Tag Archives: Gay Parents

Regnerus Revisited: What’s hiding in his closet?

22 Apr

RegnerusRegular readers will remember Mark Regnerus, the ethically challenged researcher from the University of Texas at Austin. I need to thank my friends Scott Rose and LGBT ally Devon for their vigilance around this nefarious man and the far reaching impact of his lies (flawed research). His “New Family Structures Study” appeared in the journal Social Science Research and argued that children raised by LGBT parents suffered negative outcomes. His statistical methods were deeply flawed (at best) and his conclusions so tenuous that even he could provide only the flimsiest defenses when challenged. It is pretty clear that the Witherspoon Institute, the homophobic far-right think tank that underwrote his research had a very political agenda.

Now it looks like Regnerus and his funders will do everything they can to hide that agenda. Journalist John Becker is trying to get to the bottom of things and has so far been blocked at every turn. The editor of the journal, James Wright, is on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, making his communications subject to public records requests. When Becker filed such requests, the University denied them, maintaining that the communications belong to the publisher, Elsevier. Becker’s attorneys are filing suit, arguing that the article belongs to the publisher — which is more than happy to have it cited and quoted widely — but that any of Wright’s communications belong to the University.

Why all the secrecy? The study was rushed to publication in just six weeks; papers usually take months, often more than a year, to review before publication. An independent audit determined that the review process was so sloppy that the “paper should never have been published.” An investigation by the American Independent makes it clear the Witherspoon Institute wanted some damning data to include in their brief to the Supreme Court opposing marriage equality in the Prop 8 and DOMA hearings.

So there you have it. Two professors — a “researcher” and an editor — cooking a study to meet a foregone conclusion and rushing it to print to meet a well-funded political agenda. Two universities supporting that work and publication. Flawed and dangerous data spreading lies about the LGBT community to influence critical court cases. Most people have rejected the publication, but it is out there for bigots to wield however they like while Regnerus and Wright suffer nothing for their abuse of power–what strange bedfellows-producing and publishing lies for money.  I believe many might just call these two whores!

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Bigot of the Week Award: September 21, Rupert Everett

21 Sep

Bigot of the Week

This week’s BWA was a particularly sad one for me to write.  I am consistently sad when I learn of self-loathing gays who internalize oppression.  Rupert Everett, star of An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest, Shrek II, and many other films, proved to be an amazing disappointment and demonstrated both his self-loathing and his privilege.

In an interview with The Telegraph Everett stated, “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”  Really? You can’t think of anything worse? Wow, what a privileged life you live.  I hear Mitt Romney is looking for self-loathing gays such as yourself for endorsements.

Another statement of Everett’s revealed his ignorance of his own power, influence, and privilege: “I’m not speaking on behalf of the gay community. In fact, I don’t feel like I’m part of any ‘community.” If only it were that simple, Mr. Everett.

I’m embarrassed for you that I have to explain this, but you see you are a major celebrity and regardless of your intent, people will be guided by what you say.  Your influence is disproportionate by design of your celebrity. You have not only proven to be most ungenerous to your LGBT brothers and sisters, but you have proven that your own internalized oppression has rendered you a homophobic bigot.  You are also clearly not a man of science, which has demonstrated that children from same-sex parents are actually more well adjusted than children from opposite sex parents.  You must have the same science background as the bigot Mark Regnerus. You are now 53 years old.  Might I suggest a good therapist for you?

Celebrating LGBTQ History on Fathers’ Day: LGBT Parents

17 Jun

When I was growing up in the 70s the gay rights movement was just beginning. While it would occasionally surge onto the news, it was in many ways treated as secondary to other movements like the anti-war protests and Second Wave Feminism. Those early days truly changed the landscape, however, and set the stage for the broader progress we see today. Things really moved backwards in the 80s and 90s, when you consider how easily gay and lesbian references cropped up on 70s TV like Sonny and Cher and the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

One thing that would never get into the press or the programs was the idea of gay parents. Even as laws punishing gay sex slowly were repealed or went unenforced in many places, homosexuality was still used as a legal barrier to adoption or to custody. (Interesting how that shows how obsessed our opponents are with the sexual side of things…) While the legal landscape still has a way to go, LGBT parents are far more visible and that’s a very good thing. It’s hard to fear what you understand, and it’s easy to understand your neighbors.

Starting with famous books like Heather Has Two Mommies, the narrative of gay parents as part of the American fabric has slowly become clearer and clearer. Celebrity parents like Melissa Etheridge and Neil Patrick Harris opening their homes show loving, supportive families that look familiar to most people. Many more movies and TV show LGBT parents and adoptions just as a matter of course. Modern Family does a phenomenal job of normalizing same-sex parenting, and is far more about parenting than making a big deal that the parents just happen to be two dads.  The Kids Are All Right shows that LGBT families are just as normal (and messed up) as any other families – the fact that there are two moms is the least of their issues. JC Penney’s bold new brand is aggressively acknowledging that families come in all flavors with inclusive advertising images (much to the ire of One Million Moms). Even comic books get into the game, with DC’s Apollo and Midnighter adopting Jenny Quantum after their marriage.

Being a parent is hard and being a good parent in a complex world is even harder. We need kids to have strong families and good support; the orientations of the parents are irrelevant. No matter what Mark Regnerus and his funders would have you believe, LGBT folk make great parents, and all the good research supports that wholeheartedly. In fact, same-sex households can turn out kids as wonderful as Zach Wahls. So let’s take time this Fathers’ Day to celebrate the families that often require more intent and face challenges from the narrow-minded no matter how well they work.

P.S. – Let’s also celebrate the straight parents who love and accept their LGBT children unconditionally. Since bullying and abuse of these kids is still a significant problem, a loving home is often the saving grace. Three cheers to the Judy Shepards, Daphne’s Moms, and PFLAG moms and dads all over America.

Bigot of the Week Award: June 15, Mark Regnerus

15 Jun

Bigot of the Week

Congratulations to University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus for making anti-gay hate groups happy and ignoring basic principles of surveys all in one publication. The outspoken professor has a new study in the July issue of Social Science Research entitled How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Great title — lousy science. One expects better from University of Texas, Austin–shame on you UT Austin.

Regnerus claims that his extensive research

clearly reveals that children appear most apt to succeed well as adults — on multiple counts and across a variety of domains — when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father.

Unfortunately, a cursory review of the study clearly reveals two things: Regnerus’ methodology is fatally flawed and the outcomes he trumpets aren’t that obvious even allowing for those flaws. The main thing he proves is that kids in stable homes do better than kids in unstable homes (DUH) and that he only looked at heterosexual stable homes. He makes no effort to create a matched set of households for comparison and uses some truly bizarre logic to determine what constitutes a same-sex household (really? have you ever taken a basic research class, Mark?).

Regnerus has a history of headline-grabbing sensationalism based on bigotry. He wrote a piece for Slate arguing that the sexual revolution has actually been harmful to women as well as pieces maintaining that good Christians should ensure that their children marry early before society can corrupt their values. His new study was funded by two socially conservative groups: the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation.

Both the New Yorker and Media Matters do an excellent job of dismantling the Regnerus study. What a shame this right-wing bigot wasted over $750,000 dollars in research funds just to give NOM and Tony Perkins another lie to spread.

Number 4 Hero of the Year Award 2011: Zach Wahls

29 Dec

Number 4 Hero of 2011

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to interview the very impressive and courageous Zach Wahls, who defended his two mothers in the state of Iowa.  Zach’s dedication to civil rights and his ability to stand up to a homophobic government earn him this year’s number 4 spot for Hero of the Year Award.

Zach’s moms, Jackie and Terry must be exceedingly proud of their son.  It is also nice to know that should Zach, and whoever his future wife should be, have a gay child, that child will be loved and celebrated.

FlashBack 2010: Admiral Mike Mullen earned the number 4 spot for Hero of 2010.

Bigot of the Week Award: February 25

25 Feb

Bigot of the Week

I knew Mike (I appear to be sane) Huckabee would eventually earn at least one of these awards, but was hoping it would not be so soon in the year. Huckabee earns this week’s BWA after calling gay families, “guinea pigs”:

“I believe that we’re in denial about potential problems as we see more and more homosexual couples raising families. Essentially, these are experiments to see how well children will fare in such same-sex households. It will be years before we know whether or not our little guinea pigs turn out to be good at marriage and parenthood.”

Huckabee has made it clear that he will be running for President in 2012–he certainly is courting the gay vote with comments like the one above. Click here to see the full article on Jeremy’s blog. What make Huckabee so dangerous is that he does not appear as crazy as his peers in the Republican party. The bigot Huckabee goes on ad nauseam about how horrible marriage equality is and the evils of repealing DADT. He also says that, “[Marriage] is the foundational form of government,” Huckabee told CBS News.  Click here to see the full article. Once again, I would like to underscore that I don’t really care if people like the bigoted Huckabee like or dislike, approve or disapprove of the LGBT community. What I do care about is that people like Huckabee DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to deny us our civil rights! YOU DO NOT GET TO SAY WHAT I’M ALLOWED TO HAVE LEGALLY.

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