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Any analytical work is fraught with the
curse of too many tables, too complex charts and more data than we need for
extraction. The authors commendably use numbers sparingly, only when necessary
and with striking clarity, choosing instead to pepper the text with responses
to free-form questions. What is painfully obvious is the volume of effort each
gay or lesbian parent has sliced through to achieve his or her enlightened
goals. Substantially more energy is invested in maintaining an egalitarian,
tolerant, and equitable growing environment when compared to conventional
two-parent heterosexual childrearing. This comprehensive work addresses such
diverse facets as choosing your child's pediatrician, opening up to you kid's
school teacher, interpartner relationships, commitment to the child,
disciplinary techniques, aspirations of gay and lesbian parents, the advantages
(sic) of growing up with gay or lesbian parents, and valid concerns about other
persons in your child's life. These were uncharted waters but a decade ago.
The Gay Baby
Boom: The Psychology of Gay Parenthood is two books in one. In the first "book",
Johnson and O'Connor review different studies that have analyzed various issues
pertaining to children within gay and lesbian family units, including but not
limited to addressing intelligence quotients, coping behaviors, moral structure
and gender-role development woven seamlessly into this lattice. Some of the
research dates back into the seventies but current thinking is also included.
For the second "book", the authors exhaustively and extensively
discuss their own gargantuan research project, The National Study of Gay and
Lesbian Parents. This study involved the largest known sample of data
collection from 415 parents representing 256 families from across the nation,
each parenting at least one child under the age of eighteen years at the time of
their participation. Besides the inherent challenges (such as the obvious
difficulty in locating gay and lesbian parents, more available studies focusing
on lesbian mothers, and confounding methodologies), local, regional and
nationwide differences in perspective, qualitative and quantitative analyses,
and extrapolation to the general model all contributed in making the result
Herculean rather than Sisyphean.
A minor statistical error over-inflates
the true estimate of children living in gay and lesbian households in the
United States. The authors' contention that there is no evidence that such
children are more likely to be gay or lesbian than are children of heterosexual
parents is founded upon literature published more than twenty years ago and has
since been effervescently challenged. A keen editor would have deleted such
obsolescence. Minimal criticisms notwithstanding, the work serves as an
effortless how-to book that would be recommended hand-me-down reading for
prospective same-sex parents from those who've fingered the pages within. When
all is read and done, we should pause to recognize that no book will truly help
us become better parents; the literature only helps validate that which is
intuitive and innately appropriate to the challenging art of child craft.
Barret RL, Robinson BE: Gay Fathers: Encouraging the Hearts
of Gay Dads and Their Families. 224 pp; Jossey-Bass. ISBN 078790750 July 2000
Brill SA: The Queer Parent's Primer: A Lesbian and Gay
Families' Guide to navigating Through a Straight World. 240 pp. New Harbinger
Publications. ISBN 1572242264. March 2001
Galluccio M, Galluccio J, Groff D: An American Family.288
pp. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312288875. March 2002
McGarry K: Fatherhood for Gay Men: An Emotional and
Practical Guide to Becoming a Gay Dad. 108 pp. Haworth Press. ISBN 1560233877.
Morgen KB: Getting Simon: Two Gay Doctors' Journey to
Fatherhood. Bramble Co. ISBN 1883647045. September 1995
Strah D, Margolis S, Timken K, Cozza KL: Gay Dads: A
Celebration of Fatherhood. 270 pp. J. P Tarcher. ISBN 1585422312. May 2003.
2004 Sundeep Nayak
Dr. Nayak is an Assistant Professor of
Clinical Radiology in the University Of California School Of San Francisco and
his interests include mental health, medical ethics, and gender studies. A
voracious reader and intrepid epicure, he enjoys his keyboards too much. He
actually believes that the children are our future.
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