About

les•bi•an dad n, neologism 1. a. A lesbian or genderqueer parent who feels that traditionally female titles (i.e., “mother”) don’t quite fit, and who is willing to appropriate and redefine existing male ones (i.e., “father”): She was a tomboy when she was a kid, so it’s not surprising she’s a lesbian dad as a parent. b. Often a non-biological parent in a lesbian family, and/or one whose role relative to the child in many ways resembles that of fathers. ORIGIN – early 21st century via: the web log “Lesbian Dad.” See also: “Baba.”


A bit about this blog.

familyportrait-Jan16LesbianDad is a personal essay/photography blog about parenthood generally, and lesbian parenthood in particular, with especial attention to the experiences of non-birth and genderqueer or butch mums and the many larger questions our unique kind of parenthood opens up.  I began it in 2006, when all of the above were virtually invisible online. You can find a lot more of us here and in person now, and that is an infinite blessing.

In the interest of being helpful, back then when genderqueer and LGBT people and parenthood were much more incomprehensible,  I started a Glossary; some of the entries there may help clarify some facets of queer parenthood for the uninitiated.

Note that I subscribe to the Walt Whitman school of writing process, rather than Gertrude Stein’s. Walt tinkered with what he wrote over and over, past its first and second and umpteen print publications. Gertrude thought: first draft best draft. I will say that whatever ripples of change appear in a piece subsequent to its first posting are along stylistic and le mot juste lines – not substantive ones. I usually leave well enough alone after 24 hours. But now we’re all forewarned.

I published a post about the genesis and development of this blog and how I write it here: The political is personal.   I did a post of loose notes about how I photograph my kids here: Feeds self yogurt, effortlessly.  Writer Abby Dorsey profiled lesbian fatherhood in general, including mine in particular, in an April 2013 piece in The Advocate (print and online editions): “The New Lesbian Dad.”

And finally: after about eight years and for a number of reasons classic to personal narrative blogs, I left this place fallow for a while.  I needed to acclimate to life without my dad, and with kids who were older (and Internet Users!), and a job that required a lot of off-line focus.  Intermittently I’ve returned, but very much more on a “slow blog” publishing schedule. Sustainability for the win!


About this blog’s reception.

Since this craft launched in 2006, Lesbian Dad has collected some nods of recognition which, in a fit of humility, I demoted from home page button (people used to do that in the early bloggy days!) to modest About page list:

The most valuable award, of course, is that of your attention, right here, right now. So thank you, gentle reader.


On video.

I’ve had the opportunity to read blog posts at blogging conferences and events, and say a bit about blogging at blog conferences. Here are the ones I’ve got video for, assembled for your viewing pleasure:

  • July 2008: BlogHer Community Keynote (later dubbed Voices of the Year), reading “Thanks Giving”:

  • July 2013: Listen to Your Mother San Francisco, reading “Straight On ‘Til Morning”:

  • July 2014: BlogHer 10 x 10 Keynote


About who writes it.

I come by my parenting chops by virtue of a daughter (since September 2004) and a son (since January 2007), both carried and birthed by my beloved.  Our donor is what you call “personally known” (and also loved). I come by most of the rest of what goes into this blog by virtue of some book-learning (BA: Berkeley, English; MA: Minnesota, American Studies & Feminist Studies), some teaching at both universities (American Studies, Women’s Studies, Composition, Pedagogy), and a few decades of activism in between.

I’ve written about my parenting journey elsewhere in print,  at BlogHer as a Contributing Editor in Parenting and Family topics and as Conference Programming Director, and at VillageQ as co-founder and onetime Editor-in-Chief.  I’ve talked about LGBTQ and “alternative” families online, at social media conferences like Mom 2.0, Dad 2.0, and BlogHer, at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Convention, and at local universities.  I work now for Bay Area and California LGBTQ families as Director of Policy and Communications at the mighty non-profit Our Family Coalition. All text and imagery published here are my own and are not intended to represent those of my employer. Yet more all-purpose caveats here.


Let’s talk.

If you’re interested, feel free to write me via this blog’s contact page. I merely ask for patience on the response time: I’m a full-time working parent who prioritizes parenting and work. To keep this space quaintly civil, I have ask folks to register to comment. That said, I’m proud to say that since the inception of Lesbian Dad, I’ve never had a belligerent or bellicose comment only received and chose not to publish one comment. And for what it’s worth, it wasn’t homophobic, it was Islamophobic, and off-topic.  A single sour comment in well over 5,000 gives one some faith in human nature.  That, or it’s instructive of the editorial impact of the loss of anonymity.  Either way, thank you for reading.

page last updated: 9.30.17 

12 Responses to About

  1. Tarja May 4, 2013 at #

    Polly! Hey, it’s Tarja from LTYM! Been meaning to come over here for a while. After reading – and especially after meeting you – I can see why Alexandra (of Empress fame) loves you so much. I think I was first “introduced” to you by a BlogHer conference email back in 2011. Love your humor and honesty and thrilled we’re on the LTYM journey together. xo T

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