Friday, July 4, 2014

[Australia] New & Significant Research of Same Sex Parented Families by Dr Simon Crouch

Dr Simon Crouch
Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey

Dr Simon Crouch, along with co-authors Elizabeth Waters, Ruth McNair, Jennifer Power and Elise Davis have just published a journal article entitled "Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey". BMC Public Health 2014, 14:635.

Dr Crouch has been at the centre of this large and comprehensive study known as ACHESS (Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families) and this paper details how well children of same-sex parented families are doing.  I strongly recommend that you take the time to read it and share it.  Research of this scale has not been done previously in Australia and the findings are significant.

Background
It has been suggested that children with same-sex attracted parents score well in psychosocial aspects of their health, however questions remain about the impact of stigma on these children. Research to date has focused on lesbian parents and has been limited by small sample sizes. This study aims to describe the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them.

Methods
A cross-sectional survey, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, was distributed in 2012 to a convenience sample of 390 parents from Australia who self-identified as same-sex attracted and had children aged 0-17 years. Parent-reported, multidimensional measures of child health and wellbeing and the relationship to perceived stigma were measured.

Results
315 parents completed the survey (completion rate?=?81%) representing 500 children. 80% of children had a female index parent while 18% had a male index parent. Children in same-sex parent families had higher scores on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion compared to population normative data (??=?2.93, 95% CI?=?0.35 to 5.52, P?=?.03; ??=?5.60, 95% CI?=?2.69 to 8.52, P?=?<.001; and ??=?6.01, 95% CI?=?2.84 to 9.17, P?=?<.001 respectively). There were no significant differences between the two groups for all other scale scores. Physical activity, mental health, and family cohesion were all negatively associated with increased stigma (??=?-3.03, 95% CI?=?-5.86 to -0.21, P?=?.04; ??=?-10.45, 95% CI?=?-18.48 to -2.42, P?=?.01; and ??=?-9.82, 95% CI?=?-17.86 to -1.78, P?=?.02 respectively) and the presence of emotional symptoms was positively associated with increased stigma (? =0.94, 95% CI?=?0.08 to 1.81, P?=?.03).

Conclusions
Australian children with same-sex attracted parents score higher than population samples on a number of parent-reported measures of child health. Perceived stigma is negatively associated with mental health. Through improved awareness of stigma these findings play an important role in health policy, improving child health outcomes.

[Declaration: Rodney Chiang-Cruise acted as a liaison between the research team and the GLBTI parenting community, particularly Gay Dads Australia]

Read the full Paper at BioMedCentral

Other Papers by Dr Simon Crouch

Triumphs and challenges in recruiting same‐sex parent families - S Crouch, E Waters, R McNair, J Power, E Davis, L van Mourik - Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 38 (1), 87-88

What makes a same-sex parented family? - SR Crouch, RP McNair, EB Waters, JJ Power - Medical Journal of Australia 199 (2), 94-96

ACHESS–The Australian study of child health in same-sex families: background research, design and methodology - SR Crouch, E Waters, R McNair, J Power, E Davis - BMC public health 12 (1), 646

[Australia] Mark and Matt - Surrogate Dads Share Their Wonderful Journey

It is always wonderful to see and read the stories of gay dads and their journeys to fatherhood.  Mark and Matt, a South Australian gay couple take us through their journey to becoming dads to two wonderful kids. Sharing stories like this is so powerful and inspiring.

Mark and Matt made headlines in January when they travelled to Thailand for the birth of their two children via commercial surrogacy. Five months down the track, they tell Blaze about their journey so far.

Being a same-sex parent has been and will continue to be a life changing and fulfilling journey for us. We’re absolutely thrilled to wake up each morning greeted by our two lively children, Estelle and Tate. It’s now been five months since the births of our children through commercial surrogacy in Thailand. There’s something amazing about the way they look at the world with their bright eyes and laugh and smile at almost everything. They’re happy and healthy, which is worth the world to us. The love and support shown to us by our families and community has been overwhelmingly positive. We love these two more than anything and could not be happier with where life has taken us.

We always intended to have children one day, and had considered the options available to us in South Australia. South Australia is one of the few Australian states where same-sex couples are not able to adopt, so we knew that our most likely options were surrogacy or fostering. With commercial surrogacy illegal in Australia we had to consider international options. While India has been a popular destination for commercial surrogacy in past years, changes to Indian surrogacy law around a year ago now prevents singles and same-sex couples from undertaking surrogacy there. The US is another option, but at over $100 000 for one pregnancy it wasn’t financially viable for us. So we looked into surrogacy in Thailand, which costs around $40 000, and has been growing in popularity for Australians since the changes in India.

Read More at GNN

Monday, June 16, 2014

[USA] "Gay men looking to surrogacy for children" by Beth Roessner, The Desert Sun

It is Father's Day in the USA and there are lots of stories on Gay Dads - it is wonderful to see.

Panic.

That's what Scott Hartzel felt when he learned his surrogate had multiple eggs developing.

He understood that this helped increase the likelihood of fertilization, but the thought of so many children was intimidating.

Then, he and his partner Scott Russell learned they were having twins. Panic turned to elation.

"I really wanted a girl out of this," said Hartzel. "We kind of knew it was going to be twins all along... My oldest is a girl and I thought, 'Can't I have just one more girl?' "

Fatherhood is a life changer, resulting in dirty diapers, soccer games and an immense sense of pride. It's also evolving, with today's dads taking on a larger role in parenting compared to previous generations. With same-sex marriage at the forefront, many gay men are pursuing adoption and surrogacy to bring children into their lives.

The Hartzel-Russell family, who now reside in Thermal, were living in Mississippi while their surrogate was in Arizona. The surrogate was inseminated with Russell's sperm and her eggs were used.

Read More at The Desert Sun

Sunday, June 15, 2014

[USA] "From Caskets to Cradles: Miracles for Gay Men That Would Have Been Insane a Few Years Ago" by Stuart Bell

Many years ago a guy called Stuart Bell (and many others) from Growing Generations helped create our family.  Today, I read a really interesting piece in the Huffington Post, called "From Caskets to Cradles: Miracles for Gay Men That Would Have Been Insane a Few Years Ago".

""Would you blow dry my hair?"

Charley asked this as if it were perfectly normal for one man to blow dry another man's hair.

No, Charley was not my lover, and I was not a hairdresser. Charley was my patient, and he was so weak from AIDS that he could no longer lift the blow dryer. He knew the end was near, but he wanted one more night on the town before he died.

So I picked up the blow dryer, and, while we watched each other in the mirror, I carefully brushed his hair while drying it. It was perhaps the most intimate act I had ever experienced in my 25 years of living.

Of course, Charley was not completely thrilled with my attempt. "It's too poofy," he said. We both laughed and tried to get his hair to flatten out a bit.

The year was 1991. I had graduated from college a few months prior and had taken a job at Nashville CARES, an AIDS nonprofit serving all of middle Tennessee. I went from the carefree life of a closeted fraternity boy to being an openly gay man fighting a war against AIDS where death always won."

Read More at HuffPost.

[USA] "Is this the cutest gay Father’s Day video ever?" by Liam Johnson

Well - this is indeed cute and simply quite perfect!

A boy looks back on his happy childhood with his two gay dads, in a video created to say thank you to all dads on Father's Day.

To celebrate Father’s Day today, one man has created a video to say a special thank you to all the dads out there.

But be warned: this is quite possibly the cutest thing you will see all day.

The video is from the perspective of an 11-year-old, looking back on his happy childhood with his two dads.

‘Some of the kids at school say I have a real family, because they are not my real parents. But I don’t care. They are the nicest people you will ever meet and they are the best dads in the whole world,’ says the video.



See more at GayStarNews (thanks to Shane Warren for the alert!)

[Hong Kong] Pink Dot Celebrations Underway in Hong Kong

Pink Dot in Hong Kong - A Pride Celebration is currently on.   It is billed as a family day so I hope that lots of kids come with their GLBTI parents and experience the wonderful sense of inclusion that these events bring.  This is Hong Kong's first PINK DOT festival - we wish it all the success!

The event is being held on the lawns outside the Legislative Council and is being sponsored by Bank of America!

COME AND JOIN US SUNDAY 15 JUNE FOR HONG KONG FIRST EVER PINK DOT THEMED  ''WE ARE FAMILY: THE FREEDOM TO LOVE''

Pink Dot Hong Kong is a free, casual and fun outdoor event for families, friends, and colleagues of LGBT to show their support for inclusiveness, diversity and love equality.

  • The program includes:
  • a picnic (bring your own food or snack available on site)
  • fun and games for adults and children
  • a free live concert featuring well-known Hong Kong performers including Anthony Wong, Denise Ho and more.
  • the formation of a giant human pink dot during the day.

A good friend who is there has just sent me a couple of shots of the growing crowd.

























Find Out More at PINK DOT

[Western Australia] Find out more about Playgroups with Pride in WA

Playgroups with Pride is a support group for LGBTI families who have children or are thinking of starting a family.

We offer a safe and supportive space for you and your family  where you can make new friends, share stories and enjoy special  moments with your child and friends.



At Playgroup we offer, lots of free play time, craft activities, guest speakers, children's stories and song time.

[USA] Gay Dads Share Their Personal Stories For Father's Day - via Huffington Post by James Nichols

To celebrate Father's Day in the United States, the Huffington Post posts a piece on what "Father's Day" means for gay dads around the country.  

From Gay Dads Australia to all the Gay Dads and their families in the USA and around the world - have a Happy Father's Day and celebrate the strength and love of your families.

This week in the Huffington Post Gay Voices RaiseAChild.US “Let Love Define Family” series, gay fathers from around the country tell us about their Father’s Day plans and memories, and what this special day means to them.

Read More at HuffPost

[USA] Video: A Trans Dad on Telling His Kids About Gender

This is incredibly powerful and heart warming.  Our families come in all shapes and sizes and having a trans dad is just one form. 

Willy Wilkinson, an author, public health consultant, and father of three, is the Transgender Law Center's 2014 Claire Skiffington Vanguard Awardee. The 51-year-old will be honored for his contributions to the LGBT movement at TLC's 12th anniversary celebration on October 2 in San Francisco. In honor of Father's Day, Wilkinson filmed a video about his experience as a transgender father and described how his children embrace his gender nonconformity; watch below.


[USA] The President of the USA includes Gay Dads in "Fathers Day " Proclamation

How about this - A leader of a country recognising in such a public way that Gay Dads exist and are equal.  Would you ever get that in Australia?

Fatherhood is among the most difficult and rewarding jobs a man can have. It demands constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience. Even in a time when technology allows us to connect instantly with almost anyone on earth, there is no substitute for a father's presence, care, and support. On Father's Day, we show our gratitude to the men who show us how to learn, grow, and live.

With encouragement and unconditional love, fathers guide their children and help them envision brighter futures. They are teachers and coaches, friends and role models. They instill values like hard work and integrity, and teach their kids to take responsibility for themselves and those around them. This is a task for every father -- whether married or single, gay or straight, natural or adoptive -- and every child deserves someone who will step up and fill this role. My Administration proudly supports dads who are not only present but also involved, who meet their commitments to their sons and daughters, even if their own fathers did not.

Today, let us reflect on our fathers' essential contributions to our lives, our society, and our Nation. Let us thank the men who understand there is nothing more important than being the best fathers they can be.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, as amended (36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 15, 2014, as Father's Day. I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on this day, and I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

Read More at Towleroad

Saturday, June 14, 2014

[USA] Wonderful! "New children’s fairytale about two men falling in love"

There is a wonderful new children's fairytale about two men falling in love.  Enjoy!

We need more stories like this, where same-sex relationships are explained in age appropriate ways. “Papa’s Prince” masters the storytelling by adding humor, music, and stop animation to keep a child engaged. The story also succeeds in having a teachable moment without being preachy. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more from Ted Sod and Blake McCarty, who co-wrote the screenplay.



Read More at the Examiner

[USA] It is Father's Day this Sunday in the USA and to celebrate......

It is Father's Day this Sunday in the USA and to celebrate we are presenting some wonderful family images.

Firstly, 33 gay male parented families that just happen to be famous US (mainly) families.  Check them out at the Advocate here.

Jeremy Brandrick and Adam Morris
Secondly, 30 gay male parented families from Australia.  Regular, non-famous guys and their kids.  Showing the diversity and beauty of our families.  These families are all part of the Gay Dads Australia "Awesome Aussie Gay Dads" project.

Dads: Gary and Min & Children: Bohdi and Summer

[USA] "A good reason to #EndFathersDay: It's a gendered holiday" by Haig Chahinian

An interesting article - worth the read!

Although I’m a dad, I think it’s time to put an end to Father’s Day.

When I was a kid, I always saw myself throwing a Frisbee with my future children. But when I came out at USC in 1992, gay parenting was still in the closet. My fathering prospects seemed dim, until I met Peter. His easygoing style hinted at papa potential too.

Nine years later we trudged through mounds of paperwork and a home study so we could adopt. Our newborn immediately became the center of our lives: two middle-aged white guys with our darker-skinned daughter. We looked like Cam, Mitch and Lily on “Modern Family.”

Once my little girl started nursery school, she presented us with felt pumpkins, turkey lookalikes and pipe cleaner hearts, something for every non-religious holiday, and I joyfully hung them all on the refrigerator. But when Mother’s Day rolled around, I panicked. My child has many different mothers: a godmother, two grandmothers, a birth mother. But no mom, because she has two dads.

A week before the May mommy celebration, I approached the preschool director. She suggested a plan: “We were thinking you could receive the tissue flowers. Your partner would get the baseball collage on Father’s Day.”

Read More at LA Times

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

[Australia] - Awesome Aussie Gay Dads Project

Gay Dads Australia is running the "Awesome Aussie Gay Dads" project.  It is a simple project to collect photos of gay male parented Australian families and putting them up on our site here.

Why?  Well we are glad you asked.  One of the things that is missing from the media are images of real Australian gay male parented families.  These images are powerful.  They show that we are part of the community, that we are raising happy families, that we are not invisible.  These images also send a real message to other gay men - you can be a father as well.  Whether it be via surrogacy, adoption, foster-care, co-parenting, known donor or otherwise.  Our families are real, they are full of love and we want the world to know that we are proud.

Do you want to share a photo of your family? Simply follow the instructions here and we will put on the site.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise

Thursday, May 29, 2014

[Australia - Queensland] "Gay couple will both be listed as child's parents"

This is an interesting case from Queensland.  The law in most states now recognises the lesbian partner of the birth mother as the other legal parent (provided they were together and consenting at the conception - IVF/DIY).  What is interesting here, is the donor's name was removed from the birth certificate.  Arguably, it probably should never have been on it in the first place seeing the law only recognises him as a donor.  Hope they all do the right thing by the children and work out any differences.

A Queensland man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple will have his name removed from their children's birth certificates in a first for the state.


The biological mother's de facto partner will instead be listed as a parent under recent changes to state laws that give more rights to same-sex couples.

The case is a first for Queensland, after the couple applied to the Supreme Court in March to both be recognised as legal parents and have the two children's birth certificates reflect this.

None of the people involved can be named under laws that protect the children.
They were conceived through artificial insemination before the Surrogacy Act 2010 commenced, according to the Supreme Court judgment published on Thursday.

Under the old laws the mother's female de facto partner of 20 years wasn't recognised as their parent.

Read more at NineMSN