Change the World

Australia's Ugly Marriage Equality Showdown

The vote for same-sex marriage in Australia has turned ugly. From horrific "Stop the Fags" posters plastered around Melbourne alongside figures from a disproven study, to Pauline Hanson claiming that the use of "mum" and "dad" will be eradicated if the vote goes in favor of marriage equality. The "No" camp are using every trick in the book to scare Australians into a vote against our families. Here are the top three ugly tactics used by Australia's marriage equality foes.

#1. Fabricated "Facts"

The homophobic posters that have been delivered to mailboxes or stamped across cities have not only been incredibly offensive but also incorrect and misleading. From "Stop the Fags" to a poorly written anti same-sex flyer translated in both English and Chinese, it seems the "No" camp is stooping to new lows with "alternative facts."

Australian Prime Minister Condemns 'Stop The Fags' Anti Gay Marriage Poster: VIDEO
β€” Towleroad (@tlrd) August 22, 2017

One of the untruths on the flyer said that a "Yes" vote would allow rapists to pose as trans women and enter female toilets.

Another poster sending shock waves across Australia is one attributed to a Neo-Nazi group called Antipodean Resistance. The poster claims "gay marriage enables paedolphilia" and "gay couples are thirty times more likely to molest children."

More #respectfuldebate pedalling vicious libel against my community. Every word is a lie (note subtle HIV reference). (URL pixelated)
β€” Paul Kidd πŸ—³πŸ†ˆπŸ…΄πŸ†‚πŸ³οΈπŸŒˆ (@paulkidd) August 28, 2017

As stated in, "this appalling poster is a classic of the genre that attempts to link two entirely separate concepts … According to the American Psychological Association and multiples studies children are no more likely to be molested by LGBTI parents, than by male-female parents."

#2. Using Images of Gay Families Without Permission

Recently, gay dad Roby Chavez was horrified to learn his family's photo was being used as the cover image for the "No" campaigns Facebook page. Roby immediately reached out to the campaign to demand the image be taken down, and to "keep my kids out of your politics."

The "No" campaign claimed to think the loving family portrait of Roby and his family was royalty free, and took the image down soon after, with a bizarre note saying "we are Christian, and can assure you this was a mistake." Soon after, however, a new image of two gay men and their child was uploaded to the campaign's Facebook page. Whether this one truly is "royalty free," or stolen from another unsuspecting family, however, is anyone's guess.

#3. Politicians and the Debunked "Think of the Children!" Argument

Pauline Hanson isn't the only Australian politician making false claims of same-sex marriage destroying "traditional" marriage. Former P.M. Tony Abbott has weighed in and said his opposition to marriage equality is not about religion but the preservation of family.

On a recent podcast, Abbott took aim at his sister who is currently raising six children with her lesbian partner.

'My position on this is not driven by religion, it's driven by the fact that marriage is what produces families, families are what produces communities and societies and nations,' he stated. 'I want to strengthen the family, I want to support the traditional families because it's better for kids, if possible, to have a mother and a father.'

Abbott then mentioned his sister as an example, and although saying that she and her partner were very good mothers, he followed by saying the "best male and female role models in our lives are our mother and father."

Another former P.M. of Australia, John Howard, has shared his opinion and said that he'll be voting "No" on marriage equality.

"The clear evidence is that you have outcomes that are superior for children in the longer term if they have a mother and father," said Howard.

And here we find ourselves again, citing numerous studies to the contrary.

One Dad's Angry Rant About Marriage Equality … That We Can Get Behind!

And now for a palette cleanser, because, of course, it's not all bad in the Aussie vote for equality. We're finding plenty of support for same-sex marriage, sometimes in the oddest of places. For instance, Mark Oval, a former Aussie Rules player, nicknamed "Angry Dad" due to his many (recorded) explosive tirades, has added his voice to the argument.

"Don't fucking start me on that shit," Orval yells. "They're spending $122 fucking million on thatβ€”to have us fucking vote as to whether they should allow gay marriage. Whose business is it of the fucking politicians to say who we can fucking marry and can't marry?"Although it may seem as though "Angry Dad" is pro-LGBT rights, his real indignation is towards the Australian parliament, who are spending $122 million on a vote where the outcome could ultimately overlooked by parliament, only to have them make up their own minds on the matter. We'll let "Angry Dad" explain.

"Even then if the public come back and say mind your own business,' as we should, they don't have to pass it," he explains. "People might say 'yes, approve it' [but]… they can just park it and say: 'Now we know how you fucking think, but we're not going to actually listen to you,' like they do with every other fucking policy."

It's "Angry Dad's" kids, Dylan and Mitchell, who are usually the culprits behind his tirades, stirring their father to encourage the passionate outbursts. And their feet are firmly planted in the "Yes" camp.

The survey forms to vote were mailed out September 12, and they're due back November 7.

C'mon Australia! Love is love!

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Gay Dad Life

Is Australian Olympic Swimmer Ian Thorpe Soon to Be a Dad?

Ian Thorpe recently announced he and his long-term partner Ryan Channing hope to become dads via surrogacy soon.

Ian Thorpe, a former Olympic swimmer for Australia, recently announced that he and his long-term partner Ryan Channing are planning to become dads via surrogacy sometime soon. Thorpe, a gold medalist who came out as gay after he retired from swimming, says he and his partner are looking for a surrogate in Los Angeles because the laws in Australia remain too restrictive.

"Becoming parents is something that Ian and myself would love to make happen,' Channing said in an interview. "Unfortunately the laws in Australia are difficult for same sex males in regards to surrogacy β€” California state law has really progressed in this space which makes it the best option legally."

Since retiring, Thorpe has been a vocal advocate for anti-bullying and gay marriage in Australia, and now looks to use his platform to advocate for less restrictive surrogacy laws for gay couples in the country.

Read more here.


Male Penguins at Australian Aquarium Given Foster Egg to Raise

Staff at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium began to suspect that the penguins, Magic and Sphen, were bonding earlier this year when they started bowing to each other.

And now for your daily does of awwww.... Staff at a Sydney aquarium have provided two male gentoos penguins with a foster egg for the couple to rear.

Staff at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium began to suspect that the penguins, Magic and Sphen, were bonding earlier this year.

"We'd go over there and Magic and Spehn would be bowing to each other," said Tish Hannan, one of the aquariums keepers, according to ABC. Tish added that bowing is a way for gentoo penguins to say they love each other, "which is super cute."

The penguins were first given a "dummy" egg so they could practice their parenting skills. "They immediately knew exactly what it was and started incubating it," Tish said.

Interestingly, gentoo penguins split parenting responsibilities equally between the sexes. "We're not going to need to step in just because they're males," she said.

Read the full ABC article here.

Change the World

Australian Politician Gives Impassioned Defense of Gay Men's Access to Altruistic Surrogacy

A new bill passed by the Western Australian Legislative Assembly aims to make it legal for gay men and couples to use "altruistic" surrogacy to start their families.

This month, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly passed a bill to allow single men and gay couples to access "altruistic surrogacy" to start their families. Previously, only single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples were allowed to pursue surrogacy arrangements. (Read more about different types of surrogacy arrangements.)

The legislation passed after a long and at times heated debate, during which John Carey, one of three out gay members of the parliament, made an impassioned defense of gay men's ability to access altruistic surrogacy as a means to start their families.

"I came into politics to believe in the best of people, to appeal to the best our our humanity, to show greater kindness, to understand that despite our differences there is much that brings us together," Carey said at the beginning of the debate, according to Out in Perth, which reported on the proceedings. "This is why I proudly stand here today as a member of parliament, and to support progressive change, to support that humanity in our community.

Carey stressed that children being raised by LGBTQ people, "are loved. They are respected. They are supported in their aspirations and their dreams. They go to school, they visit school, they to to playgroups and they mix with they peers, and they are all raised by same-sex parents, and many of them male couples."

Allowing gay men to access altruistic surrogacy was a substantive win for the local LGBTQ community, which also recently saw gay marriage legalized. But it is also, as Carey noted in his speech, a symbolic one. "Every bit of reform which tackles discrimination, which removes those barriers is critically important," he said. "It's not just for those same-sex couples who want to have a child, but also for all those young generations who will see another part of discrimination dismantled from our legislation."

Read Carey's full defense of the bill, which will next be read and debated in the Legislative Council, here.

Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

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Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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