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2010 – The Year of the Lesbian Parent.

June 14, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Rep.-WA)Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Rep-WA) voted no on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, also more formally known as the Patrick Amendment to H.R. 5136, which would repeal the discriminatory policy banning openly gay service members from defending freedom and equality.  In fact, Rep. McMorris-Rodgers has only supported 3% of progressive actions, but has supported, either through voting or co-sponsorship, 61% of legislation which is considered “regressive” – or rather that which, “erodes freedom, knowledge and security.”   Here are a few examples of her regressive legislation support:

  • Amendment 35 to H.R. 2647 was proposed to counter the current push to cover-up American military and interrogation activities. Amendment 35 would require military interrogations to be videotaped, with an exception provided at times when there may not be time to set up a camera.  Cathy McMorris-Rodger’s voted against this measure.
  • H.R. 11, also known as The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a bill that simply says that workers cannot be expected to file suit for compensation for wage discrimination before they actually find out that they have been discriminated against.  Cathy McMorris-Rodger’s voted against this measure.
  • H.R. 2608, was introduced after the government of Washington, DC voted to approve same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. H.R. 2608 seeks to overturn the local decision of DC government by imposing a congressional prohibition on same-sex marriage in Washington, DC. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers co-sponsored this discriminatory legislation.

Here’s an expression I’m sure you’ve heard, “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”  Cathy McMorris-Rodgers has now sponsored a bill, which on its surface appears acceptable, simple and certainly non-controversial.  But when you read the text of the bill, you find a phrase that can be very disturbing, particularly to same-sex couples with children.

H. Con. Res. 285 was introduced to recognize the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children and families and to support the goals and ideals of designating 2010 as the Year of the Father.  Sounds fairly benign, right?  But what are the goals and ideals of designating 2010 as the Year of the Father?  From the text of the bill, we find this statement:

Whereas it is well documented that children involved with loving fathers are significantly more likely to have healthy self-esteems, exhibit empathy and prosocial behavior, avoid high risk behaviors, have reduced antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys, have better peer relationships, and have higher occupational mobility relative to parents…

Anyone else see the problem? Isn’t it also well documented that Lesbian mothers are better at raising children to be more self-confident, do better academically and are even LESS likely to have behavioral problems?  In fact, here’s what TIME reported on the research:

The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression. ‘We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls,’ says [researcher Nanette] Gartrell. ‘I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn’t something I anticipated.’ In addition, children in same-sex-parent families whose mothers ended up separating, did as well as children in lesbian families in which the moms stayed together.

So, here’s to 2010 – the Year of the Lesbian Parent.

Ellen and Portia – Celebrity Babysitters?

May 09, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Ellen & Everyone ElseThe folks at Parent Dish shared the results of their Mother’s Day poll.

My favorite question was:

Which celebrity would you most feel comfortable leaving your kids with?

And the answers, with over 10,000 people voting:

  • Ellen and Portia 31%
  • Jennifer Aniston 22%
  • Rachel Ray 20%
  • Angelina and Brad 18%
  • Oprah Winfrey 9%

Ellen and Portia…. wouldn’t they make great moms? What a lucky kid.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Where Do Babies Come From?

May 09, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Even down under, a topic related to gay folks can cause quite a stir.Where Did I Really Come From?

The Daily Telegraph in Australia reported on May 4th that

…a book which teaches children about lesbian mums getting pregnant using sperm donors is being pitched at kids as young as two. The controversial publication, ‘Where Did I Really Come From?‘, also features a drawing of two gay men holding a baby in a chapter about surrogacy.

The publisher’s marketing spruiks the book, which includes in-depth descriptions of sexual intercourse, as suitable to be read to two-year-olds. It was being advertised at some Sydney book stores and inside the cover as being part of the New South Wales Attorney General Office’s Learn to Include program, the Daily Telegraph reported today.

I tried to find the book at my local library and they didn’t have it. I also wasn’t interested in paying $20 for it online. From the information  that I could find, the book  talks about different methods for conception, beyond the “original”. In vitro fertilization, surrogacy – including how gays and lesbians can become parents.

Besides learning a new word, spruiks (Google it, I had to), I also thought it would be interesting to read some reader comments. Are they different in Australia? Turns out, no they are not.

It should be considered child abuse for gays and lesbians to adopt or receive fertility treatment .Think of how messed up the children will be growing up in a strange environment like that, not to mention the torture they will suffer through school, or the fact that they may be taken out of schools for home schooling to shield them from what the other kids will do making them even more unbalanced. And for them to try and impose thier views on the minds of infants and the very young is just disgusting to say the least… I spose my comments will go unpublished or apear ‘edited’ at best (I no [sic] I am not PC but i dont care this is wrong) If you cant make a baby the natrual way then dont do it at all – *consider all errors marked [sic]*  Master Chief of Omocron Persi 8 Posted at 1:58pm May 05, 2009

(I can’t resist the urge to comment on two things. First, this guy needs major help with spelling and punctuation. Second, most people who home school are religious fundamentalists “to shield them from what the other kids will do.”)

And a comment from a different perspective.

Come on guys, this is reality, life whether you are in denial of hidden under a rock. Some kids have 2 mums, some 2 dads, some 1 parent, some kids are conceived with donors, some via the “old fashioned” way. They are all “children” regardless of conception method. They fact is, this book goes through all the methods, yes parents will exercise wisdom when deciding when to allow their kids to read the book. But then they always have haven’t they? Just because the book has been published doesn’t mean it becomes a parent’s only option in providing the details. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. I will be buying the book for my 11yo twin sons to read- unlike many other people commenting, they seem to understand that diversity in our community is not wrong.

If the book did not talk about gays and lesbians, would anyone really criticize? Don’t we all know a heterosexual couple that could not conceive “naturally” and went another route? Don’t we applaud  that science is able to help a couple that wants to love a child so much that they will endure the emotional ups and downs of in vitro fertilization, the financial burden of surrogacy, the years of waiting for adoption? Explaining the means of conception for in vitro fertilization is probably less uncomfortable than explaining intercourse. If you can explain why people wear eyeglasses, you can explain a test tube baby.

The comments left by readers condemning any means of creating a child other than through man/woman sexual intercourse are only hiding their homophobia. Whether or not a two year old can understand these concepts is a different question. One I’m not going to tackle here.

It became very clear that the outrage about this book has nothing to do with discussing other means of conception and childbearing, nor at what age children can grasp these concepts. It’s about people who don’t think that gay people should have children.

Do LGBT people make good parents?

First a story, then the actual research.

Thirty years ago (yes, I was an adult thirty years ago), we were visiting a good friend in San Francisco, who happened to be gay. While we were there, it was Kurt’s birthday and several of his friends called him for a spontaneous birthday party. He explained that he had company from out of town, straight company. Their answer? “Bring them with? So what?”

I was excited but nervous. First, I had never been in a social setting with a group of gay people. I was more afraid of saying or doing something stupid. Kurt gave us some quick “etiquette” lessons. Still, in all honesty, I didn’t know if I could find something to talk about other than “hmm, so you’re gay. What’s that been like for you?”

Well thank goodness gay people throw great parties. There were about six men at the party with professions ranging from doctor to lawyer to waiter to financial broker, all very gracious, fun and relaxed, and so welcoming. Within minutes we were talking about the same things that our straight friends talk about.

One of the men had a six year old son, from a marriage. At this point in my life, I was still uncomfortable with the idea of gay people being parents. Not because I was worried about their parenting skills. I was more worried about their kids being teased. I had seen what my friend Kurt went through in high school. Being the child of a gay parent had to be a close second.

When it got to be around 9 a.m., Tom left the group to tuck his son into bed. The bedroom was on the first floor off the kitchen. He left the door open and I quietly eavesdropped. They were reading a book together, laughing and cuddling. If Tom would read a page the wrong way, his son would quickly correct him. If you have children, you know that they expect to hear a story the same exact way every time. Sometimes Tom would change this on purpose and ask his son “So how does that go again?” His son would then become the reader, providing his dad with exactly the right intonation and pace. Tom kissed and hugged his son goodnight, who quickly fell asleep.

I knew at that moment that any child raised by such a good parent could overcome any discrimination. At least the children of LGBT parents have support, something they themselves may not have had from their own parents.

Since then, we have come to know many gay parents. Some had children in marriages, before they were able to come to grips with their sexual orientation. Some adopted or used other means. All are great parents. All wanted to become parents. The desire to want and love a child is not at all linked to our desire for sex, whether the sex is heterosexual or gay.

But what about the world beyond my personal, limited experience. Here is what the American Psychological Association has to say:

In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth.  [emphasis added] – See: http://www.apa.org/pi/parent.html

Does it matter how a child is conceived? Parents, gay or straight, that need to use technology to assist with having a child, or adoption, are people who really want a child. Isn’t that the most important thing for a child, to be wanted, to be loved and cared for by a couple, or individual, ready to make that kind of commitment to another human being?

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Children of Gays Trying to Fill Void Left by Parents

February 05, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

I’ve been following this article on topix, and noted that the comments started referring to yours truly (uhm, that’s me). So I started watching the comments and ultimately found inspiration for this “Stupid Things People Say About Gays.” It also provided me with the unique opportunity to respond directly to causation.  The comment thread read, in part (and I keep it in its original in spite of the grammar issues):

Curious Questioner: Do you all really believe it is fair to a child to have gays get artificially pregnant and have a child to raise? What kind of life is that kid going to have? I draw the line with children.

Too many retards: Ask a adult child raised by gay parents

Curious Questioner: Well, I’ve only ever met one. The kid was a mess. These idiots are not thinking about the life of the child when the try this. They are thinking only of themselves and still trying to fill some void they’ve never been able to with a relationship that isn’t dysfunctional.

I felt obligated to respond as I’m generally overly optimistic:

Have you stopped to consider why the child is “a mess” as the person you know? Perhaps it’s because he is taught by people like you that his parents are horrible people and will damage him. Perhaps its because he sees homosexuals being bullied, outlawed, beaten, raped and sometimes murdered and wakes up in the morning and wonders, “Will my mommies be next?”