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Children of LGBTQ Parents Reflect on Their ‘Coming Out’

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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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Write to Lucy Feldman at lucy.feldman@time.com