“The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA” by Gabriela Herman— A Look at the Children

Herman, Gabriela. “The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA”, The New Press, 2017.

A Look at the Children

Amos Lassen

Gabriela Herman brings us a gorgeous new book of photography that features more than fifty portraits of children brought up by gay parents in America. (This is the sixth in a groundbreaking series that looks at LGBTQ communities around the world from The New Press).

Many wonder how children are impacted by having gay parents so Herman goes right to the kids and asks them. Her own mother came out when she was in high school so she felt a real connection to the youngsters that she spoke with. In fact, Herman’s mother was married in one of Massachusetts’s first legal same-sex unions. Herman has been photographing and interviewing children and young adults in America with one or more parent who identifies as lesbian, gay, trans, or queer for over four years. She builds her study on images featured in a major article for the “New York Times Sunday Review” and “The Guardian” and worked with COLAGE, the only national organization focusing on children with LGBTQ parents. We immediately sense the vibrant energy and sensitivity to a wide range of experiences.

We see a wide diversity among the children. Some were adopted, some conceived by artificial insemination, many are children of divorce and some were raised in urban areas, others in the rural Midwest and all over the map. Both the parents and children balanced silence and solitude with a need to defend their families on the playground, at church, and at holiday gatherings.

The photographs are powerful and the texts are moving as we see the reality of gay families in America: who the kids are, how they think of their parents, what they look like. Herman gives us a true testament to diversity, inclusion, and integrity, pride and introspection.

This collection gives the children a voice and we are rewarded with a “narrative of a culture—our culture— created by a photographer who clearly knows our souls.”

For a long time many of the kids of LGBTQ parents have felt caught between two worlds, a little too queer for the straight community and at times a little too straight for the queer community. Here we see evidence that the kids are, in fact, their own community. The stories of origin stories are diverse yet the kids have all felt a stigma and share a radical perspective on what family and gender can be. “What we really see are the beautifulness of their diverse and human families.