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Parenting

Iconic photo from 1983 was the first to show gay parents in the mainstream

Patrick Kelleher December 26, 2019
Gay dads

Photo of two gay dads (Wikimedia Commons)

This powerful photo of two gay dads with one of their children was the first time same-sex parents were represented positively in the mainstream media.

1983 was a very different time for LGBT+ people, so when Life Magazine decided to run a story about two gay dads raising their four children together, it was a powerful moment.

The incredible photo shows a man giving his child a piggy back while kissing his partner goodbye and captures a simple moment of gay domestic happiness.

Life magazine published ‘The Double Closet’ in 1983 at a time when gay relationships were rarely depicted in a positive light.

The story – titled ‘The Double Closet’ – was written by journalist Anne Fadiman with photography by Pulitzer Prize winner J. Ross Baughman.

Baughman worked with Life magazine between 1980 and 1996 and in that time worked on a number of investigative photo essay projects.

At the age of 23, Baughman became the youngest professional to win the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the guerrilla war in Rhodesia.

Just a year after he published his photos of the two gay dads, he worked on a story ofr the magazine called ‘A Haven for AIDS Outcasts’ which covered the first hospice for those with HIV/AIDS in San Francsco.

He won a Pulitzer prize for photos taken in Rhodesia.

He also won a Pulitzer prize for three photos taken in the area formerly known as Rhodesia. According to the official Pulitzer website: “At the age of 23, Baughman became the youngest professional to win the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the guerrilla war in Rhodesia.”

He later left the magazine and went on to serve as photo editor at The Washington Times.

Meanwhile, Fadiman is an essayist and reporter and has received a number of awards for her work. She has also written a number of books.

She is author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays.

More: Gay, LGBT, parents

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