Recent LGBTQ Parenting Books: Which Ones Are Right for You?

The past two years have seen many great books about starting and raising families as an LGBTQ person, as well as books for all parents wanting to raise children with an understanding of LGBTQ identities. Each offers something different, though, so here’s my guide to help you find what’s right for you.

I’ve listed below some of the things that make each book stand out—but please click through to see my full reviews that go further into the content of each of them. Happily, most are fully inclusive of all genders and many types of family structures, including coupled, solo, and poly parents. Most are also by queer authors, at least six of whom are nonbinary and/or trans.

You may ultimately want more than one book in your journey. There is a lot of overlap among them, but also some differences in focus and tone. I hope this post is helpful in guiding you, but don’t be afraid to try them all!

Note, too, that while these are the most recent books, and sometimes recency is good in terms of both medical information and LGBTQ terminology, there are also a number of slightly older but still often useful books that you can find by filtering my database with the “Parenting guide” + “Family creation” tags (or just using that link).

General Guides to LGBTQ Family Creation Options and Decisions

These books offer overviews of LGBTQ family making options and explore the choices prospective parents may face along the way.

LGBTQ Family Building: A Guide for Prospective Parents, by Abbie Goldberg (American Psychological Association).

LGBTQ Family Building: A Guide for Prospective Parents
  • Best for: Prospective parents of all LGBTQ identities, considering starting their families through any means, and parents in the early years of parenthood.
  • Strengths: Built on Goldberg’s decades of social science research on LGBTQ families, including her LGBTQ Family Building Project, a study developed for this book, so that it is grounded in the lives of LGBTQ families today. There is extensive exploration of the choices you might face along the way, with insightful examples of how others have chosen what was right for them, and helpful lists of questions prospective parents should ask themselves. Throughout, Goldberg also considers how factors such as race, (dis)ability, and privilege impact these decisions, both within relationships and in the wider society. A final chapter looks at early years of parenting, including choosing schools/day care and navigating societal pressures and bias.
  • Do note: There is a significant error in the explanation of second-parent adoptions vs. court orders of parentage, but I have been told it will be corrected in a future edition.
  • Disclosure: The book includes my own Milestones in LGBTQ Parenting History as an appendix, but I do not receive any compensation because of this.

We’re Here! A Guide to Becoming an LGBTQ+ Parent, by B.J. Woodstein (Praeclarus Press).

We’re Here! A Practical Guide to Becoming an LGBTQ+ Parent
  • Best for: Prospective parents of all LGBTQ identities, considering starting their families through any means (though see “Do note” below).
  • Strengths: Useful questions offer prospective parents a way to begin conversations and discover their own paths forward. Lengthy stories from other parents add insights. Woodstein, an academic, doula, and queer mother, is also a certified lactation consultant, and there is an entire chapter on lactation, with a section dedicated to chestfeeding/bodyfeeding. The book also includes a chapter for allies and healthcare professionals who want to support LGBTQ parents.
  • Do note: Woodstein is based in the U.K., so some parts aren’t relevant for U.S. readers, e.g., on how fertility treatments are funded. U.S. readers should also know that more adoption options are available here than in the U.K., although some of the general information Woodstein provides about fostering and adopting considerations may still be useful.

How-to Guides to LGBTQ Family Creation

These books get more into the details of how to start your family.

Baby Making for Everybody: Family Building and Fertility for LGBTQ+ and Solo Parents, by Marea Goodman and Ray Rachlin (Balance).

Baby Making for Everybody: Family Building and Fertility for LGBTQ+ and Solo Parents
  • Best for: Prospective parents of all LGBTQ identities, considering starting their families through any means.
  • Strengths: Accessible explanations of physiological and medical details of reproduction, from two practicing midwifes and queer parents. Also includes information on fostering and adoption. Covers important but often overlooked topics such as supporting yourself as the nongestational parent after your partner/spouse has had a miscarriage; talking to your families of origin about your family-building choices; and looking at how systemic discrimination may play a part in how we interact with medical and/or social service systems. The book is inclusive of trans and nonbinary people throughout, but one chapter (edited by trans colleagues of the authors) looks specifically at getting pregnant as a trans person.
  • Do note: The initial print edition of the book unfortunately contains a few errors with regard to securing one’s legal parentage, but these have been corrected in the digital version and will be fixed in future print editions.

Queer Conception: The Complete Fertility Guide for Queer and Trans Parents-to-Be, by Kristin L. Kali (Sasquatch Books).

Queer Conception
  • Best for: Prospective parents of all LGBTQ identities, considering starting families via reproduction (assisted or otherwise), including surrogacy.
  • Strengths: Based on the experience of a licensed midwife and queer, nonbinary transmasculine parent. Thorough coverage of conception; particularly detailed information on preconception health and testing, fertility tracking, ovulation cycles, and insemination timing, as well as pregnancy, lactation, and more. Includes a “Trauma-Informed IUI Guide” for both patients and care providers, in order to make sure that those who have not had positive experiences with pelvic exams will have an IUI (intrauterine insemination) that is as comfortable as possible.
  • Do note: Focus is on reproductive options; there is nothing on fostering/adoption.

Building Your Family: The Complete Guide to Donor Conception, by Lisa Schuman and Mark Leondires (St. Martin’s).

Building Your Family: The Complete Guide to Donor Conception
  • Best for: Cisgender LGB or cisgender straight prospective parents considering starting families via donor conception.
  • Strengths: Extensive information about the medical and physiological details of donor conception, as well as the emotional aspects of (in)fertility treatment and beyond, such as telling donor-conceived children about their origins. The book is informed by decades of personal and professional experience from Schuman, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist, and Leondires, a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist and founder of Gay Parents to Be.
  • Do note: Although there are there are some references to “pregnant people” and “people with a uterus,” other places in the book use gendered language that is not inclusive of trans and nonbinary people, at least in the advance copy I have seen. This book comes out in November 2023.

The Parenting Journey

These books are for both LGBTQ people starting their families and those already parents, offering emotional support and practical tips to help you care for yourself and your family.

You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent: Advice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds, by Jasper Peach (Hardie Grant).

You'll Be a Wonderful Parent: Advice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds
  • Best for: Any LGBTQ parent or prospective parent.
  • Strengths: Peach, a trans, nonbinary, disabled parent, focuses on the many small but important things to remember when embarking on parenthood, such as how becoming a parent can impact one’s own sense of identity or bodily autonomy; or that you are a parent regardless of genetic or gestational ties. This is the book you reach for when you want to view the big picture; when you need some extra affirmation; when you face challenges with your self, your parenting partner(s), your children, or the medical and legal systems not set up for queer families.
  • Do note: This is not a how-to book about starting a family; instead, it offers important wisdom and advice on the more emotional parts of becoming and being an LGBTQ parent.

The Queer Parent: Everything You Need To Know From Gay to Ze, by Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley (Bluebird).

The Queer Parent: Everything You Need to Know From Gay to Ze
  • Best for: Any LGBTQ parent, prospective parent, or interested ally.
  • Strengths: Fun, chatty tone. Stories from the authors’ own lives as queer parents and those of many others. While there is some information about family creation, the book is mostly about being a queer parent and some of the particular experiences and challenges we may have. Among the voices here are those of bi parents in different-sex couples, often overlooked in discussions of queer parenting.
  • Do note: Legal and financial information here is geared towards readers in the U.K., though much of the book is broadly relevant to families in many locations.

Other Guides

So When Are You Having Kids? The Definitive Guide for Those Who Aren’t Sure If, When, or How They Want to Become Parents, by Jordan Davidson (Sounds True).

So When Are You Having Kids: The Definitive Guide for Those Who Aren’t Sure If, When, or How They Want to Become Parents
  • Best for: Both LGBTQ and cishet people trying to decide if they want kids.
  • Strengths: Useful questions, information, and stories about becoming and being a parent to help readers decide if parenthood is for them. The answer is not presumed to be “yes”; the final section offers advice if “You don’t want kids,” with tips on saying no to parenthood and an exploration of the positive things that a childfree life can bring. The language throughout is inclusive of LGBTQ identities and information for and about LGBTQ people is not confined to one “special” section (although a few sub-sections are specific to queer families).
  • Do note: This isn’t a queer-specific book, although it includes information for LGBTQ people (including trans and nonbinary ones) throughout. Several errors, however, could mislead queer readers about critical legal protections. There is also little guidance here about how queer couples with the same reproductive systems can navigate the question of who carries the child or whose egg or sperm is used, and little about the legal costs that queer couples may incur to secure their parental rights, both of which may be important factors in whether to have kids. The queer-specific books are better on those topics.

Supporting Queer Birth: A Book for Birth Professionals and Parents, by AJ Silver (Jessica Kingsley).

Supporting Queer Birth
  • Best for: Birth professionals wanting a better understanding of LGBTQ parents. LGBTQ parents and prospective parents may also appreciate the stories in it.
  • Strengths: Silver, a birth and postnatal doula, brings together extensive interviews and conversations they have had with a variety of LGBTQ parents and birth professionals, offering insights on the issues LGBTQ people may face in becoming a parent and lactating. There is information, too, on LGBTQ terminology, inclusive language, and intersectionality for those who may not be familiar with those concepts. Chapters also cover LGBTQ people and neurodiversity as well as perinatal mental health.
  • Do note: Much of the information here relates to U.K. health systems and laws. The chapter on neurodiversity, while helpful in regards to autism, does not cover other forms of neurodiversity.

Raising Kids with an Understanding of LGBTQ Identities

These books offer much for parents raising children of any gender identity or sexual orientation, queer or not. I’ll look at books specifically for parents of LGBTQ kids at a future date.

Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kids and Their Allies, by Lindz Amer (St. Martin’s Griffin).

Rainbow Parenting
  • Best for: Parents, caretakers, educators, and anyone who wants to raise kids of all identities and genders in queer- and gender-affirming ways.
  • Strengths: Conversational, engaging style. Looks at the topics in age-based sections, covering infancy, toddlerhood, pre-K, and elementary school, and weaves in broader social justice concepts as well. Amer, a queer, transmasc, nonbinary, neurodivergent educator, has been explaining these topics to kids for years via their award-winning Queer Kid Stuff webseries.

The Gender Identity Guide for Parents: Compassionate Advice to Help Your Child Be Their Most Authentic Self, by Tavi Hawn (Rockridge Press).

The Gender Identity Guide for Parents
  • Best for: Parents who want to have healthy conversations with their pre-teen children about gender and to create an affirming environment, whether their children are transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, gender expansive, or questioning.
  • Strengths: Compassionate, clear, thoughtful, and practical. Based on Hawn’s work as a licensed clinical social worker and a transgender, nonbinary, Two Spirit Native person, who has worked with gender-expansive children and transgender kids, teens, and adults for more than 12 years.