Editorials

In Defense of "Parent's Day"

Every year, as May approaches, many gay dads face a familiar worry: how do you celebrate a day that seems tailor made to remind your children they are different from other families?


Gays are nothing if not resourceful, so of course we make do; we celebrate the day in ways that work for our families. Some of us honor the women who helped make us dads. Others choose to celebrate strong female influences in our children’s life. Still others don’t recognize the holiday at all.

Regardless of how we choose to celebrate (or not) many gay dads will continue to worry about our kids as May rolls around each year---does a celebration of mothers, when our kids often lack a traditional one, make they feel ostracized? Different? Weird?

Gay dads, of course, aren’t the only ones who suffer from this Mother’s Day dread. Anyone who can't easily claim the mantle of "mom"---single dads, step moms, grandparents and caretakers of all varieties---also have reason to worry.

And then, just as Mother’s Day finally passes us by, we flip and reverse the problem the very next month. Lesbians, single moms, and other “non-dads” of the world take their turn wondering how to appropriately honor “Father’s Day” on the third Sunday in June each year.

In the grand scheme of things, anxiety around these holidays are obviously pretty low on the list of concerns facing LGBTQ parents and other nontraditional families. Still, reminders of Mother's and Father's Day are everywhere we turn; they're celebrated in ads on television, in the shops we frequent, and---most problematically for many of us---in our children’s schools.

In progressive enclaves across North America, some schools have already moved to eliminate this problem with an obvious solution: they have created a single day---a "Parent's Day"---to celebrate this year. That way, any and all caretakers in a child's life can be honored with some macaroni art or a popsicle picture frame, without regards to gender.

Of course, there will always be those who balk at measures to mess with tradition. And the idea of abandoning Mother's and Father's Day altogether seem pretty slim. Still, these holidays were created decades ago when the American family looked very different than it does today. In the 1970s, 76% of children in the United States lived in households with heterosexual parents still in their first marriage, according to Pew Research. Today? Fewer than half do.

Nontraditional families are quickly becoming more of the norm than the exception. Doesn't it make sense to re-imagine these celebrations so that they more fully match the needs of the modern family?

Interestingly enough: Parent's Day is already a federally recognized holiday in the United States. This seemingly perfect solution to our problem was brought to us, moreover, from a very unlikely source. In 1994, former Senator Trent Lott, a rightwing conservative, introduced a bill to create the holiday on the fourth Sunday of July each year as a way to emphasize the importance of “traditional” childrearing by both a mother and a father.

But the gender-neutral "Parent's Day" he created would be easy enough for nontraditional families to co-opt. And what a better way to stick it to Lott, a man who once said homosexuality was akin to alcoholism, kleptomania and sex addiction, than to steal the holiday he created to subjugate us?

Of course, it would be delusional to think American families will suddenly drop their favorite Hallmark holidays in favor of a single day to honor parents of any and all genders---We're unlike to see a "Parent's Day" sale at Macy's anytime soon. But with time, as nontraditional families continue to grow, maybe the gender-neutral holiday will gain in favor.

So what do you say...have you done your Parent's Day shopping this year?

 

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Change the World

Federal Judge Rules Against Adoption Agency's Attempt to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Many challenges to LGBTQ adoption continue to exist, however, including a Federal amendment that would grant tax-funded adoption agencies the right to discriminate nationally.

This week brought us some much-needed good news in the fight to protect LGBTQ adoption rights: U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker ruled that Catholic Services Society (CSS) violated the city of Philadelphia's Fair Practice Ordinance due to the organization's refusal to work with prospective parents' based on no other reason than their sexual orientation.

The decision is the result of a suit brought by CSS against Philadelphia. Last May, the city announced it was suspending foster care placements with two agencies, CSS and Bethany Christian Services, given their refusal to place children with LGBTQ prospective parents. While Bethany Christian Services ultimately agreed to stop discriminating against same-sex parents, CSS sued the city instead, and lost.

Judge Tucker found that no "substantial burden" existed on on CSS's religious exercise in providing foster care to children, writing that, "In essence, if CSS provides its services consistent with the minimal requirements of the all-comers provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance, then CSS may continue to provide foster care to children.

Elsewhere around the country, however, the news on LGBTQ adoption rights has been much less encouraging. Over the course of the year, news hasn't been great for the LGBTQ community's adoption rights. Over the course of the year, a slew of anti-LGBTQ adoption measures have been cropping up in state legislatures all across the country. At the federal level this month, Republicans passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that if enacted will allow tax-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ adoptive parents on the grounds of religious freedom.

Get Involved!

Want to take action? Look up your federal representatives here and demand they reject the inclusion of the anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill passed by Republicans earlier this week.

Have you experienced discrimination as a potential gay adoptive or foster parent? We want to hear about it. Contact us at dads@gayswithkids.com and tell us about your experience.

And stay tuned to Gays With Kids as we continue to monitor and report on developments in anti-discrimination protections for adoptive LGBTQ parents, on both the state and federal level.

Change the World

Lawmakers in South Carolina Target LGBTQ Parents

A provision, hidden in a 500-page appropriations bill, is part of a troubling trend of state-sanctioned discrimination against prospective LGBTQ parents

This month, politicians in South Carolina inserted a provision into a 500-page appropriations bill that would allow adoption agencies that receive taxpayer money to prevent placement of a child in any home if employees have a "sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction."

Though the wording doesn't mention the LGBTQ community by name, one need only read between the lines to know the purpose of this discriminatory provision is aimed squarely at our queer little foreheads; If passed, South Carolina will become the 10th state in the country to successfully carve out so-called "religious freedom" exemptions in adoption laws that are unjustly used to prevent placing children in loving and capable LGBTQ-headed households.

Beyond the troubling trend in state-sanction discrimination against LGBTQ parents, it's remarkable that state lawmakers are seeking to shrink the pool of prospective adoptive parents, particularly when there are an estimated 4,000 children in South Carolina in need of homes.

"This hastily added provision does nothing to improve the outcomes for children in care, but only shrinks the pool of prospective parents in a blatant attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ South Carolinians," Marty Rouse, National Field Director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "It's not too late for [Gov. Henry McMaster] to fix the state legislature's mistake and veto this dangerous measure."

The language of the provision is so broad, it could potentially be used to discriminate against anyone an adoption agency deems unfit for parenthood, such as non-Christian couples and single parents.

If you live in South Carolina, contact Governor McMaster now and demand he veto the anti-LGBTQ adoption provision within the appropriations bill.

Change the World

Gay Dads March For Our Lives

Gay dads around the country took the streets yesterday in rallies across the country to demand sensible gun control laws.

Gun control is an LGBTQ issue. Don't think of it that way? You should start.

According to the FBI, LGBTQ individuals and our families are more frequently the targets of hate crimes than any other minority group. More than 20 percent of victims of gun violence, in fact, identify as LGBTQ – people of color and transgender individuals make up the bulk of this grim figure.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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