Here’s what’s happening that I haven’t covered in separate posts—including several pieces by children of LGBTQ parents and two that explore how the definition of parent is changing.
What Makes a Parent?
- The eight Indiana same-sex couples fighting to have both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificates had their case heard by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. They filed their case in 2015, and a federal district court sided with them, but the state has appealed the decision. The couples argue that if a child is born to a same-sex married couple, both should be presumed to be the parents, just as for different-sex couples. Judge Diane Sykes, however, insisted, “You can’t overcome biology. If the state defines parenthood by virtue of biology, no argument under the Equal Protection Clause or the substantive due process clause can overcome that.” Two of the moms, Jackie and Lisa Phillips-Stackman, had their child through reciprocal IVF (one mom’s egg, the other’s womb), just like my spouse and I—which makes this case hit particularly close to home for me.
- In “What Makes a Parent?” Ian Parker of the New Yorker examines a nasty child custody case involving a couple who separated just as they were starting the process of adoption. Much of the case rests on the definition of a de facto parent and what constitutes an intent to parent together. It’s a thoughtful look at an unfortunate situation. Both this and the Indiana case above highlight how the dichotomy of biological or adoptive parent no longer works for all families (if indeed it ever did), and how the new shape of parenthood is still being drawn.
Our Children, Speaking Out
- “Children of Queer Parents Don’t Have It Easy” as Elizabeth Collins shows us in a piece for Vice. She herself has two gay dads, and explains, “Whether we’re straight, gay, or in between, our upbringings have led many of us to intimately identify with the LGBTQ community and share in their struggle for acceptance, even if we ourselves are not queer. And we face some struggles of our own, having learned to navigate society, adolescence, and our own sexuality outside of hetero norms.”
- Fifth-grader Marina Osit, who has two moms, noticed her classmates using “gay” as a slur. She decided to start a campaign to change this, and “has raised more than $800 to purchase pins for her classmates that say, ‘Gay does not mean stupid.’”
- Several teens with same-sex parents talk about conception in a video for the U.K. Daily Mail’s “You Can’t Ask That.”
- Gay dad Henry Amador-Batten, who runs the DadSquared community on Facebook, was detained after his United Airlines flight when a member of the flight crew said that his hand, placed across his sleeping five-year-old’s lap, was too close to the “child’s genitals,” his husband Joel reported on Facebook. United has apparently apologized, but the family is seeking compensation.
- That incident came just after gay dad Grant Morse and his spouse said Southwest Airlines had denied them and their children family boarding privileges. The airline responded that the denial had to do with a third adult in their party (who, it appears, is the children’s 83-year-old grandmother), for whom family boarding did not apply.
- Regardless of what actually happened in either case, the situations are making at least one queer parent, Chris Phillips, wonder “How Will My Family Be Treated When We Fly?“
- Queer midwife Jen Goldberg explores how midwifery is (or is not) inclusive of queer and trans people “and what can be done to improve health outcomes.”
- Kelsy Chauvin at Condé Nast Traveler shares “The U.S. State Department’s Travel Tips for Same-Sex Couples and Families.”
- Taiwan’s highest court has just ruled that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry. BBC News profiles dad Jay Lin who is raising twin sons with his partner, and shares what marriage will mean for their family.