Parents get to learn the power of patience

Sister Lil is the assistant principal at Aidan’s school. For a woman who never had progeny, she sure does know children.

On one of my exasperated days, when I had actually calculated Aidan’s math homework, so I knew it was done, and I told him three times that he had to hand in the assignment and he still didn’t turn it in, she smiled and said, “Thirty.”Patience

“Thirty what?” I asked, terrified that this was either a fundraiser or a penance I had incurred and forgotten.

“Thirty times. No matter what you want to teach a child, whether it be tying his shoes, or doing her homework or not burping in front of the nun. All children: boy/girl, black/white, special ed/gifted. You have to tell them 30 times. And on the 31st, they’ll learn it. And you know what you’ll learn in the meantime?

I shook my head.

“Patience.”

A deputy with whom I work walked into my office on Thursday, and let me know he needed to take some time off, as his only son had been diagnosed “on the autism spectrum.”

It’s hard to be grateful at times like this, but I started out with, “At least now you know.” For a long time, the Fisher-Paulsons didn’t know. We had confused ourselves with a normal family, only to find that there is no such thing as a normal family.

By Kevin Fisher-Paulson, San Francisco Chronicle – March 12, 2018

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LGBT Victory: Supreme Court Allows AZ Same-Sex Parents Decision to Stand

In Victory for LGBT Community, U.S. Supreme Court Allows Decision Ruling Married Same-Sex Parents and Married Different-Sex Parents Must be Treated Equally 

WASHINGTON, DC—The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will not review the decision in McLaughlin v. McLaughlin, an Arizona Supreme Court case that found a woman to be the legal parent of the child she and her same-sex spouse conceived through assisted reproduction during their marriage. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Arizona attorney Claudia Work, and Ropes & Gray LLP represented the mother who sought to be recognized as a parent in this case. Kennedy

As the Arizona Supreme Court recognized, the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith require states to treat married same-sex parents and married different-sex parents equally under the law. The Arizona Supreme Court explained: “It would be inconsistent with Obergefell to conclude that same-sex couples can legally marry but states can then deny them the same benefits of marriage afforded opposite-sex couples.” 

“The U.S. Supreme Court has twice explained in Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith that the U.S. Constitution requires states to provide the exact same rights to same-sex spouses and different-sex spouses,” said NCLR Family Law Director Catherine Sakimura. “States across the country should take careful note of this decision. Discrimination against married same-sex couples will not be tolerated.”

NCLR – February 26, 2017

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All Evidence Shows That Children of Gay Parents Do Just as Well as Their Peers

Multiple studies have been conducted over the years, countless research has been carried out and endless debates have been had, all to show one thing.

That the children of gay parents do just as well as the children of straight parents. The myth that kids need a mum and a dad to have a fulfilled childhood has been repeatedly, conclusively disproved – so why is it still so pervasive?studies show kid of gay parents do great

Such views are ultimately rooted in outdated notions of what constitutes a good upbringing, stemming from conservative ideals of the ‘nuclear family’, with a mum, a dad and 2.4 children. In many cases, objection to LGBT families is motivated by homophobia as well – a belief that there is something different, and therefore undesirable or lacking, about same-sex parenting. But last year, researchers conducted one of the most comprehensive studies into same-sex parenting that has ever been carried out.

Scientists looked into more than three decades worth of peer-reviewed research into how the children in same-sex-parented families did in comparison to their peers from opposite-sex-parented families. The wide-ranging study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia in October 2017, found what had already been shown in multiple previous studies – that the kids do just as well.

Among the studies reviewed were the 2017 public policy research portal at Columbia Law School in the US, which itself looked at 79 studies investigating the well-being of children raised by gay parents; a 2014 American Sociological Association review of more than 40 studies, which found that children fared just as well in a number of areas; and the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ review from 2013, which found that there was no evidence of harm.

Researchers behind the study, titled ‘The Kids are OK: it is Discrimination Not Same-Sex Parents that Harms Children’, said at the time: ‘The findings of these reviews reflects a broader consensus within the fields of family studies and psychology. It is family processes – parenting quality, parental wellbeing, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships in the family – rather than family structures that make a more meaningful difference to children’s wellbeing and positive development.’

They added that studies that had shown poor outcomes for LGBT-parented children had been widely criticised for their limited methodologies.

by Ashtitha Nagesh, February 18, 2018 – Metro.co.uk

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Interracial Gay Family Handbook

When same sex parents create families through transracial adoption, they must find ways to discuss racism, homophobia, instill positive racial identities, and honor their children’s birth culture.

If you don’t know this and what the benefits of transracial adoption are, it is worth considering before adopting. For so many same sex couples, transracial adoption is the best fit. If considering transracial adoption, there are many benefits and situations that should be discussed.interracial

Double Takes and Stares

We are a gay interracial couple – black and white – raising our two boys, black, with our mixed-raced daughter, who looks more white than anything else.

I personally identify with being black, because it carries the same combination of pride, remembrance and regret that “African American” was designed for. Thus, I prefer to raise our boys to also identify with being black. We will let our daughter decide what identity best fits her as she gets older.

Regardless if its black parents adopting white kids or white parents adopting black kids, families like ours typically garner lots of intention when in public.

Since our mixed-race daughter looks white, she and I often get double takes everywhere we go. I prefer to credit those double takes to our daughter’s beauty but reality dictates otherwise. Our first foster-to-adopt son (he has since been placed back with his birth mom) was white.  He and I also received stares wherever we went. I particularly despised the “is he yours” question, which made me feel self consciously black.

My white husband, Paul, receives similar double takes and stares, perhaps more, when he is in public with our black boys. On one occasion, he was approached by an older black woman asking, “where is the mother”? A polite reply would probably be the best response, but we typically respond with “none of your business” or “I am the mother”. Either way, we try to protect our children from such approaches by just removing ourselves from the situation.

Fascination with Hair 

The fascination with touching other people’s hair, particularly strangers, can be both frustrating and annoying. I have had situations where total strangers were fascinated with my boys’ hair because it “looks” and “feels” different. My advice would be to ask the child or their parent before touching his/her hair.

January  28, 2018 daddaddykids.com by Gregory Yorgey-Girdy

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Is America Growing Less Tolerant on L.G.B.T.Q. Rights?

When my sister came out, there was an accordion trio on hand to perform the music of Sly and the Family Stone.

Debutantes in white dresses and boys with matching cummberbunds and bowties drank from the waters of a gurgling champagne fountain. The entire affair, staged in my parents’ old house in Devon, Pa., was an anachronism, to be sure — but as wingdings go, it was tons of fun. It was 1975.

When I came out, in 2002, there wasn’t any party. There were tense meetings with the affirmative action/equal opportunity officer at my place of work; there was a carefully worded statement sent to my colleagues explaining exactly what “transgender” was; there was a series of conversations with my friends, and my mother, and the people whom I loved best, many of whom — in spite of their brave pledges to stand by me — ended those conversations in tears.

That was then.

People who “come out” at debutante parties have been off my radar for a long time now, although apparently they’re still going strong in some quarters. As for L.G.B.T.Q. people, “coming out” has gotten safer in fits and starts, not only in the wake of the Obergefell decision but also in other ways: L.G.B.T.Q. people are now visible in a way that was inconceivable half a generation ago. Most of the people that I thought I had lost after my 2002 unveiling have, miraculously, been returned to me, the intervening years having brought not only forgiveness but also understanding. Since my coming out, our family has thrived, and in the wake of that progress, I have believed that just as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted, the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend toward justice.

Until now.

Last week, GLAAD — the media advocacy group for L.G.B.T.Q. people (of which I was a national co-chairwoman from 2013 to 2017) — released the results of its latest “Accelerating Acceptance” survey at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While the biggest headlines from the forum focused on the fact that the president of the United States managed to get through an event on the world stage without shoving any prime ministers or calling anyone’s country an outhouse, the results of the poll, conducted by Harris, deserve attention as well. They are shocking.

For the first time since the poll began, support for L.G.B.T.Q. people has dropped, in all seven areas that the survey measured. They include “having an L.G.B.T. person at my place of worship” (24 percent of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable), seeing a same-sex couple holding hands (31 percent are uncomfortable) and “learning my child has an L.G.B.T. teacher at school” (37 percent are uncomfortable).

New York Times – by Jennifer Finney Boylan, January 29, 2018

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GPAP (Gay Parenting Assistance Program) Making Gay Parenthood a Wider Reality

For many prospective gay fathers, the path to parenthood through gestational surrogacy can often feel hopeless, financially infeasible and incredibly daunting. GPAP has changed that.

At Men Having Babies, we are committed to helping navigate this winding road, offer financial assistance, and achieve what sometimes feels impossible. Our “Gay Parenting Assistance Program” (GPAP) annually facilitates more than a million dollars worth of grants and free services. Since 2014 we helped more than 500 couples and singles who otherwise would not be fathers today!

Each year more than 1200 prospective fathers attend our educational conference, receive peer guidance, expert advice, and access to reputable providers. We are also very proud of our groundbreaking advocacy for ethical surrogacy practices and higher acceptance of our families, and multiple partnerships with research institutions.

 

 

Click here to learn more about MHB’s GPAP program.

Yet another study finds kids with same-sex parents do just as well as those with straight parents

More than a third of Americans think LGB people should not be able to adopt kids

Kids with same-sex parents are doing just fine, according to a new study.

In news shocking no one but homophobes, the study analyzed data from the American National Health Interview Survey from 2013 to 2015 and proved kids with same-sex parents do just as well as kids with straight parents.

The researchers looked at data for around 21,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17. The survey analyzed the emotional, mental and psychological health of both children and parents.

It’s the latest research in a flood of previous studies proving same-sex parents are just as qualified in raising kids. In fact, some studies suggest they’re even better.

This study found there is no increased difficulties for kids with homosexual partners. It did, however, find kids with bisexual parents had slightly poorer scores.

Researchers then took into account the psychological stress suffered by the parents and the difference vanished.

They theorize this is probably a result of the hardships parents face in a society that stigmatize their sexual orientation.

The authors suggest a ‘more inclusive society might help reduce that stress, and improve the mental wellbeing of kids with bisexual parents.’

Lead author Dr Jerel Calzo, from the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health said: ‘As lesbian, gay, and bisexual parented families become more visible, the findings bolster previous studies revealing that children raised in these families have comparable psychological well-being compared with children raised by heterosexual parents.

‘In addition, the results indicate the need for continued investment in strategies to prevent sexual orientation–based discrimination. And to support sexual minority parents who may experience minority stress,’ he said.

gaystarnews.com, November 10, 2017 by James Besanvalle

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Coming Out in the Trump Era

National Coming Out Day. More important than ever.

Our country feels very different than it did a year ago on the last National Coming Out Day, when the prospect of an LGBTQ-friendly president was still possible. Now, however, the day feels even more like a time for activism and resistance.adoption and surroagcy

As Harvey Milk said, “Coming out is the most political thing you can do.” It is also, of course, one of the most personal. And while some of us may be out to a degree that lets us feel comfortable joining resistance marches, calling our elected officials, or writing op-eds to our local papers, others of us may not. As parents, we may fear the loss of a job that feeds our kids or worry that our kids will be bullied or harassed because of their parents. We may worry about being turned away by child service agencies. Personal and family safety and security is vital, and I cannot tell anyone to ignore that.

Mombian.com, by Dana Rudolph – October 11, 2017

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The evolution of LGBT parenting in the UK: Celebrating a decade of change

Insights in LGBT Parenting in the UK

In the UK, we’re fortunate to live in an open-minded inclusive society, but the law has not always reflected that – as recently as the 1990s, UK legislation actively discriminated against non-traditional families seeking fertility treatment to become parents. But the past 15 years spans a legal and social revolution for same-sex parents, and it is now easier than ever before for LGBT parents to start a family in the UK.lgbt parenting in the UK

As the UK marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality (following the Sexual Offences Act 1967), here is an overview of some of the key milestones in the journey to increase access to family-building options for same-sex couples:

1990: the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act introduced regulation for UK fertility clinics. Under the new law, fertility clinics had to consider a child’s ‘need for a father’ before offering treatment, aiming to restrict fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples.

2004: the Civil Partnership Act created – in all but name – marriage for same-sex couples, giving property, pension, inheritance and other benefits to couples who registered as civil partners.

2005: same-sex partners were allowed to adopt their partner’s children, and couples were allowed to adopt unrelated children together. For the first time, children in the UK could have legal parents of the same sex.

2008: following a review of 1990 laws, fertility clinics no longer had to consider the child’s “need for a father”, and it was made clear they should not discriminate against same-sex couples. New parenthood laws also enabled female same-sex couples to be recorded on their children’s birth certificates together if they conceived through sperm donation, and enabled male same-sex couples to apply for a parental order (giving them a birth certificate recording them both as their child’s legal parents) if they conceived through surrogacy.

2015: same-sex parents with a child born through surrogacy were given the right to adoption leave (so that one parent could claim the equivalent to maternity leave and pay, and the other paternity leave and pay).

2016: a key High Court decision ruled that the law discriminated unfairly against single parents who conceived through surrogacy. In response, the government announced plans to change the law to allow single parents – as well as couples – to become the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy.

What does the future hold?

We have come a long way over the past 15 years, but we are not quite there yet. There remains problems with the law on surrogacy, and for birth certificates for transgender and multiple-parent families.

by Natalie Gamble – gaystarnews.com, September 29, 2017

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Judge Analyzes Tax Deduction for Gay Parenthood in His First Opinion

“This is a tax case. Fear not, keep reading.”

So began the first published opinion of Judge Kevin Newsom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last month. As Newsom viewed it, the dispute over Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code required a detailed analysis of the birds and the bees.

At issue was an appeal by a gay man who maintained the Internal Revenue Service should have granted a $9,539 tax refund for $36,000 in medical services he funded in 2011 trying to conceive a baby through in vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother. Joseph F. Morrissey claimed the tax code allowed the deduction and the IRS violated his equal protection rights by denying it.tax deduction

The IRS rejected the claim on the grounds Morrissey’s medical expenses didn’t meet the definitions of Section 213, which allows deductions for medical care of a “taxpayer, his spouse, or a dependent.”

Morrissey sued, but U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara in Tampa ruled for the IRS. The Eleventh Circuit held oral argument on Aug. 24. Newsom, Circuit Judge Charles Wilson and visiting U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno of Miami affirmed a month later.

In the 25-page ruling, Newsom dissected the tax code as it applied to human reproduction. He noted the code defined “medical care” as “amounts paid … for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.”

Morrissey’s brief argued, “Because reproduction is a bodily function, the medical procedures employing Morrissey’s sperm to assist his biological conception of a child affected a function of his body. Morrissey therefore satisfies the statutory standard, as do the heterosexuals for whom the IRS allows the deduction of the very expenses denied here.”

But in the opinion, Newsom used Webster’s dictionary definitions of “affect” and “function” to rephrase Morrissey’s claim to show its failings: that his expenses for egg donation and surrogacy were incurred “for the purpose of materially influencing or altering (i.e., “affecting”) an action for which Mr. Morrissey’s own body is specifically fitted, used, or responsible (i.e., his body’s “function.”)

That position “mistakes the entire reproductive process for his own body’s specific function within that process,” Newsom added.

He offered “a primer on the science of human reproduction,” starting with asexual organisms and leading in humans to “the bottom line: the male body’s distinctive function in the reproductive process is limited and discrete” to providing healthy sperm.

If the $1,500 Morrissey spent on providing that sperm for the in vitro process had been a sufficient percentage of his adjusted gross income, those expenses could have been deducted, Newsom wrote. But the rest of the $36,000 spent on conception and surrogacy in 2011 didn’t affect Morrissey’s own reproductive function, so they couldn’t be deducted from his income.

On Morrissey’s equal protection claim, Newsom held that, although procreation is generally considered a fundamental right, procreating through in vitro fertilization of eggs from an unrelated third-party donor and the use of a surrogate is not.