Gay Fathers

reviewed by Katharine Swan

Gay Fathers

by Robert L. Barret and Bryan E. Robinson
Lexington Books, 1992

The phenomenon of gay fatherhood is one of the most ignored issues by studies of parents and children. Although Robert L. Barret and Bryan E. Robinson published their book, Gay Fathers, in 1992, the book is still significant, as it represents the first comprehensive study of gay fathers, and the first reliable source for information about this group of people.

Barret and Robinson spend a good portion of the book exploring what gay fatherhood really means. Gay Fathers addresses the social and cultural issues that these men face, explains and debunks the myths that society holds about gay fathers, and analyzes the characteristics of the men from their study. Gay Fathers discusses in great detail the different “faces” of gay fatherhood: whether their children came from a heterosexual relationship or from an insemination agreement, and the situations different men find themselves facing.

Gay Fathers also devotes several chapters to other issues, such as how the families of these men handle their “coming out,” and how AIDS can further complicate the situation. A recurring theme throughout the book is the lack of information about gay fathers: why there is insufficient information about these parents, how it affects them, and how the problem can be resolved.

Gay Fathers is an excellent book for anyone who is seeking more information on the subject – whether for professional or personal reasons. Each chapter has a section that addresses the professional’s unique issues, such as advice on how to work with gay fathers, apply new findings, or contribute to the research that is available. However, the book is also full of information that gay fathers and their families may find helpful. Gay Fathers provides a mixture of personal stories and statistics that can help guide individuals in their personal lives, as well as comfort them with the knowledge that they are not alone.

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