Whatever your thoughts on 2019, it certainly hasn't been a boring year for gay, bi and trans dads — this year was chockfull of news relevant to gay men who are fathers. We've had important successes and setback. We've been overjoyed, incensed and entertained. See below for our roundup of 10 important moments that defined the news for gay dads this year.
#1. Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time
In a first, fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker were the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine in January 2019. At the time, our blogger Jim Jospeh wrote what the event meant to him, as a gay father: "I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone," he wrote. "A massive cultural milestone."
#2. Yet ANOTHER Study Finds Gay Dads Are Amazing Parents
In February of this year, yet ANOTHER study confirmed that LGBTQ make amazing parents — not that we needed to be told that again. But this study went further in some previous ones in its scale and scope. It was conducted by Éric Feugé from the Université du Québec à Montréal observed 46 families, made up of 92 gay dads and their 46 children over a period of seven years.
The study, which Feugé says is the first of its kind, analyzed the roles gay dads take in raising their kids and found the way they parent is 'very equitable'.
#3. Ricky Martin and Andy Cohen had babies!
Early in January, both Ricky Martin and Andy Cohen shared exciting news via Instagram! And Lance Bass announced plans to pursue surrogacy with his husband.
#4. New York Tried — and Failed — to End the State's Ban on Surrogacy
New York is one of two states (the other being Michigan) that doesn't permit some form of compensated surrogacy. This past year, however, New York legislators launched a focused campaign to finally legalize the practice after Democrats in the state took control of the Legislature after the 2018 elections. Despite a slew of other progressive priorities being enacted in the state, a surrogacy bill, advanced by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman — who is himself a gay dad through surrogacy — failed after coming frustratingly close to passage.
Read our stories about the bill here:
#5. The Mormon Church Reversed Controversial Policy Banning Children of LGBTQ Parents From Baptisms
In November 2015, the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) announced a new policy decision that shocked many in their community: not only would same-sex married couples be considered "apostates," but even their children would be barred from receiving church blessing and baptisms.
The move was immediately met with backlash. Some allies resigned from the church in protest. Others stood by the church's decision, creating chasms within families. According to the Salt Lake Tribute, some even committed suicide. Fortunately — after pressure from advocates and a huge backlash from within their own community — the church reverse course this year, in April of this year.
#6. Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Say They Hope to Have Children "Soon"
Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that Pete Buttigieg — the 37 year-old gay mayor of the fourth largest city in Indiana — would become a front runner for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States? But that's another thing that happened this year. And the ascendent political start also announced that he and his husband, Chasten, just might be moving in to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with a baby carriage in tow.
#7. Trump Administration Announces Plans to Allow Discrimination Against LGBTQ Adoptive and Foster Parents
President Trump's Department of Health and Human Services announced in June of this year that it was preparing to issue a rule that would allow state-funded child welfare agencies to legally discriminate against same-sex couples. The rule would apply nationwide, depriving some of the over 440,000 children currently in the foster care system in the United States the opportunity to find loving homes with LGBTQ parents.
Read more about this story, which is still unfolding, here:
#8. Gay Penguins Strike Again!
First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.
And this year, we welcomed Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.
#9. One of the First Positive Images of Gay Dads in the Media Came to Light
For LGBTQ History Month in October, the online magazine LGBTQ Nation ran tidbits of history all month long. For one post, they dug up the above image — which they claim is the first, published in a mainstream media outlet, to show gay parents depicted in a positive light.
#10. World's First Sperm Bank Opened for HIV Positive Donors
In December of 2019, a new sperm bank launched, called Sperm Positive, on World Aids Day. The effort was spearhaded by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.
"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."
And here's to more of this kind of news in 2020, please and thank you!