Happy Mother’s Day to These LGBTQ+ Moms!
There are LGBTQ+ moms raising families all over the country and the world. It’s nothing new, really. Queer women have been raising kids for decades, though more welcoming laws are making it more common.
This list of well-known LGBTQ+ moms is more than 50 strong, and yet we know that for moms out there it can sometimes feel like they can be counted on one hand.
Everyone could benefit from more visibility, especially with researchers still having to run studies these days to prove to the disbelieving that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as those raised by straight people.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the queer moms out there!
Out actor and comedian Rebel Wilson announced her engagement to girlfriend Ramona Agruma in February of this year. She welcomed daughter Royce Lillian via surrogate in November 2022. “I am ready to give little Roycie all the love imaginable. I am learning quickly…much respect to all the Mums out there! Proud to be in your club,” she shared in an Instagram post.
Legendary lesbian rockstar Melissa Etheridge is a proud mother of four — Bailey Jean, Beckett, Johnnie Rose, and Miller. Her son Beckett tragically passed away at age 21 in 2020.
In 2019, queer Australian musician Sia adopted two sons who would have aged out of the foster care system. And in the following year she also became a grandmother! Her 10th studio album is set to release this year.
Drew Barrymore, bisexual icon and host of The Drew BarrymoreShow, gave birth to daughters Olive and Frankie in 2012 and 2014, respectively. She recently made headlines for stepping down from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards in solidarity with striking writers.
Jillian Michaels rose to fame as a TV personality and fitness trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, among other shows. The out star, who now has her own fitness app, is the mother to two children.
Bisexual actor and star of True Blood Anna Paquin gave birth to twins — daughter Poppy and son Charlie — in 2012. “Proud to be a happily married bisexual mother,” she shared in a 2014 tweet.
Pansexual model and body positivity advocate Tess Holliday is the mother of two sons: Riley (born 2005) and Bowie (born 2016). She recently helped raise funds to fight anti-LGBTQ+ legislation at the Drag Isn’t Dangerous telethon event.
Soccer star Abby Wambach became a stepmother when she married Glennon Doyle Melton–also known as “The Christian Mommy Blogger” for her confessional writing on motherhood, marriage, and faith on the blog “Momastery. The pair met and fell in love in 2016, Melton came out, and they wed in May 2017.
Melton has three kids, Chase, Tish, and Amma to whom Olympic superstar Wambach is a stepmom.
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker married Kathy Hubbard in January 2014, before the state of Texas was required by law to embrace marriage equality. The couple held a large reception in Houston two months later. Together for more than 25 years, they have raised four children, all now adults; two daughters who were adopted out of foster care, a third girl who came to live with them as a teenager, and a boy they informally took in who had been kicked out of his home for being gay.
Sophie B. Hawkins
Singer Sophie B. Hawkins who fired up queer women with her hit song “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover,” back in the early ’90s gave birth to her second child, daughter Esther, in 2015. Age 50 at the time she had her daughter, Hawkins–who’d split from her partner Gigi Gaston with whom they were raising their son Dashiell, born in 2008–made headlines for using an embryo she had frozen in 1995.
Longtime trans advocate, author, and academic Jennifer Finney Boylan has become a familiar face to those watching Caitlyn Jenner’s E! docu-series, I Am Cait. While Boylan often provides the patient voice of reason and critical thinking on the show, she’s also a mother to sons Zach and Sean, who early on in Boylan’s transition affectionately renamed the woman they’d once known as “Dad” as “Maddy.” Happy Mother’s Day to Boylan and her wife, Dierdre!
Out Iron Chef Cat Cora has four sons with her ex-wife, Jennifer. “Although this is not what we ever imagined, we will always have four incredible reasons to celebrate our years together: our sons,” Cora told People when announcing her divorce. “We are forever parents to our boys and are jointly committed to raising them in a peaceful, nurturing and healthy environment.” Happy Mother’s Day to the newly single mom and first female Iron Chef.
Amy Walter and Kathryn Hamm
We want to wish political journalist Amy Walter and her wife, Kathryn Hamm, founder of GayWeddings.com, a Happy Mother’s Day! Walter is national editor for The Cook Political Report and a Meet the Press regular known for bringing a knowing sense of humor to politics, and the same goes for her take on motherhood, raising their son, Caleb.
Out actor and funny lady Sandra Bernhard and her longtime partner, Sara Switzer, will celebrate Mother’s Day this year, as they have co-parented Bernhard’s daughter, Cicely Yasin Bernhard, together for more than a decade.
Meshell Ndegeocello is a genre-crossing singer, songwriter, and bassist; her music incorporates jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop, and rock. The bisexual musician is also mother to two sons: Solomon, born in 1989, to whom she dedicated her song of the same name, and Atticus, born in 2009. Once partnered with writer Rebecca Walker, Ndegeocello has been married to Alison Riley, also her manager, since 2006.
Happy Mother’s Day to the founder of The Next Family, Brandy Black, and her wife, Susan Howard. Together these moms to three kids dish out advice on motherhood on YouTube and on their website. “The best parts of my day are the mommy moments,” Black wrote in an essay this year titled “Lesbian Moms: Why Mother’s Day Is So Important to Us.”
Carmen Carrera is the proud mother of two children, Ahsia and Leeah, whom she is raising alongside her husband, Adrian Torres, and their biological mother, Stephanie. The transgender model and mom told Out how “rewarding” it is to be a parent. “You’re setting someone up for success in the world,” she said, adding, “Hopefully we’ll have more kids.”
Lisa Cholodenko and Wendy Melvoin
Acclaimed director Cholodenko (High Art, Laurel Canyon) had a child with her partner, Wendy Melvoin, in 2006. The experience of having son Calder was the impetus for Cholodenko’s acclaimed film The Kids Are All Right, which she cowrote and directed.
Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer and Family
Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, both Detroit-area nurses, are mothers to four children, Jacob, Ryanne, Nolan, and Rylee — and, one could say, among the mothers of marriage equality. Their challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, which they initially filed so that both could be recognized as legal parents to their children, was consolidated with cases from Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee and heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in its landmark ruling in 2015 establishing the freedom to marry nationwide. Rowse and DeBoer married in August of that year.
Ani DiFranco is not only a rock star and feminist icon. The bisexual singer also became a mom in 2007, when she gave birth to daughter Petah Lucia DiFranco Napolitano. A son, Dante DiFranco Napolitano, followed in 2013.
When Dot-Marie Jones married Bridgett Casteen in 2013, she also became a stepmother to her two children. The Glee star, speaking with The Advocate following the couple’s romantic engagement at Disneyland, was overjoyed to grow her family. “It’s the happiest day of my life,” she said.
Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Henderson
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Happy Mother’s Day to GLAAD executive director and president Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife, musician Kristen Ellis-Henderson! After marrying in their hometown on Long Island in 2011, the mothers of twins Thomas and Kate coauthored a book fittingly titled Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made.
A happy Mother’s Day to Emma Donoghue, the award-winning author who adapted her novel Room into the acclaimed film of the same name. She lives in Ontario with her partner, university professor Chris Roulston, and is pictured here with her son, Finn, and her daughter, Una.
Jodie Foster has two sons, Charles and Christopher, with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard. “There’s something so pure about the ways boys love you,” the actress-turned-director said about parenting versus filmmaking.
Janis Ian, a singer known for her hit “At Seventeen,” became a stepmother and grandmother when she married her partner, Patricia Snyder, in 2003. The Grammy-winning artist’s song “The Tiny Mouse” has been turned into a children’s book of the same name, which can enjoyed by parents and children everywhere.
Jennifer Chrisler and Cheryl Jacques
Jennifer Chrisler and Cheryl Jacques have spent much of their lives advocating for social justice for LGBT people and their families. Chrisler led the Family Equality Council for eight years and is now Vice Chancellor for Advancement at UMass Dartmouth. Jacques has been a Massachusetts state legislator and head of the Human Rights Campaign. They are parents of three sons: twins Tim and Tom and Matthew. Chrisler once famously invited Tony Perkins, president of the antigay Family Research Council, to her family’s home so he could see how a same-sex couple actually lived. He didn’t take her up on it.
Roberta Kaplan and Rachel Lavine
Roberta Kaplan (left) is famed as the lawyer who brought down the Defense of Marriage Act in the landmark Windsor v. U.S. case. She also successfully argued against the nation’s last standing ban on adoption by same-sex couples, struck down this year in Mississippi, where Kaplan handled a marriage equality case as well. Kaplan’s wife, Rachel Lavine, is a longtime political activist, currently serving as a Democratic committeewoman in Manhattan. They are parents of a son, Jacob. Kaplan even quoted Jacob when arguing against Mississippi’s marriage ban in 2014, discussing the factors that would make the ban subject to a high level of judicial scrutiny. “I’m going to go through them very briefly now because I think — to quote my 8-year-old son, Jacob, I think the answer to almost all of them is ‘doi,'” she told the court.
Happy Mother’s Day to Kara Swisher, who is shaking up Silicon Valley reporting with her site Re/Code. Maybe soon she’ll be shaking up San Francisco politics, with a recent story that she plans to run for mayor (a long time in the future). She has two sons — Alex and Louie — with her longtime spouse, Megan Smith, the former Google executive and now chief technology officer of the United States, from whom she is now separated. Swisher lays it all out there, joking in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in 2012 about her taste. “My mother, Lucretia (‘Lucky’), is very stylish and so was my Italian grandmother,” she said. “My mother used to work at Bonwit Teller, and later had her own store, and she would coordinate fashion shows. I am her greatest disappointment in that regard. She loves clothes and I still tell her ‘You could have had a gay son, and all you had was a lesbian daughter who hates clothes.'”
Kate Brown, who is bisexual, became governor of Oregon in 2015 after the resignation of John Kitzhaber. She then was elected to a full term and served as governor until 2023, becoming the first LGBTQ+ person to become governor. Brown has been married to conservationist Dan Little since 1997, and together they raised his son and daughter from a previous marriage, Dylan and Jessie.
In 2013, Maria Bello came out to her son, Jackson, then 12, as being in a relationship with her best friend at the time and her now ex–Clare Munn. His response? “Whatever, mom. Love is love.” His reply inspired the Prisoners star to write a New York Times article and a book of the same name challenging labels.
Mary Cheney and Heather Poe
A happy Mother’s Day to Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe. The two have been through a lot while starting a family in the public eye, raising their daughter, Sarah. Cheney is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a political operative. During a forum in 2007, Mary Cheney lectured critics, saying, “This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.”
Lauren Blitzer and Chely Wright
Country music star Chely Wright became a pioneer in her industry when she came out in 2006. She has also found happiness as a mother, giving birth to twin boys George Samuel and Everett Joseph in 2013 after marrying activist Lauren Blitzer. “I’m not sure if they’ll write country music or show tunes, to be frank with you,” she joked after receiving mini-guitars as gifts.
Nikki Weiss and Jill Goldstein
Many of us have been following the lives of The Real L Word‘s Nikki and Jill Goldstein for a long time. They got married in 2010. And there was a truly beautiful Expedia commercial that included part of that story from Jill Goldstein’s father’s perspective. Then they became moms in 2012 to son Adler, and we got a peek at their lives as part of the Day in LGBT America. Last year the couple welcomed their second son.
Nina Jacobson had the last laugh on Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group — part of Disney — after it fired her in 2006 while she was at the hospital where her wife, Jen Bleakley, was giving birth to their third child, William. Jacobson launched her own production company, Color Force, which has produced the Hunger Games movies. She has given her wife ample credit, calling Bleakley, a stay-at-home mom, her “not-so-secret weapon.” In addition to William, they have a teenage son and daughter, Noah and Josie.
Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni
Happy Mother’s Day to Cynthia Nixon, who along with her wife, Christine Marinoni, is raising three little ones. The queer actor, who we first fell for as pragmatic attorney Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City and stars in its sequel series, married Marinoni in 2012 after getting engaged three years earlier. Nixon brought two children from her previous marriage to the relationship, and in 2011 the women welcomed their youngest son, to whom Marinoni gave birth.
Arguably the most famous out mom of all, Rosie O’Donnell has made fighting for adoption rights part of what she’s known for as a celebrity talk show host, comedian, and actress. O’Donnell even plays the role of a social worker on The Fosters, helping match foster kids with families. She has five kids — Blake, Dakota, Vivienne, Chelsea, and Parker. O’Donnell told Diane Sawyer back in 2002 that “I don’t think America knows what a gay parent looks like” and has been changing that ever since. It hasn’t always been easy in the spotlight, having to go through breakups, and not with Donald Trump attacking her — which she’s griped about having to explain to her kids. And the tabloids had a field day when her daughter Chelsea became estranged, an experience O’Donnell called “heartbreaking.”
Patricia Velasquez, the world’s first openly lesbian supermodel, has a daughter, Mia, with her ex-partner, Lauren. Velasquez is also an actress, with a resume that includes The Mummy as well as Guys Reading Poems. She recounted coming out to her mother in her memoir, Straight Walk. Her mother’s reply? “It’s hard for me to understand that world, but I’m here for you and I love you.”
Kris Perry and Sandy Stier
The women who helped take down California’s Proposition 8 as plaintiffs in the landmark federal case Perry v. Hollingsworth fought that battle not just for LGBT families across the state but for their own too. When Perry and Stier met, both had two sons from prior relationships. For the past 17 years, they’ve raised the four boys together, sending off their youngest, twins Spencer and Elliott, to college in 2013.
A happy Mother’s Day to Hilary Rosen (pictured, right), who is a frequent guest on CNN and an often outspoken Democratic political analyst. Rosen was formerly married to Elizabeth Birch, the onetime head of the Human Rights Campaign, and together they had twins Anna and Jacob. Back when President Obama was running for reelection, Rosen got into a momentary back-and-forth with Ann Romney about how hard it can be to both work and raise a family, saying, “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.”
Literary agent and out lesbian Charlotte Sheedy is pictured here with her then-13-year-old daughter Alexandra “Ally” Sheedy who would become one of “The Brat Pack” in The Breakfast Club. Ally is now mom to a daughter, who is queer and out.
Transparent creator Joey Soloway and their sister Faith, a writer on the show, draw on their experiences as children of a transgender parent for the acclaimed program. The siblings are also moms — Faith, long an out lesbian, has a daughter, Betsy, born during her relationship with ex-partner Harlyn Aizley, and Joey has two sons, Isaac and Felix.
Meredith Baxter was once America’s mom, playing Elyse Keaton on Family Ties in the ’80s. So a generation owes her a big “Happy Mother’s Day!” Baxter came out in 2009, at the age of 62, and now she’s married to Nancy Locke. She has five kids from previous marriages — Eva, Mollie, Kate, Peter, and Ted.
Tatum O’Neal and daughter Emily McEnroe
Tatum O’Neal is known for roles in Little Darlings,The Bad News Bears, and her Academy Award-winning part in Paper Moon. (At age 10, she became the youngest actor to even receive this honor.) The entertainer has three children with ex-husband John McEnroe: Kevin, Dean, and Emily. And according to a 2015 interview with People magazine, she is “dating mostly women recently.”
Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk
Let’s wish a Happy Mother’s Day to Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk. This journalism duo has been part of Americans’ living rooms via NBC News for years. Their daughter Harper arrived in 2013, and she was a big part of Wolfe’s coming-out. “This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us,” Wolfe toldPeople magazine at the time. “But I don’t want to bring my daughter into a world where I’m not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is.” Now the couple has another daughter, Quinn.
Kelly McGillis — the 1980s movie star who made memorable impressions in Top Gun, Witness, and The Accused — is the mother of two grown daughters, Sonora and Kelsey. McGillis lives in North Carolina with partner Melanie Leis, taking occassional acting roles, and being a proud mama.
Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts
Niecy Nash has three children from her relationship with her ex-husband, Don Nash. Their names are Dia, Dominic, and Donielle. Initially, the trio was surprised to learn that their mom had found a romantic partner in her friend of more than four years, Jessica Betts, but they were excited for the couple’s nuptials in 2020. “My children were able to meet Jessica before they knew we were dating, so they were able to meet her and form their own opinion about her as a person. And they all were like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so cool!’ They was exchanging numbers … So, they already liked her,” Nash recounted on Red Table Talk.
Queer powerhouse singer Kehlani, who uses she/they pronouns, is raising their two-year-old Adeya in a world of beautiful and “loudly queer” people, she said in The Advocate‘s April/May cover story.
“All my friends, all her aunties, uncles, her godparents, everybody is just loudly queer,” Kehlani said. “Our generation already kind of broke the mold of getting to that point, so I don’t even think our kids are going to think about it as something that they have to identify and differentiate. I feel it should be normal. We’ll be reading queer stories, queer books where the baby has two dads, two moms, two parents who don’t identify as either. Movies that have that. She sees healthy queer couples. So, I don’t think that she’s going to even think about it as, This is different from normal.”