Sunday, November 6, 2011

[Australia] - Surrogacy for Gay Men Forum - Report

On Saturday, 5 November 80 men (and a few women) gathered at the JOY 94.9 Studios in Melbourne for the 8th Surrogacy for Gay Men Community Forum.  Melbourne turned on a glorious day for the participant who came from Melbourne, rural Victoria, Queensland, ACT, New South Wales and even flying in from as far away as Singapore.  Some guys had already started the journey to fatherhood but the majority were just beginning and this forum was their first step along the road to becoming a dad.  The forum, in it's 8th year, has grown from a handful of gay men 8 years ago to a room busting at the seams.  The forum is organised by the gay dad volunteers from Gay Dads Australia and this year was hosted at JOY 94.9, who generously donated use of their function room to help us accomodate the growing number of gay guys wanting to learn more about becoming dads via surrogacy.
The topics covered in the forum included altruistic surrogacy in Victoria, ACT, New South Wales and Queensland as well as commercial surrogacy in the USA, India and Thailand. It was great to have both Sam Everingham and Adrian Perillo as presenters at the forum.  Their personal stories were incredibly powerful and inspiring.  

As one of the organisers, I was excited and impressed with the number of gay men who are keen to become dads.  The word is out to the gay community in Australia.  You can be a father, you can pursue that dream of parenthood.  Being gay is not a barrier.  Of course, becoming a dad via surrogacy is not a simple course to follow, but ultimately for gay men it is one of the few options available to have a family.  I found myself asking why has it become so popular.  The answers are quite simple.  Gay men are no different than straight men in their desire to be parents, there is a real and passionate desire to have a family for many gay men. The popularity of the forum comes form the fact that our families are now so visible to the gay and straight community.  Our families and our stories are in newspapers, on television, on radio.  From the SBS documentary "Two Men and a Baby" 8 years ago about Tony and Lee, a melbourne couple who created their family via surrogacy to more recently, Adrian and his partner Ralph who bravely and publicly took the GLBTI community through the pregnancy and birth of their two gorgeous children on the Andy and Adrian breakfast show on JOY 94.9.

When we packed up and left the JOY studios on Saturday, my husband Jeff said that he was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the guys that came along.  Everyone had a story of their desire to be parents.  Like Jeff, I was excited to see the next generation of gay dads coming together.  The baby boom for gay men is here and it is only going to get bigger.
Rodney Chiang-Cruise
Gay Dads Australia

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