Like most parents, I'm trying my best to raise kind, loving, caring children. And every single part of me is used to reach that goal, including my education, my professional training, my religious ethics, my babysitting experience, and my queerness. Being a LGBTQ+ parent means being surrounded by a rich lineage of queer predecessors who I look to as role models and inspirations. It means I have a sense of pride about who I am, and that self-love absolutely shapes the way I parent my kids.
Parents from any culture, race, identity, or background can be excellent, amazing, loving parents. But marginalized groups are often unfairly criticized and imagined to be bad parents. Black parents are unfairly judged by institutions like the foster care system. Laws in many states allow adoption agencies to turn away LGBTQ+ people. For generations, Indigenous children were stolen from their parents under the false justification that boarding school would be a "better" experience for the children. And, today, immigrant children are being taken from their parents at the border under the guise of "child safety."
Every parent brings their culture and background, with all of its unique advantages, to their parenting. The queerness I know celebrates beauty and laughter and creativity, and helps me enjoy life even in the face of struggle (which sometimes feels like the essence of parenting). The queerness I live in values all people, in all body sizes and shapes, with or without disabilities — something I want to instill in my children.
Of course, I am not alone in how this part of my identity helps me be the best parent I can be. Romper spoke to 13 LGBTQ+ parents who were willing to discuss how their identities helped them be the fabulous moms and dads they know themselves to be. We are not great parents in spite of being LGBTQ+, but because of it.
Amanda H-B, Lesbian Mom Of 2
"LGBT folks make the best parents because we understand the importance of unconditional love as a part of the human experience."
Kayla, A Currently Expecting, First-Time Lesbian Mom
"Often times, LGBT parents have to spend years trying to make their dreams of having a child possible. Not to mention the process often costs more than a college degree or a brand new car. I think that the amount of time and planning (and persistence and patience) that goes into becoming a Queer parent makes you so much more appreciative when that little person arrives.”
Scott, A Queer Father Of 2
"I think that my experience figuring out my identity (queer/bi) helped me recognize the ways kids can say one thing and believe or know another to be true, especially to fit in or stay safe. So, now that I'm parenting, I try to make it really clear that it's safe and important to doubt, question, change, [and] be genuine. Also, I strive really hard to support but not to place any set expectations (career, hobbies, potential partners/family structure) because I recognize that it's about them and not me."
Keda, A Mother Of Two
"I had my kids with a man, now my partner is a woman. My kids see diverse relationship types and they see all their parent-figures leading authentic lives with partners they love. That is the example I want to set for my kids."
Alexis, A Queer Married Mom To Some Human & Canine Kids
"Like my girl Ariana G sings, 'I want it, I got it. I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.' Considering most queer families are by choice, caregivers have had to plan, prepare, and secure a tribe. Moreover, often spending large amounts of money and time bringing this dream of life to fruition. There is a sense of gratitude coupled with power leading queer parenting. We made it mutha f-in happen! Through a variety of means and ways, we created life! If that isn’t spiritual, I don’t know what is."
"I think any oppressed/minority group parents better because they automatically have less privilege and kids experiencing diversity have more compassion and will make the world a better place."
A., A Queer Mom Of One
"I think LGBTQ folk make fabulous parents because we don’t blindly accept the status quo. We are used to breaking rules and making new ones, and we know we have to advocate for ourselves. So when a kid comes into the mix, we ask questions, and don’t easily accept 'because that is just how it is' as an answer. We know we can do better than 'how it always was' and we find ways to make it happen."
Meagan, A Queer Mom Of 2
"We take it as a sign we've done something right when our kids play with gender and ask what pronouns [to] use. We teach you to question others perception of 'normal' and nothing you say will surprise us."
"Being a queer parent means I have a personal understanding of what it means to be an accepting parent."
A., A Queer Mom Of One
"Because we get up every day and try to do our best to raise our kids. Through postpartum depression, confrontations with bigotry, encounters with exclusionary forms and 'Muffins with Moms' and 'Doughnuts with Dads,' toddler tantrums, political disruptions to our fundamental rights, sleepless nights, homework help, poverty, familial abandonment, job loss, cancer scares, invasive questions about how we made our families, school bullies, second parent adoptions, childhood first loves, endless housework, kids who aren't allowed to play with your kid, separation and divorce, never being able to find appropriate cards on Hallmark holidays.I'm queer, but I'm no different than any other parent. Just trying to keep my kid from saying embarrassing things about me in their eventual visits to the therapist's chair."
"I will never say that LGBTQIA++ are better parents, but we are more aware of being parents in a space designed for heteronormative parents. I believe we are more socially conscious and intensional in our parenting while operating from a place of otherness."
"A lot of queer parents have experienced adversity through a lack of acceptance by their parents and know how painful that can be. For a lot of us, that makes us more empathetic humans, and thus more empathetic parents who are well-equipped to help our children through any kind of adversity they face."
"Many LGBTQ people choose this parent thing. It's deliberate for many of us and just part of what can make us fab."