Tag Archives: same-sex parents

Parenthood: Childless

9 Sep

ParenthoodMy husband and I watched Parenthood last night.  It is one of my favorite movies. It was also the first time I fell in love with Diane Wiest, who does a great job of showing the difficulties of being a single parent with unconditional love for her two children.  The movie does a fantastic job of showing the tensions, troubles, and triumphs of being both a child and a parent. While I still loved watching the movie, I was also quite mournful.  As a middle aged gay man, I had always wanted children.  I always saw myself as a parent before I saw myself as a spouse. I was quite comfortable not having a husband and thought I would just adopt a child and live my life out as a parent.

My world changed about 15 years ago and I fell in love with a man who is nothing less than wonderful and amazing.  He is so amazing that I chose being married over being a parent.  Of course, there are times I still break down in tears that I don’t have  children.  in fact, a short time ago, my husband and I were at a restaurant and I saw this young child with dark skin and really curly hair and thought, “this could be my child.”  I started to weep over my hamburger.  While my husband was quite supportive, he did not feel the loss I was feeling.

Sadly, while watching the movie, Parenthood, I reflected on how neurotic I would have been if I had children and how overly involved I would have been.  Fortunately, we have some very dear friends who allow us to watch their four children — we love them dearly!!!  However, I am able to observe my neurosis even while spending time with the kids.  For example, when one of the kids wants to show me her head stand, it takes everything I have not to say “please don’t do that,” for fear she will hurt herself.

I am so elated that same-sex couples have children.  The same-sex couples I know who have children love them so dearly. Regardless of sexual orientation, children need structure, guidance, and most of all love.  How sad that Justice Scalia and his  merry little band of homophobes try to justify their homophobia under the guise of bearing children.  Where does that leave all of my heterosexual friends who either choose to be childless, or are unable to bear children?  Again, we see Scalia and his fellow haters on the wrong side of history.

Finally, I am also grateful for all of the children (now adults) that I have had the honor of teaching.  It is an amazing honor to see students grow up as adults and still keep in contact with you.  While I don’t have biological children, I am very lucky to have generations of kids in the past 25 years.

One of the Voices of Social Justice: Eva Hoffman

26 Jul

Eva and her wife Dana

Those of you who have been reading TSM for at least a year now are clearly aware that this blog is dedicated to issues of social justice and civil rights; since you are reading this, I presume you share similar passions.  Today I was able to visit with my friend Eva; she is a fierce advocate for social justice and civil rights.

Eva is 55 and grew up in Los Angeles until she was 12, when she moved to a small city in Washington State.  She moved to Portland in 1995 to go to school and she has lived here ever since, “I went to college for computer sciences.”

On coming out:

I left my husband in 1991 and I have three wonderful children.  I came out when I was 40, because it was about time.   I had gone to this hardware store to apply for a job because my former manager encouraged me to apply there.  I walked up to customer service and saw this big black beautiful woman with a great smile and I said to myself, I want her—love at first sight.  We have been together for 13 years August 1. I refer to her as my wife.  I don’t need a piece of paper to prove that, but it sure would be nice.

On kids:

It was okay. My son Matthew knew before I told him and he walked up to Dana [my wife] and said “Don’t hurt her.”  He and Dana are very close—they are buddies.  Dana is also very close to my eldest, Jennifer—they call her Mama D.  Jeff is my middle child and he and his girlfriend love us both and they are very accepting.  However, I lost a lot of friends after coming out, but oh well.  I’m not able to return to the small town in Washington.

When I told my best friend that I was gay, she said I was going to burn in hell.  Fortunately,  I have made so many new friends since coming out and feel very much accepted—I’m very open and I don’t hide who I am.

Do you consider you and your wife political?

Yes.  Very much so.  We follow politics and read a lot and we love Bill Maher.  We are not Democrat or Republican-I just vote for the person who deserves it.  Right now, President Obama is the only choice!

What would you give as a task to the LGBTQ community?

I want equal rights for everyone—I believe every Veteran should have a place to live—they should have a job.  I believe everyone should have insurance.  I am also an outspoken advocate for Autism.  My grandson is autistic and he is 6 years old.  I want to know why there is such limited funding for research on Autism.  People need to know that some immunizations contain mercury and lead, the biggest one is the swine flu shot which contains mercury.  When my grandson was three, we took him to a naturopath and he had mercury in his system and the protective coating they use for flame retardency on pajamas; he had a significant dose of that in his system.  He had to be detoxed with vitamins at only three years old.  (Eva grows tearful when talking about her grandchild.)

What task would you give the LGBTQ community?

Not be divided. Why don’t we fight as one? We are one community—if we stood as one and fought those that oppress us, Chick-Fil-A, Mitt Romney, anything that hurts us.  Stand up for who you are and what you are and don’t let people hurt you.

What would you say to closeted people that are middle aged and fearful?

Life is too short—Do IT.  I know it is not easy, there are so many factors.  If your church does not support you find another church.  It is an amazing feeling of freedom and self-worth and you will never be happier than after you come out and live your life honestly.  Hiding is a lie and you are lying to yourself, your friends and your community.

Thank you, Eva.  Thank you for your courage and thank you for your authenticity and your advocacy for civil rights for all.

Dear Dr. Mark Regnerus and Other Homophobic Bigots…

24 Jun

Who Cares About Science?

I was fortunate enough to get a great many responses to my BWA for Mark Regnerus.  Along with the responses came many wonderful ideas for a call to action.  I would like to share a key call to action and I have to thank Scott Rose from The New Civil Rights Movement for leaving this item on my blog. I also need to thank my friend and ally Sara Swain.

First, one needs to point out just some of the flawed science of Dr. Regnerus: the core of Regnerus’ analysis is “kin altruism”, the biological tie between parent and child, a mythical sine qua non in securing the stability required for children to thrive. That stability can come ONLY from this mythical kin altruism, and children can thrive ONLY with this kin-altruism-derived stability. Ergo, ONLY those children raised by their biological parent(s) (who are presumably not drunkards, abusive, mentally deranged, etc.) have the potential for the kind of positive outcomes Regnerus is seeking–I would love to see some meaningful data he had, presuming Dr. Regnerus knows what that is.

Take Action:

Here is just a snippet of the action Scott Rose took and I encourage all LGBT folk and our allies to take similar action:

William Powers, Jr.
President
University of Texas, Austin
Office of the President
Main Building 400 (G3400)
Austin, Texas 78713-8920

In Re: Scientific Misconduct Complaint against UTA’s Mark D. Regnerus

Dear President Powers:

I have filed, through the “EthicsPoint” online system, a complaint against UTA’s Mark D. Regnerus for Scientific Misconduct in violation of UTA’s Academic Dishonesty Policy, which forbids use of misinformation to hurt others.

Please respond promptly to this letter, which is being published at http://www.TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com

Here are some facts of the case:

1)        This is not a complaint that UTA Mark D. Regnerus is active politically. The complaint rather is that Regnerus took money from political persons and groups to further their political goals, and in preparing a study for them, rushed it through production for their use in the 2012 elections, though Regnerus himself has stated in a video interview given to the Daily Texan’s Hannah Jane Deciutus that his methodology for the study does not work “to the long-term benefit of science.” In other words, in order to retain a large grant from political organizations, a) Regnerus knowingly failed to uphold acceptable standards for his discipline, and b) knowingly rushed through his study in time for his funders to use it in the 2012 elections, instead of c) working professionally to produce a study that would work “to the long-term benefit of science.” In that, Professor Regnerus’s behavior is antithetical to the raison d’être of a university.

Please contact the University of Texas, Austin and let President Powers hear our collective voice that homophobic non-science is not acceptable!

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.

Kids From Same-Sex Parents: Setting the Record “Straight”

19 Jan

Same-Sex Parents

Yet another report has been released regarding children from same-sex homes as opposed to children from different sex homes.  Guess what?  We now have more research and more reports showing that:

Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are indistinguishable from those raised by straight parents except in one measure — they tend to be more open-minded.

What? Open-minded well-adjusted children coming from same-sex households?  What’s next?  These children will end up growing into adults that fight racism, misogyny, and homophobia and then where will we be?  These kids might end up like Zach Wahls!  I will have nothing more to blog about if these kids, soon to be adults, eradicate poverty and discrimination.

Click here to see the article and report.

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