Editorials

Disney's 'Mom Panel' Includes... Dads?

Why does Disney insist on the gendering of its parenting experts?

This week, Disney released the names of 14 lucky individuals, selected from over 10,000 applicants, to serve as members of the "Disney Parks Mom's Panel." The lucky winners will get the opportunity to serve as public facing "Disney experts" over the course of the next year.

At first glance, this seems an easy opportunity for dads to yet again cry foul — why must everything related to parenting be so gendered? Aren't dads just as capable of being Disney experts? Aren't we all trying to dismantle the patriarchy, and entice dads to be more involved in the rearing of children? Haven't we moved beyond the "kid tested, mother approved" advertising tropes of the pre-1990s?

Are only moms qualified for the sacred opportunity to ascend to a leadership position within the Happiest Place on Earth?

But, as it turns outs, three of panelists selected are in fact dads. So... why not rename the damn thing, Disney? Is calling the group something like a "Parents Panel" so far fetched? Not only would such a name stop reinforcing outdated gender norms as they relate to parenting — but the double "P" also gives the name a nice alliteration, no?

Yes, I'm picking on Disney a bit unnecessarily. So let me get one thing straight: we gays love Disney. And so do our kids. Over the years, we've brought you many pro-LGBTQ Disney stories that celebrates our love for one another, like this one featuring two gay dads, both employees of Disneyland, who are raising their kids with the magical kingdom at their doorstep. And this one, featuring a couple who became convinced to become dads after a visit to Disney World.

And Disney has in many ways been ahead of the curve when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Despite heavy pushback from conservative groups like One Million Moms, Disney decided to host its first official LGBTQ pride event this year — giving the mouse seal of approval to the unofficial "Gay Dads" event, which had been held annually since the early 1990s. The Disney organization has also offered health benefits to the partners of gay employees since 1995.

It's precisely because of the company's progressive stance towards the LGBTQ community that makes its continued emphasis on gendered parenting terms so confusing.

Dads can be Disney dorks too, dammit! Now it's your turn to try alliteration, Disney. Say it with me: "Parenting Panel"

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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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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad's Adoption Journey Amid a Global Crisis

Erik Alexander writes about a personal moment of happiness — the birth of his son — amid a world gripped by the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 has shaken the whole world to its core. From one part of the globe to the other, it has all but stopped life as we know it. This scenario seems all too reminiscent of something that the American South will never forget. Living in New Orleans, Louisiana we are accustomed to dealing with evacuations and disasters because of hurricane season each year. From June to November, we are on alert. As you can imagine, Hurricane Katrina's lasting effects really taught us how to deal with disaster prep along with recovering from the aftermath.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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