How it Feels to Have
a Gay or Lesbian Parent

A Book by Kids for Kids of All Ages

Judith E. Snow, MA

Judith E. Snow, MA
About the Author
Judith Snow, MA is a psychotherapist in private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Comments from the Author
1. Is this book a research project? What is the purpose of the book?
No, it is not research. I wanted a compilation of real-life stories told by the sons and daughters of lesbian and gay parents, so that other kids could read them and hopefully identify with. Stories told by others can be a great way to identify and normalize feelings. I also wanted to give the sons and daughters of lesbians and gays a voice. I tried to find a book like this for two gay, divorced, dads who asked me for help with their children. I thought that offering a book like this to their children would be very helpful. I was surprised that there was not already a book like this, so I realized that I would have to put one together.

2. What was the greatest common issue that arose among children with a lesbian or gay parent?
Well, it's NOT the parent's sexual orientation; it's what they have to endure because of it - bigotry, harassment, and homophobia. Middle school was identified as the hardest time. The kids reported that other kids frequently use the word "gay" in a derogatory sense. In general, gays were described quite negatively by their classmates. An environment like that only bolsters the necessity of "not coming out' about the lesbian or gay parent.

3. How does divorce impact the lives of children?
Divorce impacts children because it divides the family unit. Children simply don't want their parents to break up, and it's worse when their parents' divorce involves a high degree of conflict. The legal process is adversarial to begin with. It's a terrible experience for children when one parent turns against the other and disparages him or her, and lesbian/gay sexual orientation is often used as "ammunition" against that parent.

4. Do you think a parent's sexual orientation affects child custody?
Definitely. There are documented cases across the country, though state laws and Judges vary from state to state.

5. Why did you choose to compile stories rather than use facts and statistics to speak about gay parents?
Research has and continues to be conducted. I wanted to create something for the sons and daughters of lesbians and gays to connect with, as well as giving them a real voice -- let's hear how it is from them. Stories can be powerful as well as fun and interesting to read. They can also be a useful clinical tool in working with children. I used sixteen interview questions designed to elicit the actual thoughts and feelings of children with lesbian and gay parents. I recorded their answers as close to verbatim as I possibly could. I also had them read my written version to ensure the accuracy of the content. Every time I concluded an interview, my conviction grew stronger about the importance of their stories and how much they needed and deserved to be heard.

6. You include stories from a child as young as seven to a woman in her early thirties. Why did you choose to include such a broad range of ages?
I wanted to include the broad range of perspectives from children in different stages along the developmental path. I also wanted stories from varied age groups so that more children could read them.

7. Your book contains many references to religion. How do you think that impacts the lives of children with gay and lesbian parents?
Based on the responses I obtained from the children I interviewed, it is an enormous issue if a religion views homosexuality as a sin and a gateway to hell. I think that most anyone in this position would feel quite conflicted with the idea that their good and loving parent is a sinner and will go to hell. How do you reconcile that?

8. What universal themes does your book deal with?
The importance of honoring children's natural love and affection they feel for their parents. Sadly, other themes involved, homophobia, discrimination, harassment, and alienation. It's these hurtful wrongs that children of lesbians and gays have to endure, and all because of an intolerant society.
© 2004-2020 Judith E. Snow