Thursday, September 18, 2014

[USA] "Looking Back on Two Decades of Helping Gay Men Have Kids" by Dr Guy Ringler

Many gay dads in Australia will have had the pleasure of working with the very professional Dr Guy Ringler in the creation of their families.  Here is piece from Dr Ringler talking about his time helping gay men have kids. Enjoy!

This summer, I was finally able to legally marry my partner in our home state of California. After 14 years, it was fulfilling to be surrounded by family and pledge a lifelong commitment to the man with whom I'll spend the rest of my life. It's been a long road to marriage equality, and it seems we're still only halfway there.

For the last two decades I've been on another fulfilling journey with our community. It's made fewer headlines than our fight for marriage rights, but it's been so important for so many families just now finding that legal recognition.

Almost 20 years ago, I was approached by a young gay couple about having a baby through surrogacy. The future fathers wanted their child to share their genetics by combining the sperm of one partner with the eggs of the other partner's sister. Their neighbor had agreed to be their surrogate and carry the pregnancy.

This was new ground for me: I had never been approached by a gay couple interested in having a child through surrogacy. It was a new frontier for the entire reproductive community. In the early 1990s, same-sex marriage and family-building were pipe dreams, something not even fantasy movies would touch on.

At the same time, I was inspired. Even as a gay physician I had struggled with leaving behind the dream of having kids because I was gay. During that time, part of a gay man's acceptance of his sexuality had included giving up the idea of having kids. For both my parents and me, it was a hard truth to accept.

Then along came this couple with a vision for a family I thought wasn't possible. I was inspired, honored and impassioned to help these two young men build the family they so very much wanted.

Continue Reading at HuffPost

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[US] "Confessions of a Gay Dad: The Pressure to Have Two Kids" by Frank Lowe

An interesting piece from Frank Lowe (aka @GayAtHomeDad) in The Advocate. 

Before we adopted our son, we purchased a decent-size home that could theoretically house four kids and us. We used to tell people that we were going to adopt twice and then do surrogacy until we reached the magic number of four. People jokingly called us Angelina and Brad, and we agreed and laughed along with them. Then we adopted one child, and all of that changed.

In the beginning, we just enjoyed him as a baby and got used to our new addition. It was all very manageable. I met my group of mom friends and we scheduled fun play dates – which consisted of us sitting around drinking wine while the babies rolled around on a blanket. Adorable. Easy. Our son slept incredibly well for an infant, so I didn’t have to experience many sleepless nights (partially due to the fact that he was formula-fed). Really, the first couple years were a blast and a fabulous foray into parenthood. Then he hit two.

Continue Reading at The Advocate

[UK] "Parenting is parenting regardless of sexuality, says gay former Corrie star Charlie Condou"

Former Coronation Street star Charlie Condou has said that his family is just like any other despite its unconventional set-up.

The actor, 41, who played Marcus Dent in the Manchester soap, has a three-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter and is bringing them up with his boyfriend.

The children spend half their time living with their two fathers and the other half with their biological mother.

Condou tells the new Radio 4 documentary Same Sex Parents: "The fact is that parenting is parenting, regardless of your sexuality.

"When you're a parent, you keep your sexuality away from your kids.

"There have always been gay parents, but people tend to be more open about it these days."

Radio Times says that the actor tells the show: "All the children I know from same-sex families are doing really well.

"But I don't imagine that's got anything to do with their parents' sexuality. It's probably to do with all sorts of other things, just like any family."

Read More at Manchester Evening News

[USA] "Fear of Russia’s anti-gay laws keeps parents from seeing son compete" by Luke Decock

Jordan Windle, center with his adoptive father Jerry Windle,
right, and Jerry Windle's partner Andres Rodriguez.
Russia's anti-gay hate laws extend beyond their borders.  That is the problem with hate - it infects broadly.  But this is still a wonderful story about Jordan.

Watching on his computer screen from thousands of miles away, Jerry Windle saw his son Jordan follow the U.S. flag into the opening ceremonies for the World Junior Diving Championships on Monday. He could see Jordan smile, a message he knew was meant for him, that everything was OK, even though he wasn’t there.

It was as heartbreaking as it was comforting, because if it was anywhere but Penzi, Russia, Jerry Windle would be there. Instead, this modern family of two gay dads and adopted son will be apart during one of the most important weeks of Jordan’s life, out of fear of Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Jordan Windle, 15, is a potential 2016 Olympian who lives in Morrisville and trains at Duke. Jerry Windle adopted him from a Cambodian orphanage as a single father when Jordan was 18 months old.

Read more here

[USA] "You Don't Tell Your Friends You Have Two Dads?" by Ian Colvin

This is an interesting and sweet piece, that many of us "gay dads" can relate to.  Enjoy!

"No."

It wasn't the answer I was expecting. I asked again.

"You don't tell your friends at daycare you have two dads?"

"No!"

I had no idea how to respond.

Ever since our kids were born, we've tried to help them understand and be proud of the fact that their family looks a bit different than others. We've read all the bedtime stories: Daddy, Papa and Me, A Tale of Two Daddies and, of course, And Tango Makes Three. We've also joined a few gay parent groups so our kids could meet other families like theirs. But with two active kids, we don't always have time to attend "gay parent" get-togethers.

I asked one more time. "You don't?"

"No!"

I started to wonder if we'd made a mistake switching our son to a new daycare last fall. It was rated one of the top daycares in the community and right next to the elementary school our kids were going to attend. When we received a call that a spot was available, we had less than 24 hours to decide to take it. Maybe we hadn't thought it through completely.

Continue Reading at HuffPost

Monday, September 15, 2014

[USA] "US state of Wisconsin grants second same-sex stepparent adoption" by David Hudson

A lesbian couple in Dane County have been granted permission to adopt each other’s children – while a final decision is still pending from the US Supreme Court on same-sex marriage in the state.

Although same-sex marriage in Wisconsin remains barred for the time being, two judges in the state have granted adoptions that recognize the marriage of same-sex couples. Adoptions by same-sex couples have previously been illegal in the State.

A ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin was overruled in June when federal Judge Barbara Crabb said that the ban was unconstitutional. Over 500 same-sex couples rushed to take advantage of their legal ability to marry.

Read More at Gay Star News

[Australia] New South Wales - "Gay Dads NSW Father's Day catch up" by Ashley Scott

Ashley Scott
Gay Dads NSW
Ashley Scott from Gay Dads NSW sent us a short update on the recent Gay Dads Father's Day picnic in New South Wales.  Thanks Ashley!

Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us in Sydney for Father's Day. It was threatening rain all morning. We decided to risk getting wet and thankfully the rain held off.

The weather meant we had less Dads and children than we hoped for. We still had a great turn out of about 20 Dads and the same number of children.

Our community is very diverse and so was our group of Dads which is great. There were a few Dads with pregnant surrogates, some Dads with children born through surrogacy in India, Thailand and the US. As well as some Dads with their adopted children, and a Dad with his daughter who he co-parents.

The Gay Dad’s catch ups are a great way for Dads to share their stories and experiences with other Dads - a good opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

It is also a fantastic chance for our children to make friends with other children who’s families look like theirs.

Hopefully the weather will be better for our Christmas get together in December. Keep and eye out for details.

[Canada] "Dads' Housework Inspires Girls' Ambitions" by Ann Lukits

This seems like important and interesting research for gay dads. It has a wonderful applicability to those gay male parented families who have female children.  What a wonderful by-product of our families if having male parents doing housework inspires or encourages our girls to aspire to careers and occupations outside the gender norms.

"Fathers Who Helped With Household Chores Were More Likely to Have Daughters Who Aspired to Less Traditionally Feminine Occupations

Fathers who help with the dishes and laundry may play an important role in shaping their daughters' future, suggests a study in the August issue of Psychological Science.

Researchers found that fathers who performed an equal share of household chores were more likely to have daughters who aspired to less traditionally feminine occupations, such as astronaut, marine biologist, geologist, police officer and professional hockey or soccer player.

Fathers who believed in gender equality and yet left most of the housework to mothers had daughters who favored more traditionally feminine careers, such as nursing, fashion designer, librarian and stay-at-home mom.

By pitching in at home, fathers may be signaling to daughters that they can expect men to help with chores, allowing women more time for work, researchers said.

From 2011 to 2012, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, recruited 172 boys and 154 girls, ages 7 to 13, from a local science center and at least one of the 204 mothers and 140 fathers who were present.

The division of labor in each household and the attitudes of parents and children toward domestic chores were assessed with questionnaires. Children's career aspirations were assessed.

On average, mothers reported doing 68.2% of child care and housework, compared with 42.2% reported by fathers, but fathers spent twice as many hours at paid jobs. Both parents shared domestic chores equally in less than 15% of households. Two-thirds of fathers and 14.4% of mothers reported inconsistencies in their beliefs about gender roles and the example they set at the home.

Girls were more likely to envision themselves working outside the home, as engineers, paleontologists and medical researchers, for example, if both parents held less traditional beliefs. But it was the father's day-to-day participation in daily chores that predicted girls' unconventional career aspirations.

Boys aspired to traditional male careers such as surgeon, engineer and CEO, regardless of their parents' beliefs or the division of labor at home".

Read More at WSJ

[Australia] "Australian couples caught in Thailand's surrogacy crackdown" by Lindsay Murdoch (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Drama continues to engulf Thailand's surrogacy industry.

The country's military-dominated parliament has moved to legislate to stop the practice, except in cases involving relatives, after Fairfax Media revealed the plight of baby Gammy in August.
Officials from Australia and Thailand remain locked in talks on a transition process aimed at allowing more than 150 Australian couples  who have arrangements with Thai surrogates to take their babies home.

But Thai officials have warned Bangkok authorities will enforce a requirement  that foreign couples obtain a court order to allow them to leave the country with their babies, which could take months".

Read More at Sydney Morning Herald

[USA] First Look at New Independent Film "Paternity Leave"

There is a new film in the making called "Paternity Leave" that will likely appeal to many of us gay dads.  The film synopsis says: "Greg (Jacob York) finds out that he's pregnant with his partner Ken's (Charlie David) baby. Dumbstruck by the news, their relationship takes twists and turns through hardship and hilarity, while we're left wondering if they're going to make it through the most unexpected and difficult period of their lives together".

The films stars Chris Salvatore and Charlie David (from "the Cove"). Check out the trailer/short below.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

[USA] "Same sex couple raising daughter in modern day family" by Amy DuPont

"The National Council on Family Relations says kids who grow up in two parent households are more successful than children raised by single parents. The participate in fewer risky behaviors, do better in school, and as adults, typically earn more money. Their research doesn't say whether those benefits are the result of marriage or simply having two parents in the home.  

An Onalaska couple, who hopes to someday marry, believes they can raise a successful, loving child either way. 

Like most other 7-year-olds, doing chores doesn't top Olivia's list of fun things to do. Still, the Onalaska second grader knows taking on responsibility is an important part of growing up. So is being kind, respectful, honest, as well as brave. All of the things Olivia's two moms try to teach her to be.

After ten years together Tina Buchal and Kelly Konrardy wanted to grow their family of two to three. The couple thought long and hard about bringing a child into a same sex family. They worried about what a sometimes insensitive society would say to them, and more importantly to their child. The women believed they could be great parents. "We knew she would be loved," said Kelly. 

With the help of in vitro fertilization and a sperm donor, Tina gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Moments after Olivia's birth, the "what if's" of gay parenting seemed to fade away. "When you're a parent, you're a parent. You're not thinking throughout the day 'I'm a straight parent or I'm a gay parent.' We do have the same struggle and we're just trying to do the best we can." explains Tina.

Tina and Kelly split the duties of parenting equally. Both enjoy their alone time with Olivia as well as their time together. The couple says they have the support of relatives and friends and even their church. Olivia's young classmates also seem to accept this modern day family. "A lot of her friends don't even think about her having two moms as anything different because they might have a mom and a step-mom or a dad and a step-dad."
Still, there are some things love and acceptance can't conquer. Because Tina and Kelly cannot legally wed, the law doesn't consider Kelly Olivia's parent. Kelly is Olivia's guardian; not enough to guarantee Kelly keep custody of Olivia if something were to happen to Tina. "It's a pretty scary thing for me knowing we did everything we can do, but it might not be enough."

Just like every other parent, gay or straight, married or not, Olivia's moms are doing the best they can. "We know she will have struggles when she gets older, but if we give her that good foundation of love and confidence and bravery and that she knows she always has a safe place to come to, then you just kind of send them out."    

Gay marriage is currently illegal in Wisconsin. An appeals court overturned the law as unconstitutional in June, but the ruling has been put on hold pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.  If gay marriage becomes legal in Wisconsin, Tina and Kelly say they would marry. Not only would their marriage make Kelly an equal parent in the eyes of the law, but the couple says it's important for their daughter to hear her moms make a public commitment to each other."

Read More at WXOW

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[Australia] Rainbow Families Council AGM 2014 - Victoria 14 September 2014

RAINBOW FAMILIES COUNCIL AGM 2014

This Sunday 14 September - 2.30 to 4.30pm - Jika Jika Community Centre, Plant St Northcote.

All ages Hip Hop class (for the kids while we hold the AGM) and a parenting panel for grown ups. Then we’ll all learn some moves together!

Free posters, afternoon tea and the venue has a fenced playground and toys for young children and toddlers too.

You can join on the day to be eligible to vote.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

[Australia] Gay Dads Father's Day Picnic - Botanical Gardens - Melbourne

Today was the 10th annual Gay Dads Father's day picnic at the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. It started and stayed as a relatively small affair for many years.  But this year, this 10th year, was different.  It was a huge event.  Maybe it was because it was more heavily promoted, maybe because there are simply so many more gay male parented families (and those who want to be dads) around - whatever the reason, the event has become a bit of institution.


We had gay dads from surrogacy, co-parenting, previous straight relationships and fostering all there.  Some with babies barely 4 months old to kids on the edge of their teen years.  Dads from the city and country and all the places in between.  We welcomed new friends from as far away as South Africa and Brazil. And we welcomed new friends from New South Wales recently relocated down south.

Why do we hold this picnic every year? There are a few reasons.

We do it to celebrate Father's Day, regardless of how we become fathers, we do it collectively enjoy a day of celebration and fun.

We do it to build a community amongst gay dads.  To ensure there is support and friendship.

We do it to encourage and share our experiences with those gay guys who are starting down the path of creating their family.  Showing them what is possible.

But for me, above all these incredibly important reasons, there is one reason which out shines all.  We do it so our children will grow up knowing that they are not the only kids with gay male parents. That they are in fact part of a great and growing community of gay male parented families.

Over the years we have seen our children grow up together, and even those who only see each other a few times a years, seeing them come together and play, form friendships, laugh, kick balls, climb trees, play tiggie - all those things gives us amazing satisfaction.  We know our kids are OK.  We know they are more than OK.

Our family had a great day today.  I am sorry if I didn't get a chance to chat to everyone, there are simply so many of you!!!  But from what I can tell, all the dads and kids had fun, made new friends and enjoyed the picnic in perfect weather.

For those who couldn't make it. and for those guys who are interested in becoming dads, put next years Father's Day picnic in your diary now.

For those who know of CHILL OUT at Daylesford, you may want to think about coming up for a day or a weekend next CHILL OUT.  Many Gay Dad families head up there each CHILL OUT.  The Carnival day is a great day to catch up.  We will be there again in 2015.

Attached are a selection of photos from the picnic.  Sorry for the families who missed out on the photo.  We had to choose a time to do it and I know some people had already left and many others hadn't arrived.  Not an easy job getting everyone in a single shot!

Again, thank you to everyone who came today.  It is you who make days like today a success.  A special thank you to all the new guys (and kids) that came for the first time.  An extra special thanks to Jeff Chiang-CruiseLee Matthews and Adrian Perillo, all of who are great ambassadors for Gay Dads and help make these events happen.






















Cheers
Rodney Chiang-Cruise

Saturday, September 6, 2014

[US] "When Gay Dads Divorce" by David Toussaint

This is very interesting read from David Toussaint.

Many gay men never thought they would see the day they could marry and have children.  Gays With Kids writer David Toussaint tells the story of some who also never thought they would end up divorced raising kids alone. 

With gay marriage and partnerships, it was inevitable that gay break-ups would soon occur. It was also inevitable that many of these dissolutions would involve children. Gay men are discovering a new situation, one that has plagued our heterosexual counterparts for ages: raising kids alone. Here we talk with three men who are raising children alone or mostly alone, and who never intended that to be the scenario when they had children. Sound familiar? It’s like half of our parents. 

Richard, 50, is a New York freelance photographer who is raising a seven-year-old girl without his ex-partner. The couple adopted the child before gay marriage was legal in New York, but they were registered as domestic partners. Richard’s ex-partner developed a severe drug addiction and the relationship ended. After his ex gave up his legal rights, Richard obtained sole custody of the child. 

“It’s not what I expected ten years ago,” he says. “We did everything right; the house in the country, the apartment in the city, the child. I had no idea that my ex had any addictions when we moved in together. He became terrifying and it had to end. And I had to take my girl.” 

Richard still has the home and the same apartment, but his life as a parent has changed drastically. “I do everything myself, and I have a high-stress job. I am often shooting from four in the morning till midnight, and there used to be someone else to take care of her when I was busy.” 

Read More at the Good Men Project

[US] "Why I Write as a 'Gay Dad' Rather Than Simply as a 'Dad'" by Rob Watson

Another wonderful piece from Gay Dad Rob Watson.  He always has something entertaining and insightful to say.  We are lucky to have him to write what many of us think and experience.  Thank you Rob!

I was thrilled when a friend of mine, Henry Amador, blogger and founder of Dadsquared, addressed the topic of being a gay dad in a blog post. He captures the essence of the extra effort that most of us who are gay dads have put in to become fathers when he writes:

[N]ow we too are grown. We finally fit into our skins. We have passed your foolish tests and questions with flying colors. If we made it and we are here and we have children that call us dads then we have leapt over hurdles never imagined. We, like all other groups that have suffered at the hands of another, have risen above it. We have taken ownership of who and what we are. We have come to identify with what we are. We have come to be proud of what we are. So you ask, why do I call my self a Gay dad? Well because I made it and that is what I am.

I felt moved by his words and related to them. I felt compelled to share them, and soon thereafter I was being called on to defend them. A fellow blogger and supporter of equal rights sent me a text that read, "Where does the battle end? Isn't the ultimate victory call to call yourself a dad -- without a qualifier?"

Read More at Huffington Post