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New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

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Gay Dad Life

Talking About Adoption With Your Child

Advice for families from adoptive parents to answer adoption-relation questions.

Growing up with two fathers can present children with obstacles to overcome in public and with their peers at school. Over the course of their childhood, these kids will learn the best ways to handle social interactions regarding their family composition. Some adoptive families have provided us with advice for parents and their children to answer adoption-related questions.

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What would you do if your partner was in a serious accident—God forbid—and couldn't perform sexually? Never given it much thought? Neither had I, but I was confronted with this exact situation recently during a consultation with a client. He chose to be faithful and abstinent, minus masturbation—for 30 years. No sex. No sexual intimacy or mutual sexual expression. Wow!

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One of the hardest parts of being a parent is when we witness our child hurting, be bullied, or ridiculed by other kids. We are often helpless in these types of situations and it happens to almost all of our sons and daughters at some point in their lives. Sometimes our unique families are confusing and hard for some people to accept. Unfortunately, for children of LGBTQ parents, our identities automatically elevate our kids' risks for bullying of any kind.

For today's children, the most popular form of bullying is cyberbullying. Recent studies have found that almost 90 percent of teens have witnessed digital bullying. To wrap our heads around this, consider that just a few years ago it was estimated that only 27 percent of our kids had encountered online bullying. Under our watchful eyes, cyberbullying rates have tripled even with all of our assemblies, campaigns, and zero tolerance policies.

This is saddening because we know how damaging bullying can be for a young person. However, cyberbullying can be a lot more dangerous, because our kids live in a highly connected online world. Their love of technology and all things digital gives unlimited opportunities for bullies to attack or leave cruel messages any time of day or night.

Many people often assume that we can simply turn off a cell phone or delete a cruel message. Unfortunately, cyberbullying happens in a variety of ways and changes with new platforms or technologies that hit the market. It's no secret that children are incredibly adept at finding new ways to lash out at others. Regardless of how it occurs, cyberbullying can cause a vicious cycle to develop which results in depression, loneliness, anxiety, and even thoughts of self harm.

All parents need to begin proactively approaching cyberbullying when their children are young to prevent it from becoming a bigger issue later. Listed below are 8 tips to explain cyberbullying to small children:

#1. Make sure to stress it's not them, it's other people that are the problem

There is nothing wrong with our children or families. There are always going to be people who don't agree or like us. We need to ignore them and do what's best for our family.

#2. Remember young children are literally concrete thinkers

This is important, because they might not be able to comprehend objects, principles, morals, or large ideas until they hit adolescence, usually around 11 years old.

#3. Keep it simple

For most young children a simple explanation is all that is needed. Avoid going into too much detail. Often, kids are happy just getting an answer to their questions. As a child ages, though, we may want to start explaining in more detail based on maturity and need levels.

#4. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all

We need to stop telling our kids that words can never hurt them, because they can. Talk about the power of words with children to help them realize once something is said, it can never be taken back. For young children, use read alouds, movies, and stories to help them understand this concept.

#5. Model kindness, respect, and appropriate coping methods

Our relationships often expose us to more ridicule and slurs than other families. We need to avoid name calling, yelling, and anger. Our kids are watching our reactions, so we need to lead by example.

#6. Practice ways to handle cyber bullying and empower them with skills to diffuse the situation

By teaching them how to handle bullying situations, they will not be caught off guard so they can handle the bully with tact and grace. Let them know that it is alright to walk away, ignore slurs, seek help from an adult, avoid arguments, and stand up for themselves safely. Roleplay possible situations with our kids while playing dolls or Legos.

#7. Help build empathy and compassion

Unfortunately, not every child is a victim of cyberbullying. Far too often our kids can become the bully. We need to make sure they have the ability to “wear another person's shoes" and feel empathy for others. Use books, movies, and volunteer to expose kids to a variety of feelings and circumstances.

#8. Begin an ongoing discussion about their feelings, bullying, and other problems they encounter

As parents, we need to keep the communication lines open to stay involved and on top of any developing situations. This process needs to start when our boys and girls are young so it comes as second nature when they are older.

How do you explain or handle bullying when it comes to your children and families? Let us know in the comments.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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