Paloma, raised in Newton, Massachusetts by her dad and mom, who came out when she was 13
Melissa Faithful for Art-Sheep
“For the past four years, I have been photographing and interviewing subjects with one or more L.G.B.T. parent. Their experiences are wide ranging. Some were adopted, some conceived by artificial insemination. Many are children of divorce. They were raised in urban areas, the rural Midwest and all over the map. They juggled silence and solitude with a need to defend their families on the playground, at church and at holiday gatherings,” explains New York City-based photographer Gabriela Herman on her website.
Now in its fifth year, Herman’s project The Kids, focuses on the lives of kids whose realities were different. The photographer explores how being raised by LGBTQ parents truly affected the kids’ lives, inspired by her own story and her mother’s coming out when she was a teenager.
Herman knows firsthand what it means when parents separate and fifteen years after her mother married her partner, Herman set out in search of peers who had had similar childhoods. Hoping than in the future more communities will embrace LGBTQ families, the photographer documents the stories of the children of these families, who now as adults, have the experience and the language to share their unique stories.
Hope, raised in New York City by her two dads:
“I knew that there was other structures of families because I would see my friends’ families and my aunts and uncles and I knew that people had something called a mother that I didn’t necessarily have, but I didn’t really think that I was so much in the minority. I wondered about my birth family and my birth mother in particular, but in terms of my own development, I don’t feel like I suffered because of it. I think that my parents did a fantastic job of helping to raise me to be a strong woman, but in terms of that question piece about where did I come from– sometimes I still wonder that, and then other times it just kinda disappears in terms of its importance.”
Robin, raised in New Mexico by her two moms and two dads:
“In college I was in a class about social justice and there was a guy there who brought up the fact that he has two moms. And I was like, ‘Oh my god!’ Actually my initial reaction was that I was kind of upset, because at that point it felt like my own thing. And I was finally being ok with having been so isolated that finally finding someone in my community I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s the thing that sets me apart!’ but of course we got to be really close and it was really amazing. ”
Shira, raised in Pittsburgh by her dad and her mom, who came out when she was in college:
“As soon as she told me that she found someone else, I knew who it was. I knew that it was a woman. She’d mentioned this woman once or twice to me on the phone in a friend context, and you could just tell. It’s like when you talk to a friend and you can tell if your friend still likes that guy just by the way she talks about him.”
Zack, raised in upstate New York by his two moms:
“Everyone in my family is adopted. I had less trouble with two moms and more issues with finding myself, you know, with race and ethnicity.”
Zach, raised in Iowa by his two moms:
“I think the operative word in describing our family is not LGBT, it’s in family. If you look at the vast majority of things that define who my moms are, or who my family is, it’s really no more accurate to say that my moms are gay married, than to say they are packers-fan married, or work-in-healthcare married. They’re both really just about as accurate in describing who my moms are.”
Mark, raised in Pennsylvania by his mom and his dad, who came out when he was in college:
“My dad is gay. He’s still really in the coming-out process right now. I had an inclination that my dad was gay from the very beginning of time. I always knew I was queer, which helps. I would see early on in my childhood, my father using the same behaviors to conceal his own femininity that I did, like he would uncross his legs or he would stop talking with his hands.”