Change the World

In a First, Two Male Mice Make Offspring Without Female DNA

Thanks to advances in gene editing and stem cells, scientists in China helped two male mice create offspring together, without any female DNA.

Thanks to advances in gene editing and stem cells, scientists in China helped two male mice create offspring together, without any female DNA. The feat had already been accomplished with two female mice, but this latest advancement marks the first time two male mice have created offspring that were carried to full term.

This marks a major advancement, but it's not time to start lining up at your local fertility clinic just yet, guys: while the mice pups born from two females were healthy, and were even able to conceive their own offspring, those born to two male pups died shortly after their birth.

A recent article in National Geographic helps explain why the feat is more difficult with makes. One of the main barriers is due to a process called "imprinting," during the development of sperm and eggs, when "tags" attach to our chromosomes. In mammals, these tags vary by sex.

"For female mouse pairs, they had to delete three locations to get healthy young," according to the article. "For male mouse pairs, they had to snip seven regions."

For the female pups, snipping just these three regions allowed the pups to grow at a normal rate. Snipping the seven regions in males allows the babies to develop to full term, but it is not enough, yet, to allow the offspring to live much past birth.

An additional barrier: to make an individual, you have to have an egg. "Males don't have eggs," a developmental biologist helpfully points out in the piece.

Read the full article here.

Change the World

Australian Politician Gives Impassioned Defense of Gay Men's Access to Altruistic Surrogacy

A new bill passed by the Western Australian Legislative Assembly aims to make it legal for gay men and couples to use "altruistic" surrogacy to start their families.

This month, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly passed a bill to allow single men and gay couples to access "altruistic surrogacy" to start their families. Previously, only single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples were allowed to pursue surrogacy arrangements. (Read more about different types of surrogacy arrangements.)

The legislation passed after a long and at times heated debate, during which John Carey, one of three out gay members of the parliament, made an impassioned defense of gay men's ability to access altruistic surrogacy as a means to start their families.

"I came into politics to believe in the best of people, to appeal to the best our our humanity, to show greater kindness, to understand that despite our differences there is much that brings us together," Carey said at the beginning of the debate, according to Out in Perth, which reported on the proceedings. "This is why I proudly stand here today as a member of parliament, and to support progressive change, to support that humanity in our community.

Carey stressed that children being raised by LGBTQ people, "are loved. They are respected. They are supported in their aspirations and their dreams. They go to school, they visit school, they to to playgroups and they mix with they peers, and they are all raised by same-sex parents, and many of them male couples."

Allowing gay men to access altruistic surrogacy was a substantive win for the local LGBTQ community, which also recently saw gay marriage legalized. But it is also, as Carey noted in his speech, a symbolic one. "Every bit of reform which tackles discrimination, which removes those barriers is critically important," he said. "It's not just for those same-sex couples who want to have a child, but also for all those young generations who will see another part of discrimination dismantled from our legislation."

Read Carey's full defense of the bill, which will next be read and debated in the Legislative Council, here.

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Eight years ago, Jay Faigenbaum messaged Adam Jacobs on the dating site Match.com. Adam had let his membership lapse, however, so wasn't able to read the email. “I'd kind of given up on dating at that point," Adam admitted. Still, he was intrigued by Jay's mystery message.

“I called customer service and said, 'Dr. Phil promised me six months free if I didn't find love on your site,'" Adam laughed, referencing a commercial from the time featuring the self-help guru. Sure enough, the company offered Adam six months for free. But as it would turn out, one extra day was all he needed.

“Jay's email was the last I ever read," he said.

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Change the World

Finding No Children's Books in Brazil That Represented His Family, This Gay Dad Decided to Write His Own

Alexandre de Souza Amorim wrote "The Knight and the Werewolf - A Story of Courage" to provide his daughter with a children's story that reflected her family

Guest post by Alexandre de Souza Amorim.

My name is Alexandre de Souza Amorim. In 2016, my husband and I became parents of a beautiful baby princess. The following year, our story was posted here in "Gays With Kids".

Today we return to tell a second part of this story. Sara, our daughter, has always loved books or "booklets" as she calls them. And since she arrived, we started looking for children's books that represented our family, our love and LGBTQI characters. In Brazil there is a very small number of these publications.

"Facing our greatest fears, we may come across great surprises." - Alexandre de Souza Amorim

One day I was talking to another gay couple, who are also parents, and they complained about the lack of books with LGBTQI characters in Brazil.

I am a father and also a psychologist, and I know that the representativeness of our families and our love in the following of culture (cinema, books, theater, music, etc.) are important weapons in the fight against homophobia and violence of all kinds. I have already written chapters of books and articles on psychology, and I soon thought: Can I write a children's fairy tale? I wish my daughter would grow up in a world with fewer differences and more love. And from this desire was born my first children's book: "The Knight and the Werewolf - A Story of Courage"

"Every parent should remember that with their support their children can find the path of their happiness faster." - Alexandre de Souza Amorim

But that dream has only become possible because I have met people who also believe that we need more representation. Lea Carvalho, publisher at Metanoia Publishing House agreed to publish the book as soon as she read it. And Bruno Guimarães Reis, from Studio Bonnie & Clyde, is the illustrator who gave life to my characters.

The official launch of the book will be on November 1, 2018, but it can already be purchased on the publisher's website.

"Some adventures can be full of great surprises." - Alexandre de Souza Amorim

The book tells the story of young Kevin, who dreams of becoming a knight of his kingdom. When that dream comes true, Kevin is named the bravest knight in his kingdom. But being brave does not mean that you are not afraid of anything, but that you can face even your greatest fears. And it is facing his fear of Werewolves that Kevin meets Prince Noah. Friendship soon becomes love. It is a book about courage, love and with a great sensitivity to teach children that there are many possibilities to exist and to love.

I'm really glad this dream came true. And I am happier to know that my daughter and other children may have a book that shows that the knight can fall in love with the prince and that there is no problem in that. Love is love. And love is a beautiful thing.

Change the World

Live in Massachusetts? Vote 'YES' on Ballot Question #3 to Protect Trans Rights

Massachusetts Ballot question #3 would remove "gender identity" from public accommodation non-discrimination law, opening to the door to trans individuals being targeted in public

This November 6th, ballot question #3 in Massachusetts puts transgender individuals at risk of losing their civil rights. In 2016, the state passed a landmark non-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination against trans people in public spaces, including hotels, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, parks, bathrooms, locker rooms and more. But an anti-LGBT group collected enough signatures to put a repeal effort on this ballot this year that, if approved by voters, will remove these protections from public accommodation non-discrimination law.

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Coming Out

Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between

As we celebrate National Coming Out Day, we look at some of the coming out stories of dads in our community. Their stories are as heartwarming as they are instructive for anyone looking for some advice on navigating the difficult, but empowering, coming out process.

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Coming Out

These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids.

Vincent Galvin and Richard Belward had almost parallel life journeys before they found one another. Vincent grew up in a small town with an Evangelical Christian background and was very involved in the church; Richard, also from a small town, was raised Catholic and followed the path set out for him. Both married women in their twenties and had children. Both knew they were gay. When they were in their thirties, they came out, and chose to live their authentic lives. It was then that they found each other, and ultimately, true love.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

They Met at NYE Party in 2012. Now, They're Married and About to Be Dads Via Adoption

Mike and Charlie are thrilled to be on the waiting list to become dads through adoption.

Nestled in the sand on a beach in Maui, newlyweds Mike and Charlie Erwin began to discuss the future, and more importantly, when they were going to grow their family. It was 2016, and the couple were on their honeymoon. They met in 2012 at a New Year's Eve party when Charlie fixed Mike's bow tie. "We were total strangers," said Charlie, "but he was lopsided; it was adorable." But back to the beach. It was on the sandy shore that they decided to be married for two years before beginning their road to fatherhood.

It'll be two years to the day on October 8, and they're already on their way to becoming dads through adoption.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Gay Belgian Dads Give Detailed Account of Their Two Surrogacy Journeys in the U.S.

Gay dads Wim and Dirk pen a detailed essay to give a glimpse into what the surrogacy process is like in the United States as a foreigner.

Written by dads Wim and Dirk.

At first we didn't know about the surrogacy possibilities in the United States, so we prepared ourselves for adoption. We followed the mandatory adoption courses, as most gay couples in Belgium do when they want to have children. We started with the international adoption course but when most countries closed international adoption for gays we decided to give up international adoption and go for national adoption. While we were in the process of being evaluated (psychologically, financially, ...) we read an article in a newspaper about a gay couple that was expecting a child through surrogacy. We managed to contact them and they've told us their surrogacy journey.

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