The Queer Parent is the first-ever UK guide to parenting through an LGBTQ+ lens, covering everything you need to know about navigating the world as a queer family – from Gay to Ze. Olivia Palamountain reports
A new book that celebrates the myriad realities of LGBTQ+ parenting is out now, complete with a detailed chapter on navigating modern family travel. (Download Globetrender’s Future of Queer Travel trend report to learn more about Queer Family Travel.)
The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know From Gay to Ze is an essential parenting handbook for the LGBTQ+ community, their friends, families and allies, and the first of its kind to publish in the UK. The book costs £20 and is available to buy here.Written by the hosts of award-winning podcast “Some Families” (and subsquent follow-up podcast “From Gay to Ze“), Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley, this informative, funny, and empowering book is packed with expert advice and personal accounts covering from the first steps to starting a family right up to parenting teenagers and everything in between.The Queer Parent uses first-hand accounts and an accessible, A to Z format to share key knowledge around everything there is to know about queer parenting, from fostering and fertility treatment to co-parenting, dealing with homophobia and, of course, queer family vacationing. This chapter also has tips and insights from Globetrender founder Jenny Southan, who is married to Lotte Jeffs (together they have a child).
An excerpt from the travel chapter written by Stu Oakley, reads: “When we first travelled with our children, we had not yet received their new passports. They did not yet have ‘Oakley’ as names on their passports. We were effectively two men travelling with two children that didn’t seem (on paper) to be connected to us.
“Heading to America, we imagined all sorts of questions or potential issues aka ‘Sir, are you trafficking these children?’ Let’s be honest, they ask you on your ESTA to confirm if you plan to commit genocide on your trip to Florida so this question wouldn’t seem too unbelievable…
“We made sure we had a letter from the local authority where we had adopted our first two children, plus copies of their adoption order. When we travelled with our youngest son, who again didn’t have Oakley at first on his passport, we again made sure we had all this paperwork.
“To date we’ve never been questioned or asked about our family situation but that doesn’t change the fact that every time we head abroad, we have this sense of dread that we are going to be asked, and we would rather be prepared, even when the children all share our name.
“It’s these things that add an extra element of stress and worry when travelling as an LGBTQ+ family. We shouldn’t have to, but having that documentation with us makes us feel more secure and gives us one less thing to stress about . . . unless we leave it at home!”
Lotte and Stu Oakley spoke to dozens of experts and queer families, and this hugely-needed book is the product of those conversations and their own experiences of becoming parents through IUI and adoption respectively.
As the authors tell PodBible: “We took a lot of the essence of a podcast into the book in the sense that whilst we rattle on a little about our own experiences we are a tiny, tiny representation of the full queer parenting spectrum so we speak to loads of different people to try and ensure we reflect our community, in the best way we can.”
While irreverent and humorous, The Queer Parent does not shy away from the harsh realities of LGBTQ+ travel.
“As any queer traveller knows,” Stu tells Condé Nast Traveller, “there is a certain amount of caution you take when in a location that you don’t feel 100 per cent comfortable in. I remember John and I travelling back from a holiday in Bali. Our connecting flight got delayed by 12 hours so they decided to put us up in a hotel in Malaysia, where it is a criminal offence to be a gay man, and 20 years’ imprisonment with a spot of whipping is implemented… it doesn’t matter how much you plan, you could, like our Malaysia experience, find yourself in a situation beyond your control that leaves you feeling uncomfortable or even potentially in danger.”
Queer parenting is the next stage in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and Lotte and Stu’s book is more than a guide to parenting; it’s a vital, landmark piece of work about all the different ways we create families.