Zach, Iowa CIty, Iowa. “I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it's family."
Zach, Iowa CIty, Iowa. “I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it's family."Gabriela Herman
Zach, Iowa CIty, Iowa. “I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it's family."
Robin, Santa Fe, N.M. I have two mums and grew up with a lot of gay adults in my life. We were the only kids in the entire community so I had a lot of aunt and uncles but didn't know any other family structures like mine".
Vanessa, Fairfax, Va. "If my dad had grown up in a place that was accepting of him and his people, then he wouldn't have been depressed half his life and felt like he had to live a lie or needed to be fixed".
Adrian, Pembroke Pines, Fla. "It's hard to say how I felt then. It wasn't a bad feeling. I didn't feel betrayed, I didn't feel deceived, but I also wasn't over the moon either. I think I needed to take a step back and really process it".
Jaimie, Chicago, Ill. "I remember even in preschool telling kids that I didn't have a dad. Everybody was like, " Where's your dad? Why don't you have a dad?" I'm like, a doctor helped my mommy have me, and I don't have a dad".
Mark, Snyder County, Pa. "Because I had been openly gay and gender non-binary for many years, I was able to provide my father with resources, information, and support from my own experiences."
Jaz, Webster, N.Y. "What sealed the deal for me was knowing that I had two people who loved me unconditionally and supported me and took the time to try and understand what I was going through."
Darnell, Berkeley, Calif. "I definitely took for granted the fact that I was surrounded by lesbians all the time.I thought that was very normal. I have a vague memory of listening to pop music on the radio and just assuming that the person singing was probably singing to a person of the same gender".
McKenna, Spring Lake, Mich. "I was still only aware of the surface-level implications of having a gay family. I was like "Oh, I feel so diverse going to Chicago, got two moms, I'm not white," and then I took my first woman and gender studies class, and it happened to be queer theory."
Elizabeth, Newton, Mass. "That's it ? That's the only reason you are splitting up?". And he was like, "Well, yeah".I was so relieved. I was ecstatic. I was like, "Oh my god, I want to have a coming-out party for you, Dad."
Erica, Redding, Conn. "I was fifteen when my lesbian mom came out of the closet. I feared her for being gay for the first few years. I had internalized society's images of gays as being gross pedophiles. It took time for me to trust her again as my mom."
John, Seattle, Wash. and New England. "My dad started dating this guy when I was five or six, and he has been my stepdad ever since. I've always been very close with both of them and my mum".
Molly, Worcester, Mass. "I remember that I was in college, and I decided to see my dad dressed, and I told my mum and my sister at dinner. I was like, "I'm going to see my dad dressed" . And they were like, "What? Why are you going to do that? "And I was like, "Well I just feel like I have to. This is the way he is now. Its moving forward".
Zach, Waltham, N.Y. "I had less trouble with having two moms and more issues with finding myself in terms of race and ethnicity."
Zach, Iowa CIty, Iowa. “I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it's family."
Gabriela Herman
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Children of LGBTQ Parents Reflect on Their 'Coming Out'

Oct 11, 2017

When Gabriela Herman was a first-year in high school, her mother revealed she was having an affair with another woman. Herman’s parents split, and she took time away from her mother, barely speaking to her. "I didn’t know a single person who had a gay parent,” says Herman, now a freelance photographer. "I didn’t share it with any of my friends—I didn’t even talk about it with my siblings."

Courtesy of The New Press 

Two decades later, Herman is releasing The Kids: The Children of LGTBQ Parents in the U.S.A. The book is part of Diverse Humanity, a series of photography books with LGBTQ themes from around the globe. Herman had considered the idea for a project on children like herself for a while, still before speaking with anyone who’d lived her experience. When her sister connected her with a representative of the organization COLAGE, which supports children of LGTBQ parents, Herman found herself in a meeting with eight others openly discussing their upbringings, which she called an "eye-opening" moment. That group became The Kids’ first subjects.

Seventy-five children of LGBTQ parents are featured in the book—including Herman’s siblings, with whom she’s finally able to speak openly about their shared experience. The most striking commonality between all her subjects, Herman says, is their differences. “I get asked the question: What did you find out?,” she says. "The job was never trying to make a thesis statement about it. It was more trying to share stories and hear from voices not many people have heard from. The ultimate statement is just that, just like in straight families, there’s such a diverse range of how a family is comprised, and every scenario is completely different.”

Gabriela Herman is a Brooklyn-based editorial and commercial photographer.

Michelle Molloy, who edited this photo essay, is a senior photo editor at TIME.

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