Posting was light here this week, since I dropped a very lengthy piece on LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books and wanted to give you all time to read it. The world moves on, however, so here are a few of the stories in the headlines.
- Connecticut is seeing a “gay baby boom,” says the Norwalk Hour in a piece profiling gay dad Mark Leondires of Norwalk and a few other gay dads. Both Leondires, a doctor at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut, and one other fertility doctor they cite report a large jump in the number of same-sex couples they’ve helped in recent years. (Of course, the term “gayby boom” was first used way back in 1990, so even if there has been a recent increase, let’s not pretend it’s really a brand-new trend.)
- “Are Children of Queer Families More than Allies?” asks author Alysia Abbott. “Surely in this world, where queer-identified couples are able to legally marry, and are raising children in ever greater numbers, we can find a richer, more considered term than “ally” to describe their children.” Excellent point. (And here’s my review of Abbott’s memoir about her father.)
- Family Equality Council’s Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign and the Center for American Progress’ Welcoming All Families Project want your stories if you have ever experienced anti-LGBTQ discrimination in adoption and/or foster care as a parent or child. I’ll have more on this major new initiative in the coming weeks.
- Jessica Clasby-Monk, whose child was stillborn, is asking other LGBT families to share their stories of baby loss. Read her piece at HuffPo, and find more information and support at her blog, The Legacy of Leo.
- Teachers in Seattle elementary schools are rolling out a new health curriculum that includes information on gender and sexual orientation. The standards, the Columbian reports, “require schools to teach students as young as kindergarten about the different ways to express gender, while fifth-graders learn about ways to show respect for all people and how to identify a trusted adult to ask questions about gender identity and sexual orientation.” A task force of parents and teachers worked for about a year to develop the lessons and select the books for each grade,
Politics and Law
- A two-mom couple in New York won their battle for parental rights over their sperm donor. The appeals court overturned a lower court’s order that the child take a paternity test, finding that it would be against the child’s best interests. Importantly, the ruling also stated that the “presumption of legitimacy,” which means a child born to different-sex spouses is assumed to be the child of both parents—extends to same-sex couples as well. This is a terrific decision that should have positive repercussions across the state—the Daily Beast does a good analysis. They also report, however, that “the child is currently in foster care and has been ‘for a lengthy period of time’ since the 2015 hearing. Few details are provided other than the existence of neglect petitions pending against both mothers.” If those petitions are true, and not just motivated by bias, that’s worrying. They shouldn’t change the ruling as to the moms’ parenthood, but do make me hope that the family gets whatever help and support it needs.
- Attorney Roberta Kaplan, who represented Edith Windsor before the U.S. Supreme Court in the groundbreaking case that overturned a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, received the New York State Bar Association’s highest honor, the Gold Medal award. Kaplan is herself a lesbian mom and is raising a son with her spouse Rachel Levine.
- Army Staff Sergeant Patricia King, a soldier, mom, and transgender woman, was a guest of U.S. Rep Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) at the State of the Union this past week. The Boston Globe has her story.
- The Phnom Pehn Post gives us an overview of adoptive LGBT couples in Cambodia.
- Celebrity chef Cat Cora, first female Iron Chef, founder of Chefs for Humanity, and lesbian mom, and her fiancée Nicole Ehrlich are having a contest for someone to make their wedding cake.
- Jay-Z and his mother Gloria Carter will be honored at the GLAAD Media Awards this year, after Carter came out with a guest spot in the song “Smile” on Jay-Z’s 4:44 album.
- Croatia now has its first picture book about same-sex families: My Rainbow Family, by Ivo Šegota. The BBC has a nice piece on it (with images from the book!) that also looks at the challenges for same-sex parents in the country today. Despite rising conservatism and extremism, there are signs of hope. Daniel Martinovic, co-founder of Croatia’s Rainbow Families support group, said the book has sold well not only to LGBT people, but also to non-LGBT parents who want their children to see stories of equality and diversity.