Photographer Turns Her Camera Lens To Children Of LGBTQ Parents

"My mom is gay. But it took me a long time to say those words out loud," says Gabriela Herman, creator of the new photography book, The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA.

"She came out [...] when I was in high school. My parents soon separated and, eventually, she married her longtime partner [...] It was a raw and difficult time. I hardly spoke to her for a year while I studied abroad."

Herman's personal experience and knowledge on the kind of emotional rollercoaster kids with gay parents go through were the main drivers behind her photojournalism series that features children and young adults in America with one or more parent who identifies as lesbian, gay, transgender, or queer.

(Image: The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA)

To put together her book, Herman partnered with COLAGE, the only national organization focusing on children with LGBTQ parents. The publication features a total of 75 stunning portraits along with deeply personal and sensitive stories by the subjects. According to Annie Van Avery, executive director of COLAGE:

"Gabriela's book is more than a book of portraits. It is a narrative of a culture, our culture, created by a photographer who clearly knows our souls."

Indeed, being a child of a gay parent and a child of divorce, Gabriela shares a very similar experience with her subjects. In the book, she describes her own feelings of shame and attempts to hide her family situation from schoolmates and friends: "The topic was taboo even within our otherwise tight-knit family."

As an acclaimed photographer, Herman has traversed the world only to realize she's never encountered anyone else raised by a gay parent. Thus, her project began as a way to meet and document people with a similar story to hers. 

"The Williams Institute estimates there are at least 6 million children with gay parents in the United States. And, in my interviews, I discovered every situation was unique.

These conversations recalled having to juggle silence and isolation and needing to defend our families on the playground, at church, and during holiday gatherings. [...]

We – the children of LGBTQ parents – are not hypotheticals. Our stories need to be told."

Herman hopes that her book will play a role in changing things for the next generation of LGBTQ parents and kids. "This inequality will fade into the history books and my children will wonder what all the fuss was about," she says. The book can be purchased here for $21. 

The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA can be purchased here for $21.95 or as an ebook on Amazon. Check out some select stories from the book below.

Erica: "I was fifteen when my lesbian mom came out of the closet. It took me time for me to trust her again as my mom. I started believing she would hit on me as her daughter. Of course, it never happened; it’s ridiculous what beliefs and prejudices we get from mass culture" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Bryan M: "There was never any intention to obscure the truth, but I didn't sit my friends down and be like, 'My mom's gay'" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Adrian: "One Thanksgiving, I came home from college and there was this other woman living in the house. I didn't know if I was walking on eggshells or walking on a bombshell" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Jaz: "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. A lot of people, no matter what kind of parents they have, aren’t lucky enough to be in that situation" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Jamie: "I actually got in a fight with a kindergarten substitute teacher who insisted that I must have a dad, because everyone has a dad. We were making Father's Day cards, and I was adamant that I did not have a dad. She didn't believe me" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Savanna: "No one needs to feel sorry for me. My parents are amazing" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Malina: "My dads tried for ten years to have me. They went to adoption agencies. They had been together for twenty years at that point, and it took them ten years to finally have me" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Molly: "We're from a very progressive, liberal Democratic family, but this just seemed so bizarre. It was very disruptive to my family" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)

Niko: "I think Mom being gay had way less of an effect than us not being a family anymore. To me that’s really what it was" (Photo: Gabriela Herman)