Change the World

New Podcast Episode Examines Experiences of Queer Parents Living with a Disability

Elizabeth Hull, a mother who has a neurological condition, has sought to document the experiences of various parents living with disabilities as part of new podcast series. Her latest includes those in the LGBTQ community.

What's it like to be a parent with a disability in the queer community? Elizabeth Hull, a mother who has a neurological condition sought to find out as part of her series looking at the parenting experiences of a variety of different communities.

In this episode, Jax Jacki Brown discuses what it's like trying to parent as a queer wheelchair user. She says in part:

"The assumptions that we are not parents I think come from the fact that we are not shown to be parents anywhere, that it's just not considered an option for people with disabilities to be parents. And so people assume all the time that I am not Anne's partner, that I must be a friend or a sister or something. It's often assumed of people in queer relationships that we can't be lovers, but I think it's even more so assumed of disabled people."

She also shared that she feels most LGBTQ people, and parents in particular, tend to be more accepting and inclusive of her status as a queer parent with a disability. "I think that is often because people within the LGBTI community have done a lot of work thinking about who they are and dealing with bigotry and exclusion. And often if they are parents, they've thought carefully about what kind of parents they want to be, and there's a kind of recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion and those sorts of values. So that's a community we feel really safe and accepted in."

Listen to the entire podcast here.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Have Simple Advice For Other Gay Men Considering Foster Care: Put the Kids First

Though it took a full year to become licensed foster dads, Robby and David say it was a "wonderful experience."

Fostering has changed the lives of many dads in the Gays With Kids community. Sometimes the outcome of fostering can be heartbreaking, and other times, it's been the most joyous and wonderful new beginning for our families. Often times, it's both.

Although all the stories are different, one piece of advice we hear time and time again is this: remove your ego and put the children first. That's the one piece of advice foster-adopt dad, Robby Swagler, would give to anyone considering fostering.

Robby met his husband David Swagler, both 30 years old, when they were in college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. They both loved kids and decided to become foster parents, inspired by the overwhelming number of children in the foster care system. They wanted to provide a loving home for a child in need.

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Change the World

Antwon and Nate On Their First Year As Foster Dads

"Whether she stays or not," say new foster dads Antwon and Nate, "we'll never be the same."

We have had our foster daughter for over a year, and everyday brings different challenges and victories. The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty of knowing if she will stay with us or not. It brings the back and forth of both emotionally trying to self-preserve and wanting to fight to have her be ours.

The victories are endless. She knows we are her people, and she's our little girl. I think about going back to the way things were, but it's impossible. Because whether she stays or not, we'll never be the same.

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Change the World

Which Companies Made the "Nice" List This Year for LGBTQ Family Leave Policies?

Apple and Home Depot made the "Nice" list. McDonalds and Walgreens, though, have been naughty.

PL+US, an organization dedicated to bringing about high-quality paid family leave for everyone in the United States, recently released its 2018 report card of companies in the United States. And it looks like quite a few new organizations have been particularly good this year,

As the report notes: "the private sector has reached a tipping point on paid family leave. In 2018 alone, 20 companies introduced new paid leave policies. A whopping 72% of surveyed companies provide paid leave equally to moms, dads, and adoptive parents and more than half are equal for all employees, whether salaried, hourly, or part-time."

Just two years ago, when PL+US first conducted an analysis of the country's largest employers, most companies refused to disclose details on their family leave policies. Those that did often excluded benefits for LGBTQ people, adoptive parents, and low-wage workers.

In just two short years, PL+US has worked with advocates and workers all across the country to help change the policies of 30 of the country's top employers.

Employers with the most high-quality leave policies include: Apple, Verizon, the Home Depot and H&M.; The naughty list includes employers such as McDonalds, Albertsons and Walgreens.

Check out the full report card here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

Salt Lake Gay Couple Behind Viral Wedding Proposal Become Foster Dads

They've gone viral, appeared on Ellen, and were married by Queen Latifa. What can top all that? Fatherhood.

Photo credit: Tiffany Burke, Follow Your Art Photography.

Over 5 years ago, you might remember seeing an amazing proposal that took place in a Home Depot in Utah. With the help of close friends and family, Spencer organized an incredible flash mob to sweep Dustin off his feet. If you did see it, you're one of the 14 million viewers who did. (If you have been living under a rock, you can see the video below!)

The fiancés quickly became an overnight sensation thanks to this unbelievably romantic stunt. They even appeared on Ellen and were given engagement gifts. (You know you've made it once Ellen starts giving you stuff.) Dustin and Spencer were also part of a symbolic wedding ceremony with many other couples who were married during the 2014 Grammy's event, by Queen Latifa, while Macklemore sang "Same Love."

And for their next act? Fatherhood.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

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Gay Dad Life

New Children's Book Explores a Different Kind of Gay Fatherhood: Doggy Dads

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads.

Guest post written by Dan Wellik

Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads. It tells the story of how Pickles' life changes once his new "baby brother" Ocho joins his family. The themes in this story are important ones – families come in all shapes and sizes, all families look a little different than the next and diversity and inclusion should be celebrated. I have always felt strongly that children need more exposure to LGBT families and wanted to add my voice to this very important conversation.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

This Gay Dad's Search for Reliable Surrogacy Info in Canada Led Him to Share His Own Story

Grant Minkhorst scoured the Internet for reliable info, relevant to Canada, but found "slim pickings."

When my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family, we scoured the internet for information and resources about gay parenting. As many of you already know, it was "slim pickings," as Grandma would say. I stumbled from one website to the next with little to show for it. When I wanted to learn more about surrogacy specifically, I would repeatedly end up on surrogacy agency websites. While some included relevant information, I noticed large gaps and a countless inconsistencies. Not only that, but many of the agency websites were based in the United States where the surrogacy process differs from that in Canada. The search for a dependable resource for would-be Canadian gay fathers was frustrating and, seemingly, futile.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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