Choosing Children

The film that helped jumpstart the lesbian baby boom
Kim Klausner
Year Released
Film Length(s)
45 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Being a lesbian no longer means giving up motherhood, thanks in part to the culture-changing impact of this feminist classic. These pioneering lesbian mothers figured out how to bring children into their families while overcoming social and legal hurdles.

Featured review

An entryway for students to understand LGBT families, Choosing Children withstands the test of time and remains a canon in all the humanities. It provokes intense discussions that transcend the notion of the 'traditional family'. It's a must see!
Tami Gold
Professor, Hunter College, CCNY


Hailed as a pioneering achievement when it was first released in 1984, Choosing Children dramatically challenged the assumption that being lesbian means you can't be a mom. Six lesbian-headed families make decisions about how to become pregnant, navigate the process of adoption, whether to involve men in parenting, and address reactions from relatives, doctors and schoolmates. In so doing, they helped redefine what "family" means and opened the door for everyone to consider parenting, regardless of sexual orientation.

The original 16mm film print was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive as part of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation with digital restoration by Zoetrope Aubry Productions.

Choosing Children was the only film from the United States dealing with lesbian issues selected for the International Film Forum in Nairobi at the celebration of the United Nations Decade of Women. It played at the Film Forum in New York City and was broadcast on Independent Lens, WNET and KQED.

The new Choosing Children DVD comes packaged with a 20-minute short film, The Back Story, in which directors Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner tell the story of how and why they made this historically significant documentary.


[The] greatest gift of Choosing Children for us today is to see that other parents and children have been there long before us, facing many of the same issues, and have nevertheless found answers and overcome challenges to raise their children to adulthood.Both as a piece of history and as a still-timely inspiration, Choosing Children belongs in every LGBT collection.
Dana Rudolph
Bay Windows
With openness and disarming humor... Choosing Children speaks to the lesbian and gay community about the possibilities for parenting and to the wider public about the importance of understanding different ways of life.
Karen Rosenburg
Boston Globe
The editing and camera work in Choosing Children are so skillful, we're shown an enormous amount about these people in a scant 45 minutes.
Laurie Stone
Village Voice
Two visionary women decided that this was a story that needed to be told as a way to chronicle a path forward and a future… It is important to be able to preserve films like Choosing Children so that every generation that comes along after us understands where we were and what it took to get to where we are.
Kate Kendell
Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Awards and Screenings

Red Ribbon, American Film Festival
Best Documentary, New England Film Festival
Best Short Documentary, New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
First Prize, National Educational Film Festival
Second Place, National Council on Family Relations
Debra Chasnoff Retrospective, Some Prefer Cake: Bologna Lesbian Film Festival
Official Selection, Frameline

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Director's Commentary
  • DVD Extras

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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