Gone fishin’




If we were French, or had more samolians for the vacation budget, we’d be gone for a month. But we are grateful for the upcoming week away, during which time I hope to work as little as our Commander-in-Chief. Internet access and/or familial tolerance for my noodling away in front of the computer might be spotty (though I may sneaky-post the occasional archival picture). Meanwhile may the week treat you kindly.

Dustbunnies, publicity and privacy

Initially I intended to efficiently attend to some administrative blog housekeeping, and note two tweaks to the features and content delivery here at LD. This, after a pause to issue the caveat that, if only I knew more about WordPress wrangling, and if only I had the discretionary time to gain said know-how, I’d have long since instituted a herd of spiffy improvements. Would that I could be noting them, in their plentitude. But I can’t.

(Hell’s bells, I can’t even figure out how not to have the links along the right margin be anything other than alphabetical! Per the WordPress default! So I wiggle around and craftily concoct category titles that begin with the letters of the alphabet that would order them in some kind of sensible sequence!)

But enough of that tale of woe! Let’s us return to the pressing matter of housekeeping.

Read moreDustbunnies, publicity and privacy

Making it up as we go along


In my “It’s all relatives” post last week, I neglected to clarify that the group of LGBT parents to whom I was primarily (though not exclusively) referring was “intentional” queer parents: people whose families are planned and realized from inside their queer relationships. The phrase “queer family-making” carried the burden, but too obliquely.

The ever-astute Dana Rudolph clarified that distinction, and noted that “intentional” parenthood characterizes some, but by no means all families in the current “gayby” boom. Many kids are born into heterosexual families, before one or another parent comes out and continues to raise them. Significantly, at least as of the moment, families planned and realized from within LGBT community skew towards the white and the middle class on up, Dana notes, citing research by Gary Gates, of UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy (himself cited in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about which she posted).

All this inspired me to dust off and enliven a page that had long been in the hopper: a wee LesbianDad Glossary, now gracing the primary page links stretching across the base of the header up there (around about my right armpit, actually). Several factors spurred this glossary:

Read moreMaking it up as we go along

Extree, extree: About.com calls LD a top! Blog!


This news flash, while of course tooting the LD horn, is intended to thank Kathy Belge for the nod, and to toot the horns of the other nine blogs she chose.

As part of a series she’s doing for Pride month — various and sundry thing to be proud of — Kathy looked at the lesbian blogosphere, and came up with her pick of the Top 10 Best Lesbian Blogs. I’m very glad to see that it’s filed under the “Lesbian and Gay Rights” category for her Lesbian Life column, since I regard all queer blogospheric presence, at this point in our histories, as critical community-building, and therefore a part of our ongoing civil and human rights struggle. That’s a huge reason why I do this thing here.

Here’s her list in its entirety:

    1. Pam’s House Blend Like there’s any debate! Pam, Pam, she’s our gal!

    2. Mombian See above peanut gallery remark: Dana, Dana, she’s our gal!

    3. Jasmyne Cannick Ditto: Jasmyne, Jasmyne, she’s our gal!

    4. Rosie Hey! How do you like that? The nation’s most recognizable lesbian mum has a blog! Rosie, Ro– okay, enough with the cheerleading.

    5. The Other Mother The mama of all lesbian mama blogs!

    6. Good as You: G.A.Y. Kind of a queer Daily Show, if you aren’t a regular reader. Pam + these folks will keep you abreast of all the news that’s fit to throw a fit over.

    7. Queer Cents I don’t have much — cents or sense — which is why I appreciate this site.

    8. Kate Clinton’s CommuniKate One of our most valuable resources, and among the highlights for me of the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in NYC last week, alongside schmoozing with my editor Harlyn Aizley and co-contributor Hillary Goodridge, and and being complimented on my spiffy suit by none other than Alison Bechdel. Who cuts a mean figure in her own suit, people, so she should know. That moment almost made up for Confessions of the Other Mother not winning the Lammy. Almost.

    9. Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. Required. Reading. For all pop culture junkies.

    10. Lesbian Dad Omygod! It’s an honor to be in this company, truly. I genuinely believe that the appeal and value of this lesbo bon mots depot has everything to do with the great numbers of us who care about fighting the good fight while loving the big love. Whether or not you’re a lesbian, or a parent, or a gentlemanly woman. Or tolerant of an endless stream of cute kid pictures. It helps, I’m sure, if you’re any of the above. Whoever you are, and whatever your own Top 10 list would have looked like, I hope I continue to make it worth your while to stop by.

Map-maker, map-maker, make me a map

[A slice of Saul Steinberg’s endlessly riffed upon 1976 New Yorker cover, in which he depcits the westerly view through the prism of a stereotypically myopic New Yorker. Or, depending on your vantage point, through a good clear set of binocs. Nice little bit on it here on strange maps.]

Those of you who frequent the lesbian familial blogosphere — and I won’t make any presumptions; I know many of you do, but some of you probably don’t — will know that we’ve been having fruitful chit-chats of late about motherhoods, bio- and otherwise. I mean, we always do. We talk about motherhoods, bio- and otherwise, and about our kids, either hoped for, or in the hopper (whosever’s hopper that may be), or running around underfoot. What with the whole lesbian parenthood thing being defined by two women, in a couple, being parents together, you can imagine that the ongoing project of defining and supporting our motherhoods crops up often as a topic of conversation.

To this end, Trista posted a pithy piece, Advice for Bio Moms, on An Accident of Hope. I thought it so valuable a catalyst for thought that I couldn’t help but point at it from my Friday berth at LesbianFamily.org (Fridays I assay a little chit-chat over there). Then Trista (a fellow contributor to LesbianFamily.org), followed with this post rounding up more related conversational themes in blogs that list on LesbianFamily. If you’re a parent like me, reading these stories is just necessary. Like looking up and checking road signs as you drive. You do it all the time, so often you don’t even notice when you do.

Common themes emerge, helping us to separate what’s idiosyncratic from what’s lesbiansyncratic about our families. That stress and tension we’ve been having lately? Ah! Not alone! Happens to X, and Y, and Z lesbo families, too, when they confront the same issues. Hey, they get that crap, too? (/fall into that trap, too?) I thought we were the only ones. Oh, now there’s a great idea. Next time I run across that problem, I think I’m going to ______ (fill in wise notion or cunning hack culled from lesbian parent comrade’s blog, or the commentary thereon).

Online communities of all ilks engage in this stuff; at their best, they break down our isolation. Ours also feeds us vital coordinates. Watch out; the continent drops off there! Hey, don’t overlook the oaisis, tucked over there behind the stand of trees! Things of this nature.

Because the arrival of kids, whether they come pint-sized or prepubescent into our lives, is like the emergence of a big huge volcano where there once were only rolling hills at most. That, or like one continent bashing up against another. All of parenthood entails re-surveying and re-mapping the dramatic new contours of our lives. But the work of the lesbian parent — and any alternative, non-normative parent, for that matter — at this point in the history of the family includes some extra bushwacking. If the maps to our quasi-pioneer lesbian family lives were compared to maps of the known world, I think we’d find most are still no more accurate than those thought up by, say, Ptolemey. Or maybe a little more advanced. Columbus knew perfectly well what he would find if he sailed due west across the Atlantic from Europe (India, of course, you ninny!).

Which is why I so value our cartographic project here (online, through hundreds of conversations short and long, half-baked and well thought-out). Slowly, what’s emerging are maps of new, lesbian parent cultural practices, new language, new traditions or rituals, common refuges. If all goes well, our kids who go on to form their own families — lgbt or straight, nuclear or extended, traditional or non- — will find some of our maps useful, perhaps even take them for granted. Which, to a cartogrpaher, may be one of the most complimentary things they could do.