You’re in Good Company – An Introduction to Famous People with LGBTQ Parents

Ever felt like you were the only one with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parent(s)? Not only are there millions of other children, youth and adults who have LGBTQ parents, but some of them are celebrities! This list introduces just a few of the many famous people who have or had one or more LGBTQ parent. Adrian Hood Daughter of legendary lesbian folk singer Alix Dobkin. Adrian was born in New York City in 1970 when her mother was still married. And in 1972 her mother came out and her mother’s partner Liza Cowan moved in. Later in 1975 when Adrian was four and a half they moved to the country. They raised a child at a time when parenting was not popular within the lesbian and gay community. Alexander Aegus (King Alexander IV) As the son of Alexander the Great, Alexander met an early death at the age of thirteen. As a conse­quence of the time, Alexander Aegus and his mother were killed by Cassader in a statement of revenge and as a power shift. Alexander’s father was known to have a great love for his male lover Hephasteian, who after his death was shortly followed to his grave by Alexander the Great. Alexandra Elizabeth “Ally” Sheedy (Actor) The daughter of marketing executive John Sheedy and a lesbian literary agent Charlotte, Ally began making TV com­mercials and appearing on stage at age 15. She published a children’s book, She Was Nice to Mice. She has also been published in periodicals such as The New York Times. After high school, the New York-born Sheedy headed west to the University of California where, in addition to her studies, she also appeared in television films. At age 21, she began her feature-film career playing adoles­cent girls in films such as Bad Boys and War Games. She joined the notorious “Brat Pack” in 1985 after appearing in John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. Some of Ally’s other Rim Highlights include St. Elmo’s Fire, Short Circuit, Chantilly Lace and High Art. She is married to actor David Lansbury, stepson of actress Angela Lansbury, and they have a daughter, Rebecca, born in 1994. “I never thought to myself, I’m going to grow up and fall in love with a man or I’m going to fall in love with a woman because my mother is a lesbian.” Alison Bechdel (Comic artist) Alison Bechdel is best known for her long-running comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania and is the queer daughter of a gay father. She has published 10 books of Dykes To Watch Out For...

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Tips for Making GSA’s Inclusive for Youth with LGBTQ Parents

There is a long history of youth with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parents being involved with Gay Straight Alliances. In fact, the very first GSA club was started by a straight daughter of lesbian moms with her LGBT peers and teacher because she was sick of hearing homophobia comments in the hallways. She understood that anti-gay words, harassment and discrimination directly impacted her as someone with LGBTQ parents. Youth involved in COLAGE are still today actively involved in GSA clubs all over the country. Both straight-identified and LGBTQ youth who have one or more LGBTQ parents bring leadership, unique perspectives and intimate knowledge of the harmful effects of homophobia and transphobia to student clubs.  At the same time, GSAs do not always acknowledge or embrace the unique experiences of LGBTQ-parented students. Ruby from California shared, “I actually started my GSA as the daughter of lesbian moms. But I was one of the only people in it who had LGBTQ parents. COLAGErs {ie. people with one or more LGBTQ parents} didn’t feel like they had a place. The emphasis was on queer youth and straight allies and it wasn’t clear where COLAGErs would fit in.” Often youth with LGBTQ parents feel that they straddle a unique position within the community. Because they may have grown up immersed in gay culture and community and because they are impacted by homophobia and transphobia in very personal and unique ways, COLAGErs often report that the term “straight ally” doesn’t feel like it fits their roles and potential contributions to GSAs and other queer organizations. One COLAGE participant, Dakota, who identifies as straight, said, “I’m not an ally.” He continued, “I’ve been gay since I went to my first Pride parade with my moms when I was not even a year old!” Caroline, a student leader from a Massachusetts GSA who has lesbian moms, shared, “I wish students in GSAs would be more respectful of the fact that straight queerspawn can be as much a part of the queer community as LGBTQ students. It’s frustrating to me when, in group discussions, students with LGBT parents aren’t recognized as being a part of and in tune to the gay community.” How to make sure your GSA is inclusive of students with LGBTQ parents: Be wary about calling students with LGBTQ parents “allies.” Youth with LGBTQ parents often consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community. Some even identify as “culturally queer.” No matter their own sexual orientation or gender identity, they are personally impacted by homophobia and transphobia on political, cultural, legal and societal levels. Many youth with LGBTQ parents have been involved with...

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Not So Gay: Differences between Kids of Trans Parents and Kids with LGBQ Parents

People with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parents share many similarities and differences. Our families are unique, but we find a certain commonality in our experiences. People with transgender parents or, Kids of Trans (KOT), have a lot in common with people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or queer parents. There are, however, some specific aspects of having a transgender parent that other kids of LGBQ parents do not experience. It is important for us to acknowledge the distinct experiences of certain segments of our community in order to better understand each other and celebrate the diversity of all queerspawn. Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer identity is based on sexual orientation, or the gender that someone is attracted to.  Everyone has a sexual orientation. Transgender identity is based on gender identity, or one’s own understanding of being a man, a woman, or another gender. Everyone has a gender identity. A person’s gender identity is almost always visible (even if their gender identity is sometimes or often misinterpreted by others), but a person’s sexual orientation is not always visible.  Whereas sexual orientation affects a parent’s relationship to potential partners, a parent’s gender identity impacts how they relate to the world at large. A parent’s sexual orientation and a parent’s gender identity thus impact their children in different ways.  (For example, if I am in public with my gay parent, people may not know that they are gay. Whereas if I am in public with my transgender parent, people may suspect that their gender expression differs from their assigned sex.) Societal Awareness and Acceptance. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer people have made incredible progress over the last few decades in increasing visibility and acceptance in society. Transgender people have also made progress, but have been less visible and less accepted than gay and lesbian people. While transgender people are becoming more visible, the fact that they have children is less widely known. In contrast, most Americans are aware that gay and lesbian people may have children. Visibility for our families can also be challenging within the LGBTQ community – for example, a family of two women and two children is easily read as a queer family whereas transgender parents might be read as (or identify as) straight, sometimes complicating our access to LGBTQ community. Legal Protections. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer people have more legal protections than transgender people. Many states have anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws regarding sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression. Depending on the state, transgender parents can also face immense challenges in court custody cases, leaving children...

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2nd Gen Resource List- For LGBTQ Folks with LGBTQ Parents

2nd Gen Resource List For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning folks with LGBTQ parents What is 2nd Gen? 2nd Generation is a term coined to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning folks of all ages who have LGBTQ parents. This resource lists includes both academic and news articles, books, documentaries, and cultural references of 2nd Gen people and issues. For more information about 2nd Gen email COLAGE at robin@colage.org BOOKS Bernstein, Robin and Silberman, Seth, eds. Generation Q: Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals Born Around 1969’s Stonewall Riots Tell Their Stories of Growing Up in the Age of Information. Alyson Publications, 2000. ISBN: 155583356X Forney, Ellen. Monkey Food: The Complete “I Was Seven in ’75” Collection, Fantagraphics Books 1999. This book is a collection of comics by a 2nd Generation artist and illustrator. Gluckman, Ryn. “Relearning the Mother Tongue: Notes from a Second Generation Queer.” In Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology. Amy Sonnie, ed. Alyson Publications, 2000. Howey, Noelle; Samuels, Ellen, Eds. Out of the Ordinary: Essays on Growing Up With Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Parents. St. Martin’s Press 2000. A few of these essays are written by 2nd Generation adults. Leavitt, David. The Lost Language of Cranes. Mariner Books; Reprint edition, 1997. Maupin, Armistead. Tales of the City. This six-book serial about a variety of characters in San Francisco includes stories that are comical, poignant, suspenseful, and surprising. Includes LGBT characters, some of whom have kids, and some of whom are 2nd Gen. Nicolson, Nigel. Portrait of a Marriage.  University of Chicago Press, 1998 (reprint ed.) Gay author Nicholson writes of the marriage of his famous parents, the author Vita Sackville-West (who was Virginia Woolf’s longtime lover) and author, politician and diarist, Harold Nicolson, also a bisexual. This telling of his parent’s marriage shows a complex and truly original partnership. Rafkin, Louise. Different Mothers: Sons and Daughters of Lesbians Talk About Their Lives. Cleis Press 1990. This book is a collection of reflections and stories written by young and adult children with lesbian mothers. Some of them are 2nd Gen. MOVIES The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love. While this movie focuses on the story of two youth kindling a relationship, the main character is a young dyke that lives with her lesbian aunts who act as her guardians. Like Mother, Like Son. 1994. Documentary.  Annette Kennerley’s five-year-old son talks about dressing up in women’s clothing in this eye-opening film from the United Kingdom. The Lost Language of Cranes. 1992. Distributed by BBC Television. When a young gay may comes out of the closet. His friends support him, but when he...

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2nd Gen FAQ- For LGBTQ Folks with LGBTQ Parents

2nd Gen FAQ For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning folks with LGBT Q parents     What is this Second Generation thing anyway? Second Generation is a term that we use to describe queer, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, gay, and questioning children who also have gay parents. Second Genners come from a diverse range of family make-ups, gender identities, and cultures. Some of us came out after our parents were out to us and some of us came out before. We all have different experiences. How did Second Generation start? As long as there have been children with gay parents, there have been Second Genners (in fact, legend has it, that there are 3rd, 4th, and 5th Genners running around also.) In 1992 Dan Cherubin, a gay man with a lesbian mom, started the first official organization for Second Generation COLAGErs called “Second Generation.” In 1998, Dan was featured in a New York Times article on Second Generation children. Shortly after that COLAGE and Second Generation partnered up. COLAGE featured articles by Dan Cherubin and Second Gen COLAGEr Kate Ranson-Walsh in Just For Us, the COLAGE publication. This program is no longer an active part of COLAGE but as long as there are 2nd Gen-ners, there will be space at COLAGE for their identities to be explored and cherished. Did having gay parents make you gay? The growing body of research on children with LGBTQ parents shows that kids with gay parents are no more likely to be gay than kids with straight parents. In other words, while the causes of sexual orientation are still up for debate, having a gay parent does not make you gay. Our #1 favorite response to this question is, “Why does it matter?” or “So what if they did?” Did you make your parents gay? We would like to think so….. Just kidding! Some of us actually come out before our parents do. Sometimes that might influence their decision to come out. But the research shows that parents’ sexual orientation does not determine their children’s sexual orientation, and we think its probably true the other way around too. Was coming out easier for you because you had gay parents? Often youth raised in LGBTQ families express that they feel the experience has allowed them to have a more open mind, be more respectful of all differences, and to be aware of the fluidity of sexuality and gender. In this way, many COLAGErs find that realizing that they were gay was easier because of their parents. Once the subject turns to coming out, again…we all have different family experiences. Some of us have...

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15-Year-Old’s Electrifying, Award-Winning Story About His Lesbian Moms

Story and video at queerty.com.

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