LGBT Parenting Roundup

Personal Stories

  • The Children’s Hospital Boston blog shares the story of Sylvia (not her real name), who was born Ryan, diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder at age six and transitioned to live as a girl at the start of fifth grade. The blog has also posted an essay by Sylvia’s father—both must-read pieces, as is the piece that led me to them, Joanne Herman’s “A Wedding Just for the Kids” at HuffPo.
  • On a related note, if you missed Slate’s early-August piece on a camp for transgender and gender-variant kids, go read.
  • On a more sobering note, and one that makes us appreciate stories like the above, Kim Pearson, executive director of TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA), relates the story of a school district in Kansas that is refusing to recognize a 10-year-old transgender girl’s gender identity, even though at least one school in the district was willing to make a safe, productive environment for her. TYFA (in conjunction, I assume, with the girl’s two moms) is now trying to raise money to bring a lawsuit against the district.
  • Central Pennsylvania’s Patriot News profiles lesbian moms Joy Verner and Sue Waldner, mothers of four. The article mentions the movie The Kids Are All Right, and cites the latest results from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS; about which more here), but feels it has to counter it with a quote from the spokesperson of the anti-LGBT American Family Association of Pennsylvania. It also feels like it tries a bit too hard at times, with pedantic sentences like, “The two nurture their children, exposing them to social and cultural interests, and teaching them the importance of education and respect for others.” Still, it’s an overall positive article, and a sign that movies like Kids and studies like the NLLFS are indeed raising awareness of lesbian families.

Starting a Family

  • A small study in the U.K. has found that the costs of getting pregnant are a barrier to many lesbians trying to conceive, despite new laws that make it easier for them to use fertility clinics.

Politics and Law

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) workers refused to let a gay couple with two children enter two sites, claiming the family’s membership was only for straight couples. Later, INPA apologized and said they reminded all workers of the anti-discrimination regulations.
  • My piece about the pending case in Florida to determine whether a gay man can adopt the boys he and his partner have been fostering.
  • A Catholic adoption agency in the U.K. has been told it cannot refuse to place children with same-sex couples. Pinknews.co.uk reports that the majority of Catholic adoption agencies in the country have closed or cut their ties with the church in order to avoid conflict between the church and new anti-discrimination regulations. In 2006, here in the U.S., both the San Francisco Catholic Charities (SFCC) and Boston Catholic Charities shut down their adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi high school that excluded Ceara Sturgis’ name and senior portrait from the yearbook rather than publish a photo of her in a tuxedo.

Miscellaneous

  • Michael C. LaSala writes in Psychology Today about the sudden stigma many straight parents feel when they discover they have a gay or lesbian child. “They very quickly realize they are now living in a world that stigmatizes not only their children but also themselves,” he writes. How to cope? Approach the problem as a family one, he advises. Parents should also be open to learning from their children, who often realize they are gay or lesbian long before they tell their parents, and may already have discovered some coping mechanisms.