Podcast: Featured Guest Zach Wahls, Author My Two Moms

Original Air Date: April 30, 2012


Book cover My Two Moms Zach WahlsMY TWO MOMS

Lessons of Love, Strength,

and What Makes a Family



“He lit up the Internet when he delivered a passionate plea to the Iowa House of Representatives in support of gay marriage.  Take a look at him…a hero.”Ellen DeGeneres

In YouTube’s #1 political video of 2011, 19-year-old Zach Wahls bravely stood up in front of the Iowa House of Representatives and defended his family. Now, Zach is speaking out again.

His new book MY TWO MOMS: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family (Gotham Books; April 26, 2012; $26.00) is “a response to all those who say I am ‘different.’” It is an exploration of the values his two moms taught him, values driven home by his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout – the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. Zach is a resounding testament to the power of family and reassurance that there is no wrong way to be who you are.

In many ways, Zach’s upbringing was very normal—he played sports, was active in Boy Scouts, and led his high school speech and debate team—yet, growing up with two moms, he knows what it’s like to feel different and to fear being bullied or worse. In heartrending detail, Zach recalls the defining “different” moments in his life: watching his parents’ public commitment ceremony as a young boy, not being able to understand why their union, “a commitment that has endured much adversity,” was not considered legal. He shares the experience of learning “how to shave from my best friend’s dad and how to tie a tie from an article in Playboy.” He had to carefully explain to an Indian visa officer why he left the ‘Name of Father’ space blank on his visa application—he didn’t know it and “Donor 1033” hardly seemed like an appropriate answer. Zach’s biological “tall mom,” Terry, suffered from MS, while his “short mom,” Jackie, had no legal medical rights to take care of her; yet, she was so committed with love that she stood by her anyway.

Despite these challenges, his two moms were there to help him learn how to overcome those obstacles, as any parent would: “Yes, I can certainly see my family’s differences…however, I am unable to actually feel those differences,” Zach says.

Zach’s message will hit home with anyone who has ever been made to feel “different.” He hopes that when reading MY TWO MOMS, people will open their minds because as Zach explains, “How can we hope to understand each other if we aren’t willing to engage each other? And how can we hope to engage each other if, when we see somebody who seems slightly different from us, we look away? If you do take the time to stop and ask questions…you’ll learn that there is far more that binds us, more that unites us, than separates us.”

Zach Wahls did not have to be the kid to write MY TWO MOMS – there are over two million children of same-sex couples in the world – he just happens to be. As Zach says himself, “This is the story of only one family and the thoughts and recollections of only one person —though I hope this inspires other kids to share their stories.” Zach is lending a new perspective on an issue that has already begun to define the 2012 election cycle – but he’s also speaking to a larger population on the universal feeling of being on the outside. He doesn’t expect his story “to convince every [skeptic] that being gay isn’t a ‘choice’ or that same-sex marriage should be legal, or even that I reached adulthood undamaged by the sexuality of my parents.” He does, however, dare you to pick up MY TWO MOMS and put it down unchanged, your preconceived notions of what it means to grow up with gay parents firmly intact.

You might have more in common with the boy who has two moms than you thought.



** Available in hardcover and as an E-Book**

About the Authors:

Photo Zach WahlsZach Wahls is a writer, speaker, civil rights advocate, entrepreneur, Green Bay Packers fan, and a sixth-generation Iowan. He is the founder of Iowa City Learns, an educational service dedicated to elevating academic achievement, and the CFO of the Eastern Iowa Renewable Energy Coalition, a solar financing start-up. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, The Des Moines Register, and The Daily Iowan, and the video of his testimony before the Iowa House of Representatives about his life growing up with two moms was YouTube’s most-watched political video of 2011. He lives in Iowa City. Visit him at www.zachwahls.com.

Bruce Littlefield is a bestselling author and journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, People, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. He lives in New York City. Visit him at www.BruceLittlefield.com.

About Gotham Books:

Gotham Books, a nonfiction imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was launched in 2003 by industry veteran William Shinker. Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Gotham Books, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Penguin Press, Philomel, Riverhead Books, and Viking, among others.  Penguin Group is owned by Pearson plc, the international media group.

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