LGBT Parenting Roundup

Let’s start with a funny:

When I first saw the Advocate headline, “Lesbian Named Part Owner of Cubs,” my first thought was, “And I thought it was hard enough for lesbians to adopt human babies.”

Politics and Law

  • Lisa Neff’s piece at 365gay.com gives a touching example of how HUD’s proposed new anti-discrimination policies would impact real families.
  • The Legislative Council in Tasmania, Australia, voted to recognize two mothers on a birth certificate and to make the recognition of co-mothers retrospective to 2003. (Thanks, PageOneQ!)
  • The Scottish government is expected to recommend early next year that lesbians should be allowed free access to NHS fertility services. Some local NHS trusts already allow it, or will do so on a case-by-case basis, but there is no consistency across the country.
  • The Montana Supreme Court once again upheld the rights of a non-bio mom in a custody case, that of Linda Filpula and Dustine Ankney (PDF). A trial court found that Filpula and the children “had child-parent relationships as a result of the joint decision of the two women,” and the state Supreme Court agreed, as Nancy Polikoff reports.

Schools and Youth

  • Jonathan Zimmerman, who teaches history and education at New York University, asks, “What’s Wrong with Being Gay?” Specifically, he wants to know why the gay community’s response to the accusation that we want to “promote homosexuality” in schools has been “No we don’t” rather than “So What?” He makes the point in reference to Kevin Jennings, the openly gay assistant deputy secretary of education, who is under fire from the right; I made a similar point last year with regard to the Prop 8 campaign. Queerty dissects Zimmerman’s observation further, saying:

    The fearmongering campaign from zealots, and the innate reluctance from education moderates that keeps this from happening is the immediate connection between homosexuality and sex. Because that three-letter word is included in every discussion about gays and lesbians, it’s easy to scare parents and community leaders and academia as a whole from seriously engaging young people in an education about people who are not heterosexual. Algebra problems that make use of boyfriends and girlfriends (e.g., splitting the check on a date) don’t inherently involve a discussion about sex, because hetero partners are the norm. So why can’t we encourage educators to, every now and then, throw in two girlfriends in a proof? . . .

    First graders learn about classmates’ mommies and daddies, from what they do at work to how many siblings they provided their sons and daughters. It has nothing to do with putting penises in vaginas. Discussing the families of same-sex parents, then, needn’t have anything to do with genitalia and orifices, either.

    “If, at 4:00 p.m., Jane picks up Charlie from soccer practice, three miles from their house, and drives at 30 mph, and her spouse Sally picks up their other child, Susie, from karate lessons five miles away, and drives at 35 mph, which of them will arrive home first?”

  • The Birmingham, Alabama Board of Education passed an anti-bullying policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and passed another policy protecting LGBT teachers from harassment.
  • Illinois Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch spoke at a public forum sponsored by the East Central Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a subdivision of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, on what schools can do to create a safe learning environment for LGBT students.
  • Elsewhere in Illinois, Dan DeLong, a 10th and 12th-grade Honors English teacher and straight, married, ally, was suspended for assigning his students an article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom. He was then reinstated after hundreds of his students protested.
  • The school board in Corunna, Michigan, removed a display that the Diversity Club had put up for gay history month, showing pictures of successful gay Americans.
  • An Army recruiter supervising 500 high school students during a military aptitude test
    used a gay slur and an expletive when talking to a fellow soldier, a remark overheard and reported on by several students. The head of the Denver Recruiting Battalion said such behavior is inappropriate, and the unit will be conducting an internal investigation.

Demographics

  • UCLA’s Williams Institute released the first study (PDF) to examine the difference and similarities among same-sex couples and married different-sex couples based on data from the Census Department’s American Community Survey. It found that same-sex and opposite-sex spouses are similar in terms of age, education, household income, and homeownership rates. Lots of other delicious facts to digest here, too. One key one: “Same-sex spouses were twice as likely to be raising children—more than 31% of spouses are raising children as opposed to 17% of unmarried partners.”

Personal Stories

  • COLAGE board member Brett Webb-Mitchell wrote a piece for Q-Notes on coming out as gay after having children in an opposite-sex marriage, and the great variety and strength of the COLAGEr’s he has come to know.