Lesbian and Gay Parenting Questions & Answers Column With Arlene Istar LevDear Ari

A column by Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

End of an Era

Posted By on September 13, 2010

After four years of publishing, the magazine Proud Parenting, formerly known as Alternative Family Magazine (AFM/PP), has officially ceased publication. Kelly Taylor, founder, owner, editor, publisher, designer, web content manager—and I am sure garbage collector, accountant, and computer technician—valiantly tried to save the magazine in the past year, seeking investment capital to cover printing and production costs. Sadly, she was unable to secure the necessary funding, and after knocking on the doors of LGBT investors and draining her own personal financial resources, the magazine that brought LGBT family issues into the mainstream of the queer community, as well as becoming a vehicle for understanding “gay parenting” for those outside of our community, Kelly had to admit she had reached the end.

When Kelly first began to publish AFM in 1998, there was little in the media regarding LGBT families, and those of us starting families had few resources available to help us make the myriad decisions involved in queer family building. In a conversation with Kelly Taylor in December of 2001, she said, “One of the things that I liked best about the magazine was the fact that it provided a place for real families to tell their stories in their own words. I don’t know of many national magazines that do that.” Indeed, one of the great strengths of AFM/PP magazine was the diverse stories that our families told: Kelly included lesbian and gay families, grandparents raising their grandchildren, mixed-race couples, adult children raised by gay parents, as well as young gay people coming out to their heterosexual parents. There were families formed by donor insemination, donor egg transfer, international adoption, domestic adoption, older child adoption, and surrogacy. The families pictured in AFM/PP were trans-racial families, as well as transgendered families; Kelly did not avoid addressing the sometimes controversial issues raised by these family forms—and she always did so with respect for the families represented, no small feat.

The magazine had a huge impact on the queer community, and contributed to the development of what is now a viable national LGBT family presence. Kelly says, “The magazine also made big strides in being the first entity within the community that reached out to the largest group of LGBT parents and their children. We had a circulation of over 10,000 and a total distribution of over 20,000.” This is no small accomplishment within our communities. Kelly was especially proud of the “Kid’s Room”— a section of the magazine devoted to our children, and as Kelly said, “… it was the first publication within the community that parents could feel comfortable giving to their children.” I would add that it was also a publication that one could feel comfortable giving to an aging mother, a domineering boss, or a skeptical minister. AFM/PP accomplished what it set out to do, which was educate the LGBT community about our own diversity, serve as a resource for LGBT families to make connections, educate those outside of our communities about our vibrancy, and most of all, celebrate our wonderful families.

I was thrilled to be a part of AFM/PP, as the advice columnist “Dear Ari.” In addition, to the other kudos I could heap onto Kelly Taylor, she was an excellent editor (words, believe me I do not say lightly), and not only treated her writers with respect, but actually paid us too! It is to Kelly’s credit that she has succeeded in securing subscription fulfillment for a new LGBT parenting magazine “And Baby,” which made its debut this past June. Kelly has nothing but praise to say about this new magazine, showing once again that, as rare as it is in our money-driven world, Kelly’s interests have always remained the same—a quality LGBT parenting magazine for our families, whether it is her own publication or someone else’s. Kelly is a rare person, who had always sought networking among other publishers/editors, always given out copies of her magazines—not simply as an advertising ploy—but to honestly get the word out about our diverse and beautiful families, and encourage wanna-be parents to take the plunge, that the water is crystal clear. Kelly wanted everyone to be connected to this web.

In order to continue this vision, in a less time-consuming and inexpensive way, Kelly will continue Proud Parenting Magazine as an online portal starting in February of 2002.* Kelly says, “I hope to continue providing a national resource for LGBT parents and their children…Families need to know what’s happening in the world as the news pertains specifically to our families and …because there will no longer be deadlines for a print publication, I will be able to focus more on the latest news and events and get it out there.” Kelly Taylor, and her magazines Alternative Family Magazine, Proud Parenting Magazine, and now, Proud Parenting Online, are a gift to our community, and my great sadness is how little we as a community honor those that are out there building, brick and mortar, the very foundations that our lives depend on. Thank you Kelly, for all your hard-work creating a home for my children.

* Sadly, Proud Parenting online has now also ceased to function.