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photographer at the age of 51 is about to become a mother, for the first time. The child, conceived through artificial insemination, will be brought up by Leibovitz and her ‘long time companion,’ of thirteen years, Susan Sontag. Sontag, the dark lady of American letters and definer of camp, has been accused by some feminists of cowardice because of her refusal to define her relationship with Leibovitz.

They have collaborated on the ultimate coffee table photo book entitled Women (Jonathan Cape £25). With nearly 250 photos of incredibly strong and diverse women ranging from astronauts to cheerleaders to wives of presidents, it also includes celebrities like Martina Navratilova, Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell (spot the connection?) One of the most telling images is of rock star Melissa Etheridge with her partner, Julie Cypher, and their two children. Maybe this alternative family inspired Leibovitz to motherhood? How children will affect the international career of Leibovitz, the Vanity Fair photographer waits to be seen.

Sandi Toksvig in her rounds of publicising her second novel about a blonde closeted BBC announcer, Flying Under Bridges (Little, Brown £12.99) revealed the method to motherhood for her and her girlfriend. They used a 10p plastic syringe from Boots and the sperm of a male pal to produce their three children. Parenthood without the father is increasingly common as Jodie Foster has shown. On BBC2 docu-soap Brighton: Out Of The Closet, Hannah and Jo proclaim: ‘Brighton is definitely the place to be if you want to be a gay mother’.

There is a wonderful book by Jesse Green called The Velveteen Father (Ballantine Books, £7) which looks at gay parenting from a male perspective. A moving memoir, it tells how two gay Jewish men bring up two adopted Mexican children in New York. It also daringly tackles that mid-30$ gay phenomenon of having economic and social stability but lacking spiritual fulfilment. You have a successful job, a great circle of

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Annie Leibovitz has been inspired to motherhood

friends, you don’t follow the pattern set by your parents, yet suddenly you start to feel something is missing. For most gay men, parenting has been denied them and this book offers us a peak into that world. Buy the book.

How does the sexuality of gay parents affect their children? What kind of environment in Scotland would be conducive for gay parents to raise children? These are some of the issues that will be explored in the Pink Parents workshops taking place in Edinburgh on Saturday 26 May. There are two workshops: one for gay parents, the other for would-be gay parents. Information on 0117 904 4500.

Blockbusters, the video store in Glasgow’s West End reports on queues around the block for recent release, If These Walls Could Talk 2 (currently only available to rent). Directed by the no-longer-lesbian Anne Heche, it stars Vanessa Redgrave as the surviving partner of a long-term lesbian relationship who is denied her dead lover’s belongings. Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone make very convincing female lovers bringing up a child together. (John Binnie)

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PRIDE SCOTLAND, THE most important day in the pink calendar, will be held in Edinburgh on Saturday 23 June. The march begins at noon in East Market Street. then heads past the Scottish Parliament and through the city centre, ending in Albany Street. Afterwards there will be a community-based festival in the capital‘s gay village. Pride Scotland urgently needs volunteers to be stewards for the march. If you can donate your services, phone 0131 556 8822. hilt lull 1, ll ll r;.:r‘.r:..if.wr: 't‘rr‘ffwttt‘ "1 nu. w rim, ‘wr batman. 1.1.. {‘Yv’laitl‘ arwl trans li’lltlt‘l .1". .i‘ a". wf'V v ‘r‘ l tiéil .e‘r‘tro: lo tint .1 it 78’.“ r'Ti'.'..lr lli‘.'. ugwilpgfw, (,;lrr'.',l :‘tt.1tl,'.1igm

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LISTEN TO REM’S LATEST single and check whether you can hear the difference now that frontman Michael Stipe has finally come out the closet and admitted he is gay. Stipe, 41, told Time magazine he’s ‘a queer artist’ who has been ’in a relationship with an amazing man’ for the last three years.

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Michael Stipe opens up

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