Ms. Magazine: A chat with Lesléa “Heather Has Two Mommies” Newman
I want to give a shout out to Lesléa Newman, an iconic yet under-recognized gay Jewish writer whose work continues to inform the changing landscape of GLBT rights in the U.S.
I first met Lesléa at a writing workshop sponsored by my mom’s Sisterhood group at our synagogue nearly three years ago. Bored, underemployed and living in my parents’ basement, I begrudgingly tagged along, knowing I would be the only person in attendance under 40. The workshop turned out to be fabulous, but it wasn’t until we were getting ready to leave that I saw the table overflowing with copies of Lesléa’s books and realized that she was the author of not only the groundbreaking children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies, but the celebrated short story “A Letter to Harvey Milk.” Lesléa Newman’s words and stories were a presence in my life at every stage of my development.
Newman has written more than 50 books, including children’s books, novels, poetry and short fiction. She has received a number of literary awards, and nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists. But it is not her achievements that inspire me; it is her bravery, perseverance,and dedication to exploring the intersection of her lesbian and Jewish identities in her writing.