The Story Behind Our New LGBTQ Family Story

by Sara Garrity, MSW

Tomorrow Twigtale is launching our new LGBTQ book – it's for LGBTQ parents who want to talk about the differences their children might be noticing as they compare themselves to more “traditional” families.  It is a wonderful book, a story that we felt strongly about including in our library, and one that our child development expert Wendy Denham spent a lot of time scripting.  Wendy talked to many parents in the LGBTQ community to make sure she was addressing questions that might come up, while, at the same time, remaining sensitive to the desires of the parents she talked to. 

“Many of the parents we talked to are tired of being showcased as “different.”  I wanted to highlight that ALL families are different.  Not just families with LGBTQ parents. “

You see, an LGBTQ family story is just a plain, old family story.

And we wanted to make sure our book was a reflection of that belief.

Erin O. White explains this sentiment in an essay for the New York Times Motherlode blog. She writes:

“It’s different for my straight friends. They talk freely with their children about marriage equality. They tear up and cheer and wave flags at our town’s annual Pride parade. For them marriage equality is about the advancement of justice and freedom, an advancement that does not alter their own inviolable right to marriage, their own children’s sense of family. It’s a broadening, a welcoming in. And I’m immensely grateful for it. I just don’t want my children to see themselves in need of welcome.”

However, we live in a culture that still conforms many of its holidays and traditions to reflect the majority. We have a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day. Most television shows, movies, and books depict families that include a mother and a father. Even if the Supreme Court rules to legalize same-sex marriage, LGBTQ families will still have to be wary of parental rights laws that differ from state to state. Parents in LGBTQ families need to make sure their children can see themselves in our cultural story. They have to find a way to explain to their children that families look different.

So, even though there was great internal debate about how to message this book, how not to point out the differences, and instead support the similarities - we decided that not having a specific LGBTQ title would be disregarding an important experience. We wrote a book that let parents explain their family story to their children in a way that didn’t set it apart from any other family story.  They are families not “in need of welcome.” These families are part of the fabric of this country; they are part of our collective story.

Sources

Gomillion MS., Sarah C. & Giuliano PhD., Traci A. "The Influence of Media Role Models on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity." Journal of Homosexuality., 25 Feb 2011. Web. 23 June 2015. 58:3, 330-354, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2011.546729  

Siegel Bernard, Tara., "Same-Sex Parents’ Rights May Be Unresolved After Justices’ Ruling." The New York Times., Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 14 June 2015. Web. 23 June 2015. 

White, Erin O., "‘But Aren’t You Already Married?’ The Supreme Court, Same-Sex Marriage, and Kids." The New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 18 June 2015. Web. 23 June 2015.