With Pride festivities underway in Toronto, the authors and contributors of a newly-released book say they’re hoping to fill a gap in literature aimed at the children of LGBTQ+ parents.
“I was in Grade 1 and my best friend Jane and I were rolling around in the snow. Out of nowhere a voice sneered, “What are you, lesbians?” Sadie Epstein-Fine said as she reads aloud from her book, Spawning Generations: Rants and Reflections on Growing Up with LGBTQ+ Parents.
The book was launched earlier this week at Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop on Church Street.
“Growing up for me was very normal. I didn’t really realize I was different … until I was about 10. I didn’t think too hard about having two moms,” Epstein-Fine said.
But she said she did feel pressure to be ‘perfect’ and ‘turn out all right,’ which in her head meant being straight, getting good grades and not messing up.
“Until one day… I was just like, ‘No, I’m queer and that was actually a big moment for me because it disrupted the story I had been telling for so many years,” Epstein-Fine said.
The anthology — a compilation of first-person essays — is co-authored by Makeda Zook, who was also raised by same-sex parents. The book highlights 24 stories by children of LGBTQ+ parents spanning over multiple decades.
The youngest contributor is 12-year-old Liam Sky from Kitchener-Waterloo, who wrote the opening essay when he was nine.
“I had two moms who were gay and loved each other and then got divorced and found two other people to love… they were both lesbian,” he said.
“They both found two other women, so now I have four moms.”
Sky referred himself as a ‘rainbow kid’ and he said he thinks it’s important for other ‘rainbow kids’ to have a voice.
Epstein-Fine said with just a handful of books written by ‘Queerspawn’ – a term she embraces as the daughter of lesbian parents — she and Zook both wanted to offer other ‘Queerspawn’ children literature they could identify with and relate to.
“For so many years, we as ‘Queerspawn’ spent so much time and energy trying to be perfect and trying to cut out the messy parts of our lives because we were trying to push this agenda forward,” Epstein-Fine said.
“Now that we have gained some rights, now that gay parenting is really trending and we are in what we call the ‘Gayby boom,’ I think we’re in a place where we’re actually able to talk about the reality of our families and we’re able to tell different stories.”