Recently, Gays With Kids connected with Israeli gay dad Udi Ledergor to talk about the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, the group he helped launch to support gay dad families.
The Association of Israeli Gay Fathers was formed in the summer of 2013, born out of necessity around the same time that its initial group of founding members became fathers and found themselves facing discrimination.
The group’s mission was to advance the rights to parenthood for single gay men and gay male couples in whichever path they chose to become parents: surrogacy, adoption, and co-parenting.
They held their inaugural conference in November 2013, hoping for at least 50 dads and were pleasantly surprised when 200 people showed up and became dues-paying members.
Today the association has three active Board members and 300 paying members. They also have 3,000 followers on Facebook. (Sorry, it’s mainly in Hebrew.)
The association’s focus has changed since its initial launch and now provides value across these initiatives:
In just a couple of years the association has become very well-known within the LGBT community not only in Israel, but even outside the country. It has managed to set the agenda for several legal and media battles and is now regularly invited to take part in, and state its opinion on, relevant legislation, parliament committee meetings and media interviews.
The association led the change in how the Israel Defense Force recruits gay fathers for reserve duty; it was involved in getting equal tax benefits guaranteed for same-sex parents; and has worked to significantly shorten the process of recognizing the non-biological parent after surrogacy journeys. It currently has three Supreme Court cases in motion for which favorable outcomes are expected in the next few months.
We asked Udi how the organization has been able to accomplish so much. He believes the secret of their success is that the association is run by a small group of dedicated and passionate gay fathers, juggling demanding jobs and raising families to help make Israel a better place for gay dad families now and in the future. They bring in external resources so they don’t have to rely solely on the goodwill of volunteers. Udi emphasizes that any financial assistance they receive is highly appreciated and goes directly to help improve the lives of Israel’s gay dad families while also helping intended fathers realize their dreams of becoming parents. For more information, please visit their website.