Savvy Auntie Guide Is Queer Inclusive

For the ladies in your life who often act as “aunties” to your little ones, there is now a book celebrating their role — and it’s queer friendly.

Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide For Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids offers tips and comprehensive step-by-steps on baby swaddling, bathing, and gift shopping. Providing all the need to know on pacifiers, how to go about baby proofing your own house, and what to expect during the mother’s pregnancy, this book is designed for the cluelessly childless who hope to take an active part in your child’s life.

The book includes a very eloquent contribution on how to speak to your godchildren, nieces and nephews, etc. as a “lesbiaunt” when asked about your sexuality. Sarah Pinkwater writes that many parents “desperately” hope that you won’t discuss it, reflecting “a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ mentality.” She says that if parents have asked you not to discuss it, lesbiaunts should ask friends or family what you should say and find words that you both agree on. Then she adds this:

People never wonder how to tell a child what a heterosexual is. Usually, an adult just explains that men and women get married and have babies. So what you can do is define lesbian for them in terms of family. Tell them that two people who love each other — a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man — are what make a family. As for the sexuality aspect, unless someone has already told them it’s not OK, kids aren’t going to ask why two women are holding hands.

Melanie Notkin, the author, includes lesbiaunts in her breakdown of the different types of PANKs, Professional Aunt No Kids, acknowledging the role of queer family members in the raising of children.

Notkin has six nieces and nephews but no children of her own. She opens her book by describing the first time she held her first nephew and feeling overwhelmed with love and devotion for him. Yet when researching ways in which to contribute to her family from the role of aunt, Notkin encountered no community or resources. Upon further research though, Notkin learned that as of 2008, 45.7% of women through the age of 44 were childless according to the U.S. Census.

As a response, Notkin launched that same year, creating an online community of childless, yet child-devoted women. Notkin writes that her book is for the experienced auntie, as well as any other women who fall between the cracks of traditional familial roles:

…this book is for every Savvy Auntie — or really, any grown woman — whose life doesn’t fit the two-kids-one-husband-two-car-garage mold, and therefore may need help dealing with those family members, coworkers, and colleagues who don’t get it.


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