, this book covers all the bases. Another topic that I had always felt but never had the words to describe she goes over in the last two chapters of the book. Growing up in the queer community and then being rejected by that community when we grow older and happen to be in a straight relationship is hard, and I have never ever heard anyone else talk about it before. Not to mention the guilt we feel if we ourselves happen to be queer as well (because then the world will think our parents *made* us queer, oh no!). Overall, an excellent informative read for anyone. I love it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matt Case on July 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As expecting adoptive parents, we are thankful to have such a valuable, thoughtful, thorough resource as this book. Of those we have read, it - by far - gives us the best and most realistic ideas of what we can expect as fathers - especially from the perspective of the children who have grown up with gay and lesbian parents. Thank you Abigail for this selfless work of helping making it easier for children and parents everywhere.

For a comprehensive look at the GLBT family, this is a superb resource!!!
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