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 https://t.co/bG4sheCtPd pic.twitter.com/aE8DKrOAAV
— 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) pic.twitter.com/rBrAoq2xPO
— Paul Kidd 🗳🆈🅴🆂🏳️🌈 (@paulkidd) August 28, 2017

As stated in News.com.au, "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 that—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 — 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.

Fun

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.

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.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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