Monday, August 29, 2016

[Australia] Out Takes on JOY 94.9 - Feature on Gay Dads & Fathers Day

Hi All

Tonight on OUT TAKES, the JOY 94.9 program that explores queer file against the broader cultural, political and cinematic landscape - they are talking all things Gay Dads in Cinema - WOO-HOO!!!

And yours truly will be dropping in to have a chat about how our families are represented in movies.

Tune in tonight on JOY 94.9 from 7 to 8pm to listen.

Find Out More at JOY 94.9

[Australia] Victorian Rainbow Families Council AGM - 11 September 2016 - Be there!

This just in from our great friends at the Rainbow Families Council:

"We look forward to seeing you at our AGM on Sunday 11 September, 2pm to 4pm at Mark Street Hall, 1 Mark St, North Fitzroy.

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) includes the amazing Cath Jamison Magic Show for everyone, plus, while the kids are making magic wands and learning tricks, a speaker and discussion on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our families in the event of a marriage equality plebiscite.

Please consider joining or renewing your membership of Rainbow Families: sign up for an individual ($10), family or organisational ($20) membership.

Click to join via our secure link:
Register Now

Current, new and renewing members will go in a draw to win fabulous prizes drawn on the day!

Nominations are warmly invited for the 2016-17 RFC committee. You can call Felicity on 0411 593 607 with any questions about being a committee member or email us on info@rainbowfamilies.org.au

The Notice, Agenda, nomination and proxy forms for our Annual General Meetings can be found here: http://www.rainbowfamilies.org.au/ 

See you there!
The 2016 RFC Caretaker Committee
August 27 2016

Of course we at Gay Dads Australia encourage all our Victorian followers to get involved with the truly excellent Rainbow Families Council.

[USA] Maryland tries to strengthen foster care for gay and transgender youths

"Maryland officials are taking steps to create a more welcoming foster-care system for gay, bisexual and transgender children and adolescents, including screening homes for possible bias and providing sensitivity training to case workers.

The policy directive issued this month by the state Department of Human Resources prohibits conversion therapy and urges foster parents of transgender children to call them by their preferred pronouns and to allow them to dress and groom accordingly.

“We want to be prepared to be able to support the children along their journey in a way that’s supportive and not punitive,” said Rebecca Jones-Gaston, executive director of social services in the HR department, which oversees the foster-care system in partnership with county agencies."

Continue Reading at the Washington Post

Sunday, August 28, 2016

[Australia] "State government begins righting a ridiculous wrong" by Farrah Tomazin



I expect to see a number of articles leading up to 1 September 2016 relating to the upcoming "Adoption" law reform start in Victoria.  Here is one from The Age by Farrah Tomazin.

"Think of it as history made. From Thursday, same-sex couples will officially have adoption rights in Victoria, when new laws that passed state parliament last December finally come into effect.

Think of it, too, as a policy no-brainer. Until now, gay couples could become foster carers but weren't allowed to jointly adopt the children in their care, nor could they adopt their partner's child from a previous relationship. This week, years of discrimination is at last consigned to history's dustbin – which is exactly where it belongs.

But while adoption equality is enshrined in law for same sex-couples, the fact is the rest of the Adoption Act largely remains in the dark ages, failing to reflect contemporary attitudes and values, let alone the notion of a "modern family".

Continue Reading at The Age

[USA] "These Two Dads Almost Lost Their Son In A Bizarre Surrogacy Case"

"Jay Timmons and Rick Olson thought they’d have no legal trouble using a surrogate to birth their son. Then a rogue judge in Wisconsin pulled them into an 11-month legal battle.

Jay Timmons and Rick Olson, a married gay couple from Virginia, didn’t think they’d have any trouble becoming the legal parents of the baby boy who their surrogate, a Wisconsin woman, delivered for them last year.

They had gotten the frozen embryo that became their son as a gift from straight friends whose in vitro fertilization created more embryos than they could use. They had chosen a Wisconsin surrogate specifically because the state’s Supreme Court had upheld surrogacy, and other same-sex couples had had smooth sailing there. And by just about any measure, the two intended fathers were prime parent material: They both had good jobs, they had been together for 25 years, and they were already raising two daughters from previous surrogacies.

But their careful plans went awry the month before their son, Jacob, was born, when their effort to be named his legal parents landed before a conservative judge who saw surrogacy as a form of human trafficking. Over the next 11 months, the couple’s bizarre legal battle cost more than $400,000 and kept them in constant terror of losing their son.

“We didn’t have one night’s peace,’’ Timmons, 54, a conservative Christian and president of the National Association of Manufacturers, told BuzzFeed News. “We’d wake up absolutely panicked, around 2 in the morning, and talk about the fact that we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

The couple took out second and third mortgages to cover the legal fees, and Olson, 49, quit his job as a federal lobbyist for Capital One to manage the proceedings.

Over the last couple of years, a handful of high-profile surrogacy lawsuits have cropped up in U.S. courts. In California, a surrogate named Melissa Cook refused a man’s wishes to abort one of the triplets she was carrying for him. And in a Pennsylvania, The View co-host Sherri Shepherd tried, unsuccessfully, to pull out of a contract with a pregnant surrogate after splitting up with her husband.

But the Wisconsin case is likely unprecedented, legal experts say, in that the surrogate, her husband, and the intended parents were all happy with their arrangement. Only the judge was not.
The case was a “judicial hijacking,” Melissa Brisman, a surrogacy lawyer in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News. “We’re at a time when a lot of people are still very committed to the idea that family values means straight married couples who have sex are the only ones who should have babies.”


Saturday, August 27, 2016

[Canada] Murky regulation allows foreign parents to crowd out Canadian families looking for surrogacy



Canada has been an option for surrogacy for a considerable period of time, however with India, Thailand, Nepal, Mexico etc all closing their doors - intended parents are often looking for a less expensive (compared to the US) option for surrogacy.  Surrogacy in Canada for international intended parents (especially from Australia) is on the rise.

The CBC News site in Canada has an interesting (an perhaps a little alarmist) article on surrogacy in Canada.  It is worth a read.

Norwegian Hilde Reva is in Ottawa this week, awaiting the final legal paperwork that will make Canadian-born baby Julie hers.  

Ottawa surrogate delivers 5th baby to foreign parents

Baby Julie began as an embryo fertilized by Reva's husband Christian, shipped to Toronto last year from Europe and implanted into the womb of a Canadian surrogate mother, Amy Cameron.

Cameron delivered the child at an Ottawa birthing centre, her medical expenses for the delivery covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Until the lawyers finish their work, eight-week-old Julie is Cameron's baby, not Reva's. And in the eyes of the Canadian government, the child is a Canadian citizen.

It all speaks to the complicated and murky rules around surrogacy for foreign families, surrogates and Canadian taxpayers.

Canada's surrogacy laws: wild west

With a recent boom in the number of foreign families looking to Canadian surrogates, advocates say it's time to end the "wild west" of Canada's surrogacy regime.


Friday, August 26, 2016

[Australia] Wear It Purple Day

Did you know that TODAY is "Wear it Purple" Day.  Well, what is that all about I hear you ask!

Gay Dads Australia PROUDLY Supports Wear it Purple Day - And YOU should to.  And we have gone PURPLE today!



Who We Are

We are young people changing the world.

We are young people working for young people.

What We Stand For

Every young person is unique, important and worthy of love.

No one should be subject to bullying, belittlement and invalidation.

We believe in a world in which every young person can thrive, irrelevant of sex, sexuality or gender identity.

What We Want

We want rainbow young people to be safe, supported and empowered in each of their environments.

You CAN Support Wear it Purple day more than just donning a Purple Vest - Check out their page on how you can support this youth lead project. Click HERE

Find Out More Here

[USA] Groups encourage more gay couples to adopt children, be foster parents

The USA takes a somewhat different approach to adoption than we do in Australia.  Here the foster care system dominates, but in the USA there is an approach to adopt kids from similar situations.  It is an interesting comparison - especially if you are GLTBI and wanting to start a family.

"With same-sex marriage widely accepted a year after it was legalized by the Supreme Court, some community groups are hoping less rigid attitudes will prompt more gay and lesbian couples to consider fostering or adopting a child.

"Across the country and especially in Illinois, we just don't have enough people who have stepped forward, and we think that in the (LGBT) community there are people who would be good parents," said Susan McConnell, founder and director of Let It Be Us, a local nonprofit adoption and foster care advocacy group.

Let It Be Us and other adoption and foster agencies have joined forces with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to hold workshops that provide encouragement and advice to potential gay and lesbian parents.

There are 17,019 children in foster care in Illinois — about 6,100 of those children are being cared for by people who are not relatives. And on any given day, about 1,000 children are available for adoption, according to DCFS.

Dawnn Pirani-Brumfield, 38, and her wife, Rachel, 37, of South Deering, are in the process of adopting 13-year-old Alicia, who describes herself as gender nonconforming.

"When she came in, she just thought it was the best thing ever that we were married and we were same gender and she felt that she was going to be safer with us in her own gender expression and sexuality," Rachel Pirani-Brumfield said.

Rachel Pirani-Brumfield also splits custody of her biological daughter, Zosia, 17, with her ex-husband, and she and Dawnn Pirani-Brumfield hope to adopt more children — specifically LGBT youth. The couple took the first step toward fostering another child in a recent meeting, Dawnn Pirani-Brumfield said".

Continue reading here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

[Australia] Queensland - Adoption Foster Care and the Rights of the Child - Andrew Shaw with Stephen Page

The Eminent Family Lawyer (and surrogacy expert) Stephen Page is interviewed by Andrew Shaw of the Gay News Network today. And it is a great interview giving a lot of clarity to what the proposed adoption reforms in Queensland will actually mean.


Read the full Q and A interview here.

What impact will legalising adoption for same-sex couples and singles have on the numbers of adoptions in Queensland?
Barnardos Australia suggests the new laws should encourage open adoption, do you agree?
If adoption becomes legal for same-sex couples and singles in Queensland, will it make it easier for LGBT long term foster carers to adopt? 
What are the barriers to adoption for long-term foster carers? What rights do the biological parents have? Whose rights predominate?What rights do foster carers not have that would be remedied if they could adopt? 
You said it’s very difficult for long-term foster carers to adopt. Why is that? What is NSW doing that we aren’t?
If it could be proven that the biological parents are happy with open adoption, would that be a win-win situation for everyone?
You make the point that stability is an issue with some foster children. Shouldn’t the law focus on the children’s best interests?
Read the full Q and A interview here.

[Australia] "Former MP threatens to distribute millions of anti-marriage equality pamphlets"

This is what a Plebiscite is going to do.  This is the sort of hateful, evil, vile rubbish that is going to be produced. And it is going to be aimed at our families.  At our children.  At LGBTIQ kids.  It is disgusting.  It is scary.  If you can read the article without hitting the screen or throwing your i-device across the room.....click here to read the Guardian piece.

[Australia] LGBTIQ Families Spoilt for Choice with Support & News Groups

As many will have noticed after a 6month (or so) quiet period I have finally got back to regular posting GLBTI parenting news on the Gay Dads Australia website here at www.gaydadsaustralia.com.au.

If you are interested in following this sort of news there are several options

Gay Dads Australia

Twitter: @gaydadsoz
Facebook: Global Gay and Lesbian Parenting News - https://www.facebook.com/groups/127489097411121/
Facebook: Gay Dads Australia - https://www.facebook.com/groups/12297564579/

If Twitter / Facebook is your thing I also recommend following JOY 94.9's newest program Family Matters 
Twitter: @familymatters94 

And of course you should be following Rainbow Families

Also


You are all amazingly spoilt for choice and all supported by passionate volunteers right around the country.

Makes me all warm and fuzzy knowing how many people are out there supporting our families.

Cheers

Rodney Chiang-Cruise | 江克魯斯

[Australia] Australia's Changing Attitudes to Adoption - How are Gays and Lesbians Affected? by Andrew Shaw

Adoption is on the cards in Queensland (and not before time!).  Our friend Andrew Shaw at Gay News Network looks into the issues around this (and I even get quoted!)
"Andrew Shaw looks at issues around adoption in Australia, and specifically how proposed new laws in Queensland could benefit gay and lesbian carers...
At the start of August, when the Queensland government announced that the state’s laws would be amended to allow same-sex couples and singles to adopt, the response on social media was ecstatic – and bemused.
If gays and lesbians were trusted to take on responsibilities for children and adoption laws could be passed without a plebiscite, what was the problem with marriage equality? In many people’s minds the two issues are linked. But marriage has nothing to do with children in the eyes of the law, says Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia.
“While this is great news on many, many levels, practically it’s not going to make a huge difference immediately,” he says of the Queensland announcement. “But going forward five, ten, fifteen years, it may be quite a significant piece of legislation.”
The fact is, adoption in Australia has been steadily falling for some time. Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show 292 adoptions were finalised in 2014-15, the lowest annual number of adoptions on record.
The history of adoption in Australia went through a conservative period in the 1970s and 80s due to the legacy of the stolen generation. Instead of adoption, foster care was considered the solution. Parents were still parents, but did not have to be responsible for child care on a daily basis. According to adoption agency Barnardos Australia, some 40,000 Australian children rely on foster care, and agencies have been fostering out children to gay and lesbian carers for decades".

[Australia] "What It's Like to Chestfeed" - Transmen and Feeding Infants

This is a very interesting piece just up on the SBS Sexuality website on "What It's Like to Chestfeed".     I don't want to preempt this very interesting piece by the byline gives a bit of a guide : "The many obstacles trans men and other transmasculine people run into when feeding infants".

It is a great read.  Click here to continue reading

[Australia] Support SAFE SCHOOLS in New South Wales

It is such a pain in the arse that we have to constantly fight for equality for ourselves and our kids.  But it is a small burden if it helps make a difference.  You can help right now by visiting Penny Sharpe's website here and signing the Support Safe Schools petition for NSW.

Click HERE.

[Israel] Gay adoption of child born through surrogacy possible without paternity test

In Australia, gay men (indeed all couples) who do surrogacy overseas and return back to Australia, return to find that they are NOT the legal parents of their child.  Australia does not recognize an overseas court order in this regard and as a consequence still makes the legal assumption that the surrogate and her partner are the "legal parents".  Currently, in Australia there is no mechanism to change this (with perhaps an exception in Western Australia).

Unfortunately, the upcoming Adoption Law reform in Victoria which was touted as being a great thing for gay dads who did surrogacy overseas - is actually not useful at all.  It simply doesn't cover them.  Gay Dads in Australia (who did overseas commercial /compensated surrogacy) will continue to not be recognized by the law as legal parents.

But in Israel....progress is being made:

Children born through surrogacy abroad can be adopted by homosexual couples without a paternity test, the Tel Aviv Family Court says in a ruling that jumped into a gap left by a 2014 decision by the High Court of Justice.

The decision, handed down on Sunday but announced by the court spokesperson only on Tuesday, potentially streamlines in a substantial way the legal process for homosexual adoption of children born through surrogacy abroad, an increasing trend for gay couples to avoid Israel’s more complex and drawn out process.

Read More Here.