The 10 Best Animated Movies for Gay Dads and Their Kids

Huffington Post – September 25, 2012 – By Rob Watson

One of a child’s first challenges is to understand his or her own world. For gay dads this presents its own set of issues, because much of the material we use with our kids basically ignores our very existence. Kids’ programming, books, and toy sets all reflect the mommy/daddy standard. That is not likely to change, that standard being the majority, so LGBT families find ways to cope. I was constantly editing as I read my boys “good night” books, changing the word “mommy” to “papa” so that they heard a story about a world that they found instantly recognizable.

Gay dads don’t get many advantages in the parenting landscape these days, what with cantankerous celebrities and bogus “studies” bashing us at every turn. The one area that can be our friend is the local DVD outlet, however. For whatever reason, due to a patriarchal Hollywood complex or just mere coincidence, there is a full treasure trove of great, father-affirming family material available.

I truly wish that in this piece I could trumpet material that is great for all LGBT families, but sadly there isn’t a lot of it. The horrifying fact is that it sucks to be a mom in animated movies. Being a birth mother is tantamount to being a victim of some horrible, misogynistic plague, because if you are one, the likelihood is that in these movies, you are either dead (Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hoodwinked, and more) or absent/abandoning (Sleeping Beauty, Shrek, Tangled). If you are a stepmom or adoptive mom, it is worse: You are just plain evil (Snow White, Cinderella, Tangled). Even in the latest offering, Brave, the mother/daughter dynamic struck me as less than ideal; however, some of my women friends felt it did present a good mother/daughter dynamic.

So, lesbian moms, it is with a little guilt that I offer up this list of the 10 best gay-dad-friendly movies for kids. I wish there were similar offerings for your families. There should be. Whenever you are ready to go picket Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, and others, I will march with you. In the meantime, here is my list, from the good to the best. I hope you agree.

10. Despicable Me (2010): Gru is despicable and inept at his profession of being a villain. In the end he demonstrates what it takes to be a good father, putting his kids first.

9. Cars (2006): Lightening McQueen has all the testosterone of a teenaged kid. He is finally tamed by the sage, gnarly, tough love of a surrogate dad, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), and due to that influence he grows up.

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Houston woman claims gay couple duped her into being a surrogate

DallasVoice.com, September 20, 2012

A Houston woman has filed a lawsuit after she gave birth to twins in July for a man who now says she served as a surrogate for him and his partner.

Houston businessman Marvin McMurrey III and Cindy Close met

in 2005 and were both in their forties.

They’d never been married and never had sexual relations with each other, but wanted children. So, over time they decided to become co-parents, Houston’s Fox 26 reports.

McMurrey fertilized a donor egg through in vitro fertilization and Close carried the child, which turned out to be twins. But after delivering a girl and boy in July, a social worker informed her that she’d been a surrogate for McMurrey and his partner Phong Nguyen.

Click here to read the entire article.

One Year Since DADT Repeal; Lesbian and Gay Parent Servicemembers Tell Their Stories

Mombian.com – September 20, 2012

Today marks one year since the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy forbidding lesbians and gay men from serving openly.  That was, without a doubt, one of the biggest steps towards LGBT equality in our history—but LGBT servicemembers still do not have equal rights. LGBT parents in the military are among those continuing to tell their stories and inspire change.

One of the problems is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which means that even when same-sex couples are legally wed, the military will not provide the spouse with the benefits and support it gives to opposite-sex spouses, as I’ve written before. The other problem is that the military still does not permit transgender people to serve.

Here are some of the stories of LGBT parents in the military. I am inspired by their strength and infuriated by the injustice they face. Among all the inequalities—from a lack of spousal health insurance to the inability of a same-sex spouse to shop on base—what hits me hardest is the months of separation some of these families face when the servicemember is stationed overseas. If same-sex spouses were recognized, the military would pay for the spouses and child(ren) to join them. As it is, they must endure months apart with only brief visits over several years. I miss my son when I am away for a few days on a business trip; I can’t imagine what these families must feel.

Read their stories, and reflect on how far we have come—but how far we have yet to go.

Click here to read the entire article.

Rupert Everett Tries to Soften Offensive Gay Parent Remarks

The Advocate – September 19, 2012

Rupert Everett attempts to soften the controversy surrounding his speaking out against gay parenting by saying he realizes he’s “very out of kilter with the rest of the world.”

The 53-year-old openly gay actor has received continued scorn for remarks he made during an interview for the magazine section of London’s Sunday Times last weekend. “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads,” he said.

While appearing on U.K. talk show This Morning, Everett stated that he was just expressing his opinion as an individual, joking that it’s good news he isn’t running for public office.

“I have lots of gay friends with children,” he said. “I have lots of gay friends who have got married, I’ve been to lots of gay weddings, but I’m not big into marriage straight or gay to be honest.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Same-Sex Adoption Flip-Flops: The Unbearable Lightness of Mitt Romney’s Convictions

When will Mitt Romney get it?  The sheer number of contortions he has performed on the issue of adoption by gay and lesbian parents has earned him a gold medal for political flip-flopping. He’s morphed from the congenial former governor of blue-saturated Massachusetts, where gay adoption is both legal and supported by a majority of the populace, to the Republican candidate for president in a party that has lurched far right for a cuddle in the arms of anti-equality crusaders.

Apparently, behind the scenes at last month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, there was quite a showdown between social conservatives and more moderate voices over whether or not to add language to the GOP platform condemning adoption by same-sex couples. Socially conservative members of the GOP platform committee attempted to wrestle their opposition to gay adoption into the formal document.  Insiders report that members of the committee belonging to the Log Cabin Republicans, a national political organization that represents gay and lesbian issues, torpedoed the attempt. As for Romney?  It seems he remained mute on the issue.

Currently, gay adoption laws vary widely across the United States.  Openly gay couples are legally permitted to adopt in just 13 jurisdictions (D.C., New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Maine, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Florida, and Guam), and although single gay and lesbians are generally able to adopt, most states continue to ban adoption by gay couples.  (As a side note, Paul Ryan has sided with those who oppose equal parental rights for gays and lesbians, voting against allowing gay adoptions in the District of Columbia).

So, where is Romney on the issue?  Well, a better question might be: Where isn’t he?  Over the past several years he’s taken both sides of the issue and filled in each with shades of grey.

In 2006, while he was working to exempt religious organizations from allowing gay couples to adopt in Massachusetts, he told the Boston Globe, “I know that there will be some gay couples who will say that this could be discriminatory against us, except that there are many, many other agencies that can meet the needs of those gay couples, and I recognize that they have a legitimate interest in being able to receive adoptive services.”

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WHAT’S AT STAKE? My Dreams, My Love and My Family

Ricky Cortez – September 12, 2012

My family means everything to me.  Like many that have had a difficult journey creating their family, it means more than I could have possibly imagined.  I am so blessed my dreams have been answered and I have the honor of being a parent to the most amazing child I have ever come in contact with.  I look forward to the opportunity to expand my family further in the future, but I may encounter more difficulty than previously imagined.  Please take a moment to read on as this is an important decision for me and my family;  a decision that could change my life and the lives of over two million children in families like mine.

 

This country is going through a very difficult time and no one person or one administration will be able to solve every problem in the next four years.  And while you can debate the current administration’s record and decide on its successes and its failures, there is no denying that it has extended rights and protections to my family that we did not have four years ago. My family is finally getting basic rights and protections that all American families have. Many of these rights were not included in the original constitution, but like the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and freedom of speech they have been added to be in alignment with contemporary notions of equality and civil rights for all Americans.  This fair and equal treatment is what gives America the title, “The Land of the Free.”

 

What’s at stake for me in this election is my family.  I can’t imagine not having the love of my life and my child by my side as I look to expand my family.   Romney / Ryan intends to challenge my family’s rights and protections and take those protections away from me, not just on an individual state level, but on a national level.  The GOP has a history of voting YES to banning gay adoption.  If this happens on a federal level it could remove the freedom I have to adopt. Depending on the state the child was born in could effect if I get to take the child home or could possibly disqualify me from adopting my child after he has been in my home for 6-12 months.  To all the parents, I ask, “Could you imagine your child being taking from your home?”  Government should not have the right to take that basic freedom away, merely due to the sex of the person I love and share my life with.

 

Currently, I can not be discriminated against because of sexual orientation when looking for a job. My health insurer can not turn me or my family away because of my sexual orientation.  My partner can visit me in most hospitals in America and can make medical decisions for my family and me.  Imagine your loved one being in an accident or near death and not being allowed to see them in the hospital, just because your family is traveling though a state that does not recognize your relationship. Imagine being assaulted while walking down the street just because you were holding hands with your loved one.  Finally, protections are in place to protect my well being and my family. That could all be erased. I can’t imagine the government taking away my ability to adopt, get a job, provide health care or make medical decisions for my family.  These are basic rights that should be protected by our government not eliminated.

 

Romney / Ryan have voted YES on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  They have voted YES on banning gay adoptions.  They have voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. Romney opposes laws like ENDA, which would make it a federal crime to discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation. Romney / Ryan have a history of voting to make my family invalid, unattainable and unprotected.

 

 

A vote for Romney / Ryan could take away basic human rights, rights afforded to all tax paying citizens in this country.  A vote for Romney / Ryan could take away my future child.  A vote for Romney / Ryan could take away my rights with the love of my life.  A vote for Romney / Ryan is a vote against my family.   I understand there are so many other factors, but I searched long and hard and could not find a reason to have a person in my life that would make that vote.

 

When you go to vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, please remember your vote could take away my family’s basic rights. Would you want those rights taken away from you? Please re-read this and put yourself in my shoes. If you have children in your life, imagine your life without them. Imagine your life without your family. For those who still actively decide to vote for Romney / Ryan, I will continue to pray for your well being, but know that you are voting to potentially destroy mine. What’s at stake? My dreams, my love and my family.

 

 

I wish there were more choices on both sides.

I wish there were better records on both sides.

I wish that a vote on either side would not affect my family so greatly, but it will.

 

I am not asking you to vote for anyone.

I am asking that you DO NOT vote for an administration that would take away the rights that protect my family.

I am asking you to take the opportunity to do something for civil rights by NOT voting for Romney / Ryan.

 

Please don’t vote to take my dreams, my love or my family away from me and the two million children raised in families like mine.

 

*** Please share my story, make it yours and/or use it as a template to tell your story. ***

 

 

Sincerely,

Ricky

 

www.AFutureTogether.com

2011 National School Climate Survey: LGBT Youth Face Pervasive, But Decreasing Levels of Harassment

September 10, 2012 – NEW YORK – The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today released The 2011 National School Climate Survey, the only national study that for over a decade has consistently examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in America’s schools. The 2011 survey found for the first time both decreased levels of biased language and victimization and increased levels of student access to LGBT-related school resources and support.

The 2011 survey demonstrates a continued decline in anti-LGBT language over the years, and for the first time the 2011 survey shows a significant decrease in victimization based on sexual orientation. The survey has also consistently indicated that a safer school climate directly relates to the availability of LGBT school-based resources and support, including Gay-Straight Alliances, inclusive curriculum, supportive school staff and comprehensive anti-bullying policies. The 2011 survey had 8,584 student respondents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“GLSEN has worked tirelessly for more than two decades to address endemic bias and violence directed at LGBT students in our schools,” said GLSEN’s Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. “With this report, we are beginning to be able to discern real impact of our efforts. Much work remains to be done to turn promising change into a concrete, sustainable reality, but those schools and districts that are taking action are beginning to make a real difference in improving the lives of students and providing better educational opportunity for all.”

Despite signs of progress, the survey found that the majority of LGBT students are faced with many obstacles in school affecting their academic performance and personal well-being. Results indicated that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, three fifths (63.5%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly a third (29.8%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

Click here to read the entire article.

Zack Wahls Addresses the 2012 DNC –