Lesbian couple from Greysteel in County Londonderry, have spoken of how they were left feeling “embarrassed”, after visiting an NHS clinic, and being told they were ineligible for treatment.
The couple – Sarah Murphy and Jenny Doherty – says they then decided to visit a private facility, in order for the procedure to be legal.
In the UK, for a couple to have both names on birth certificate, they must use a fertility clinic, and not do the procedure on their own.
Speaking the BBC, Sarah Murphy explained;
That was one of the main reasons why we chose to go through a clinic and not to do it ourselves. As we aren’t in a same sex marriage or in a civil partnership, Jenny’s name will now be on the baby’s birth certificate as the legal parent.”
Murphy said they were concerned that if they had taken matters into their own hands, a lengthy court battle could have ensued.
The couple went to the private clinic after attending the Western Health Trust and regional fertility centre.
The health service weren’t very helpful to be honest.”
The Trust told the BBC that it does not comment on individual cases, but that anyone concerned about their treatment should get in contact.
After the ordeal, Murphy said those in same-sex relationships should find it easier to access these services, and called for “better knowledge”among doctors.
Even if you could be told – ‘We can offer you this or we can’t offer you that’ – that would be a massive help, instead of walking out with more questions than you walk in. I think from the moment we walked in the door, we were almost dismissed.
We felt embarrassed for wanting something that every other human in the world wants.”
The couple say they don’t regret paying out around £6,000 for the private clinic, and that their parents are excited to become grandparents.
We were treated as a couple who wanted to have a baby, just the same as every other couple who were there. It has been expensive, and without loans and credit cards and help from my parents we wouldn’t have been able to afford it.
It has been priceless and we would do it again in a heartbeat, but at the same time we wish we didn’t have to spend that much.”
According to new research, same-sex couples may one day be able to have children who are genetically related to both partners.
A new technique – yet to be tried on humans – would involve scientists collecting a specific type of cell (such as a muscle cell) and producing a stem cell. These stem cells would then be used to create gametes (sex cells) – including creating an egg from a man or a sperm cell from a woman.
This could include ‘multiplex parenting’ with children having groups of more than two parents, or children with just one biological parent.
Scientist Sonia Suter from George Washington University, USA, explains IVG may be preferable to other fertility treatments in some circumstances, but in others it could be ‘substantially more problematic’.
For single parents, where all of the baby’s genetic material would come from one person’s DNA, there are greater challenges, Suter says.
We have minimal knowledge about the implications. The only way to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of these techniques in humans is to use in vitro gametes (sex cells) to try to produce viable offspring in controlled settings – when and if we deem it sufficiently safe to do so.”
Dr George Ndkwe, medical director of the Zita West fertility clinic, told Huffington Post this technique, while useful, could radically change the notion of parenthood in future.
This is wonderful science, but it’s going to raise questions. There are possible uses of it, which in my opinion can be useful. For instance, for somebody who has no sperm at all or a woman who has no egg, if you can use any of their cells to create sperm or eggs then they can have treatment, so to use it in that way specifically for treatment, in my opinion may have some benefits.”
It would completely challenge our notion of parenthood with very complex legal implications. That’s where it gets very scary.”
Right now, roughly 11% of gay adult men and 33% of gay adult women in Australia are raising children. And yet, while poll after poll showing the majority of Australians approve of same-sex marriage, Australia remains the only English-speaking country in the world not to have legalised it, with conservatives citing the same concern: the welfare of kids raised by two mums or two dads.
In all of this, filmmakers Maya Newell (herself raised by two mothers) and Charlotte Mars noticed one voice was crucially missing: the kids.
So over several years, they followed the lives of four children and their same-sex parents, and made the feature documentary Gayby Baby.
After seeing the documentary before its release, artist Casey Legler and photographer Jez Smith – in collaboration with the Gayby Baby team — spearheaded the photo series GAYBIES: We Are Not a Hypothetical, which showcases kids raised by same-sex parents — including several from the film.
Upon its Australian cinema release last week, however, Gayby Baby made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Conservative tabloid The Daily Telegraph published a front-page news story reporting that parents had objected to a scheduled school screening of the film. Soon after, The Guardian proved those reports were false. It didn’t matter: the New South Wales education minister banned the film from being screened during school hours.
The timing of Legler and Smith’s photo essay couldn’t be better. Now, after being told their families are “not normal” in the national press, three of the kids featured in Gayby Baby — Ebony, Gus and Matt — have spoken up, and the present-day photos have given them the opportunity to have their voices heard one more time.
I’m in the film Gayby Baby, which started when I was 12, and I’m now 16. My brother Ashaan is now 5, Seth is 12 – oh gosh, he’s old! – and Makaya has just turned eight weeks. Ang is 40 this year and my mum is 36. I hear the words “gay agenda” all the time, and every time it makes me laugh. The only agenda my parents have is getting Makaya to sleep, or making sure we have done our homework, then getting our reports … and seeing we haven’t done our homework. I doubt this film has a gay agenda. It’s just us, and [filmmaker] Maya following us around for a few years. If my life has an agenda, then I’d like someone to explain that to me.
People can make assumptions about you and throw statistics at you and they can say all these things about you but in the end no knows your family but you.”
I have two mums. There’s also my sister Ebony, my little brother Ash, and my littlest brother Makaya. I found out my family was different in Year One. At my school you do Christian Scripture, and the only way not to go is you have to send an email to the principal. My parents didn’t know about that, so I went. We were a couple of weeks into it when they started to say, “If you have same-sex parents, or if you are gay, it’s a sin.” It was a shock and I was kind of confused. So I went home, Mum had a good long chat to the principal and Ang got me a bowl of ice cream. But yeah, that’s how I knew my family was different. But I’ve never really cared, ’cause my family is great. I’d rather my family is different and happy, than “normal” and not happy.
No matter what people say, don’t let it get you down. Just own it. If someone says your family is weird, just move on.”
I am Ashaan and I have two mums. On my birthday I get two things!
My family consists of my two mothers – Louise and Margaret – my brother Raj, and my father Paul. What’s great about my family is that it is different, but at its core, it’s the same as everyone else’s. If Gayby Baby had been shown when I was at school, I wouldn’t have had to lie and make up stories about what my family was, and who that other woman living with us was. I could have been open and honest about myself and with my friends from the start. No one can ever discriminate against you if you are proud of yourself.
No one can ever discriminate against you if you are proud of yourself. You shouldn’t have to hide. Be yourself.”
My parents are Jen and Jamie, and I have a little sister, Rory. What’s great about my family is that they love me very much. They’re a pretty average family, but they are pretty daggy. When I woke up on Wednesday, my parents were pretty upset [by the Daily Telegraph front page], because the screening was suppose to be a step forward for the gay movement. But I was like, “Cool, I made the front page.”
Just try not to listen to the rich white politicians and love your family. Don’t blame them for anything, cause despite what everyone thinks — it’s not a choice.”
I have three mums – Fiona, Jam and Gina – a brother called Bruno who is very annoying, a cat called Jasper, and another a cat called Flash who lives with six Spiny Leaf Stick insects. What I like about my mums is that they are completely different.
One is tough and is a blacksmith, my other mum works for Women NSW and my other mum is a writer. At school, sometimes people say “that’s gay’ or they call people gay. I try and stop them but they just keep doing it. The other day, even one of my best friends said, “That’s so gay,” and I was like, “That is extremely rude.”
Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let them bring you down.”
My family is like every family. There are some bad things and some good things. I felt half happy because Gus was on the front page of the newspaper, but half sad because they were being mean to people with gay and lesbian families. The people who disagree with it have not watched the film. If they watch Gayby Baby, they will know that everyone is the same, because all families have their differences.
Everyone is the same because all families have their differences.”
When I was eight, me and my parents went on an episode of [Australian children’s TV show] Play School . Parents complained, so controversy is something I am very used to. Even though it’s been really yuck to see homophobia given airtime, it has shown that there is a lot of support for gay and lesbian families too. Watching Gayby Baby, I realised I had never seen my family on screen in all those complex ways. I felt an enormous sense of pride.
I want kids who are growing up with same-sex parents to know that you understand diversity, acceptance and love more than most fully grown adults.”
Dylan, 13 and Matt, 16
Dylan: I have two mums who are married, a dad, a soon-to-be step mum, a brother and a stepsister. My mums got married in New Zealand, then came to Australia for the reception. It was really fun. My brother and I made speeches, danced down the aisle and did the first dance. To other kids in families like mine, I’d say, just remember that you are just like every other family, but you’re better, ’cause you have two of them. Be proud of it.
Matt: My mums wanted to get married in Australia but it’s illegal. They were going to wait until they legalised it, but that was going to take too long, so they went to New Zealand. It wasn’t the best, ’cause they had to go overseas and none of their friends could be with them. But then they came back and had a wedding reception and that was really fun. People are saying Gayby Baby is political and shouldn’t be shown in schools, but it’s just showing kids like me who have gay parents that it’s alright.
I have two mums, a donor dad, and another mum that lives in Melbourne. I’ve been in the [Sydney Gay and Lesbian] Mardi Gras since I was zero. When I was four, the theme for the rainbow kids was The Wizard of Oz.Mum, Lil and I all dressed up as the Tin Man and we painted our bodies silver. It was one of the best Mardi Gras I’ve ever been in. My advice to younger kids? Acknowledge that you are different. Because who wants to be normal? Normal is so boring.
Who wants to be normal? Normal is so boring. Being different is so special; you are brought up with so much love and acceptance.”
Mike Baird, the Premier in New South Wales in Australia has apologised, and said he was “distressed” after he backed ban on showing of a same-sex parenting film.
Burwood Girls High in Sydney planned on screening the film Gayby Baby to students last Friday morning as part of “Wear it Purple” day – a equality campaign aimed at encouraging LGBT inclusion and support in schools.
However, the film was banned from being shown during school hours, by New South Wales’ education minister Adrian Piccoli.
State Premier Mike Baird backed the move:
I understand the intent of that is to provide an example of tolerance and that’s something I absolutely support. Should it be in class time? No, I don’t think so. Should it be optional? Yes, I do think so.”
Upper house Labor MP Penny Sharpe brought up the controversy at a budget estimate on Thursday.
She said she had heard from a gay parent who said she felt the government’s action on the film had sent a message to her kids that they were not normal.
The letter read
I want to cry because although I know our child is ever so loved and balanced and sensible, and fully supported as an emerging young person in their own right, I can’t really know what this does to them. I am outraged at the media, but more at the damage made so much greater with a government affirmation and intervention that ensured that the message of `unacceptable’, `not normal’, and `tacitly deviant, therefore worth less’ was slammed full force, without consideration, consultation or care, into the minds of children and families throughout the state.”
Mr Baird responded to say that he had been “very distressed by the way this played out.”
I have to say to her that I’m incredibly sorry. Everyone – every single person – has value. Everyone is normal. The last thing I want is for any family to not feel loved and accepted across NSW.”
Gayby Baby is a documentary, which tells the stories of children of same-sex parented families. Sydney filmmakers Maya Newell and Charlotte McLellan raised $100k to make the film through crowdfunding in 2012.
As the daughter of two mothers, Newell hoped to change the minds of those who believe same-sex parenting is detrimental to children and ultimately her goal is to bring gay marriage to reality. The documentary is told from the perspectives of the three such ‘gaybies’ to see what it’s really like to grow up in such a family.
LGBT advocate and award winning musician, Tom Goss has just released the video for his new song, ‘Breath and Sound’, that tells the story of three couples, who meet – and fall in love – through a moving dance sequence.
That’s why I’m doing this. There isn’t enough LGBT content being produced. Historically, people have been afraid to tell these stories – but I’m not. I will always use my voice to help tell the stories of those who cannot.”
However, he said that the video is not just for the LGBT community, saying he wants the video to help straight people “to understand the boundlessness of love.”
There’s a reason the first verse focuses on the straight couple alone – that’s what [straight people] are used to seeing. I want straight people to be drawn into a familiar story, one they understand and relate to. Once there, I want to show them that this exact same story is being lived by the LGBT community,”
As a gay man, I don’t want special privilege. I just want to love – passionately, fearlessly and completely.”
In April, 2013, basketball player Brittney Griner made headlines not just for her phenomenal talent (she was the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft) but because she also came out as gay.
Her announcement was huge given that the WNBA had previously been criticised for the way that it encouraged gay players to be quiet about their sexualities for fears of the league being branded as ‘for lesbians only’. Griner also became the first openly gay athlete to be endorsed by Nike.
The star athlete made headlines again in August 2014 when she announced her engagement to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson.
The two appeared to be a happy couple and they even appeared on the Atlanta edition of reality TV show Say Yes to the Dress which details the (sometimes extravagant) lengths that couples will go to to put together the perfect wedding.
But things turned sour just weeks before Griner and Johnson were set to marry. Following an altercation between the two at their Arizona home, the two women were arrested for domestic violence, with the police report stating that the violence had been “mutual”.
Whether mutual or not, it did result in a debate about same-sex domestic violence, a topic which is rarely spoken about in the media. But this debate was short-lived as the pair proceeded to get married anyway and once more, people began to fawn over their nuptials.
However, just 28 days later, and Griner filed for an annulment of the marriage. Speaking to ESPN, Griner explained that although she did take part in counselling following April’s domestic violence charge, she tried to postpone the wedding several times and that ultimately it was a mistake. She also admitted that she “shouldn’t have went through with it”.
But for Johnson, the filing came as a shock as she released a statement saying that she “still loves and cares for Brittney” and that she was “hurt and blindsided” by the announcement. Just days before the annulment was announced, Johnson had revealed that she was pregnant and on Instagram she posted a photo of Griner (apparently lovingly) kissing her stomach.
With so much going on, it’s unclear if the pair will reconcile or if Griner will continue the counselling that she began prior to the wedding. But for readers in a similar situation, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) and the Los Angeles LGBT Center have more information on what to do.
A new study from the University of Colorado Denver finds that there has scientific consensus on same-sex parenting for decades.
By assessing a number if studies that examined same-sex parenting, and studying the trends and shifts between them, the researchers were able to determine that the scientific community agrees there were no differences in children raised by same-sex couples and different-sex couples.
Despite arguments made to the contrary just this year in Supreme Court amicus briefs, the consensus is not new.
According to the study, there was already a developing consensus affirming same-sex parenting among social scientists by 1990. By 2000 and henceforth, that consensus has been “overwhelming.”
Lead researcher Jimi Adams, associate professor in the Department of Health and Behavioural Studies at CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, told Think Progress that even though there is still the occasional dissent…
… even those dissenters seem to agree that consensus exists. They’re forced instead to claim that they think that the existing consensus is pre-mature.”
Adams, along with co-author Ryan Light of the University of Oregon, found that studies conducted before 1990 “disproportionately focused on same-sex parenthood that occurred following dissolved heterosexual partnerships.”
These studies thus couldn’t isolate the effect of having same-sex parents on children from the effects of divorce and separation. As researchers began to focus on same-sex couples who adopted or used in vitro fertilisation — thus raising their children from birth in a stable household — the differences disappeared and consensus began to lock in.
Even when differences are still found among children of same-sex couples, it’s not necessarily because of the sexual orientation of the parents.
As Adams explained.
.. [relationships] have had a tendency to be more unstable [and] parental relationship instability is associated with negative outcomes for kids.”
But cultural stigma and legal inequality could contribute to that instability, so the progress of marriage equality could likely “lead to beneficial changes for these other sources of potential negative impacts on kids.”
It’s these other factors that contemporary dissenters like Mark Regnerus and Loren Marks fail to account for. Regnerus’ study, which purported that the children of same-sex couples fare worse, conflated children whose parents separated and then entered a same-sex relationship with those raise by same-sex couples from birth. As Adams and Light point out, a recent re-analysis of Regnerus’ data controlling for these factors actually supports the “no differences” consensus.
Marks’ dissent does not stem from new research he conducted, but from a critique of past studies because they use small convenience samples — methods of recruiting participants that aren’t totally random, such as snowball samples, where one same-sex family might help recruit another that they know — which he believes bias the results.
Adams told ThinkProgress that “it’s really difficult to gain much leverage on the observable patterns from large population-based samples like Marks/Regnerus are claiming we need more of” because those random samples simply don’t capture enough kids raised by same-sex couples.
Likewise, Adams isn’t persuaded by Marks’ critiques of convenience samples.
Any one convenience sample can rightfully be criticised regarding its lack of ability to generalise its findings to the broader population from which it was drawn.
But when study after study finds the same thing — each with their own separate means for drawing their convenience (or small scale) samples — those weaknesses become less and less likely to be able to account for the mounting consistency of the resulting evidence.”
Adams admits that sometimes a consensus can be re-evaluated, and there is certainly still new information to be collected on the matter of same-sex couples.
Perhaps the most glaring gap is how few of the kids in these studies are from married same-sex homes.”
As marriage equality expands, there will be more opportunities for “apples-to-apples” comparisons, but he expects such studies would only confirm the consensus, if not reveal some new advantages that the children of same-sex couples experience when their parents can marry.
The cumulation of evidence we have to this point — according to our analyses — appears to be pretty robust. So, I think it would take some earth-shattering new evidence to upset this applecart.”
When reports surfaced that Brittney Griner filed for an annulment a day after Glory Johnson announced she was pregnant and a month after they were married – people were left asking a lot of questions on what happened to this sporting power-couple.
After a week of speculation, Johnson has released an emailed statement, stating that she is still shaken, but moving forward with her life.
I am truly really saddened by the recent turn of events and was not expecting to have our marriage end so abruptly. I am ready to begin focusing on my health, pregnancy and am going to remain in Tulsa to continue to build my relationship with the Tulsa Shock organization, and my teammates. I appreciate the support of my fans, family and loved ones and look forward to returning to the basketball court as soon as I can.”
She went into further detail about the rumours pertaining to whether Griner played a part in her pregnancy or not.
At no stage was Brittney pressured to undertake the fertility process. In fact, throughout the entire process, Brittney was a willing participant, consenting and signing all the necessary documents that needed to be signed in order to move forward with the treatments.
I would like to address the inaccurate statements released surrounding my marriage and pregnancy, so that I can continue, after this statement, to focus on my privacy and allow our lawyers to handle this situation.”
Griner stated last week that she married Johnson under duress. Johnson said the decision to move forward with the wedding was mutual.
In addition, while we may have both had our reservations, we both willfully and joyfully walked down the aisle together and decided to get married.”
Last week, Johnson’s agent, Boris Lelchitski said the Women’s National Basketball Players Association was planning to file a grievance to appeal the suspensions for both players, but Griner backed out. Lelchitski said the deadline has now passed, and his client did not appeal.
Johnson’s suspension will not start until the 2016 season because she will not play this season.
The Internet has been buzzing the last 48 hours with a number of questions surrounding the ‘emotional roller-coaster’ of Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson relationship.
Griner has now sat down with a rep from ESPN to discuss the events that took place.
Prior to us getting married, I knew I shouldn’t have went through with it and I talked to Glory about it but sometimes you feel pressured into things. I went along with it and I knew I shouldn’t have and it was a huge mistake.”
As previously reported, Griner, filed for the annulment, claiming her marriage to Johnson is based on “fraud and duress.”
Last Wednesday, Glory and I agreed to either legally separate, get divorced, or annul our marriage. In the week prior to the wedding, I attempted to postpone the wedding several times until I completed counselling, but I still went through with it. I now realize that was a mistake.”
During her interview with ESPN, the star broke down crying before concluding she’s now going to just try to “submerge” herself in basketball.
While we understand that Brittney and Johnson are both grown women and should be held accountable for their actions, we can’t help but feel bad for both parties involved in this mess.
Anyone who says they’ve never gotten caught up in the infatuation phase of a relationship is lying. The best way to deal with situations like the one at hand is to learn from it.
Brittney Griner has filed papers seeking to annul her 29-day marriage to Glory Johnson.
A statement was released from Griner on Friday
Last Wednesday, Glory and I agreed to either legally separate, get divorced, or annul our marriage. I can confirm that today I filed for an annulment. In the week prior to the wedding, I attempted to postpone the wedding several times until I completed counselling, but I still went through with it. I now realise that was a mistake.”
The news of Griner’s filing comes one day after Johnson announced on Instagram that she is pregnant.
It has always been a dream of mine to start a family with someone I love. Being a professional athlete that plays year round, there is never a perfect time to get pregnant without putting my career on hold. The entire process, from learning our fertility options, to making sacrifices necessary nine months before the child is born, is merely preparing me to become a great wife and an even better mother.”
Despite Griner’s statement that the couple had discussed a divorce or annulment, Johnson’s agent, D.J. Fisher, said in a statement late Friday that she was unaware of the filing and was “extremely hurt and blindsided” by Griner’s actions.
She loves Brittney and made a huge sacrifice to carry a child, put her career on hold, invest in their relationship and their future.”
The two WNBA stars married May 8, just three weeks after both were arrested in Arizona on domestic violence charges.
Griner entered a diversion program, agreeing to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and attend 26 weeks of counselling. Once she had completed the program, the charges will be wiped from her record.
Johnson’s case was transferred to a jurisdiction without a diversion program, so her case is still pending. She must either fight the case in court or reach a plea agreement.
The WNBA investigated the altercation — listed by the police as “mutual combat” — and suspended both players seven games.
Boticário, after they made an advert featuring same-sex couples.
The commercial has made a big impact in Brazil over the last week, causing both negative and positive commentary on social media channels.
Some people tried to organise a boycott of O Boticário, as well as other companies advocating for marriage equality.
Outraged viewers even opened up a campaign against O Boticário on ReclaimeAqui.
I do not want my children to watch this propaganda. I have the right to preserve the family institution in my home.”
O Boticário actually responded on ReclaimeAqui, saying it “believes in the beauty of relations” and that the point of the campaign is to ”approach with respect and sensitivity, the various forms of love.”
On April 22, WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct after the couple reportedly had a fight in their Phoenix home.
A week later, Griner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and agreed to participate in a 26-week domestic-violence diversion program.
On May 8, the couple got married, and then, on May 15, each woman received an unprecedented seven-game suspension from the WNBA.
Though severe, the punishments mirror recent efforts within the NBA to take a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence.
In many cases, the WNBA’s decision is being lauded. Deborah Larkin, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, an advocacy group for women in sports, has been a WNBA season-ticket holder for the past 15 years and agrees with the league’s response.
When you say there’s zero tolerance and you have a strict punishment, it sends the message to the league, to other sports, to boys and girls and to league owners: We’re serious.”
People are certainly paying attention to Griner and Johnson’s troubles, though this is hardly the exposure they’re looking for.
But Larkin thinks WNBA stand will make fans rally around the league and
[Fans] respect the WNBA for doing the right thing. That’s the kind of people we are and that’s what’s important to us. I’ll back them for that.”
Still, the WNBA doesn’t appear to apply these tough standards equally.
While Larkin supports the strict response to Griner and Johnson’s fight, she has openly criticised the WNBA for allowing Isiah Thomas to become president of the New York Liberty.
In 2007, a jury found in favour of a woman who claimed that Thomas sexually harassed her when he was head coach of the New York Knicks.
That Thomas is now team president and could become a part owner of the Liberty feels unfair.
I would like to see the same standard applied when there’s sexual harassment, and racism. Don’t just stop when there’s domestic violence.”
Though Griner and Johnson are making moves to take responsibility for what happened, Thomas continues to dispute the claims of sexual harassment. For this reason, many continue to object to Thomas’ new role in the league, at the same time they support a second chance for the players.
Lack of awareness and understanding about domestic violence within same-sex couples is another reason institutions should dole out punishments and suspensions with caution.
Until recently, domestic abuse within same-sex couples was largely invisible.
Chai Jindasurat, director of national programming at the New York City Anti-Violence Project voiced…
It takes some pretty detailed assessing to figure out the power dynamics of a relationship. Without a detailed understanding of relationship history and dynamics, in a same-sex relationship it can be hard to tell who’s the survivor and who’s the abuser.”
Counsellors and domestic violence advocates look at relationship history, how financial decisions are made, and the circumstances of the violent episode to determine whether a fight like the one between Griner and Johnson is an abusive situation or the result of an “unhealthy” relationship.
People arrested for domestic violence or abuse often have to go through intervention programs, like the one Griner agreed to take part in.
It is detrimental to a survivor to have to go through a program and be told everything’s your fault need to take accountability for it. If the abusive partner is not going through these programs they’re really validated in what they’ve been doing.”
Griner has said that the diversion program “is definitely making me a better person and I’m taking full advantage of it.”
Johnson has yet to respond to the charges against her, but the WNBA is requiring counseling for both women. If the couple can heal and return to the basketball court, will fans stick around to cheer them on?
A brand new Australian documentary film is coming soon – Gayby Baby – which tells the stories of children of same-sex parented families.
In Gayby Baby we meet four kids – Gus, Ebony, Matt and Graham – whose parents all happen to be gay. As they each wrestle with the onset of puberty, the outside world wrestles with the issue of marriage equality, and whether or not kids of same-sex families are at risk.
Sydney filmmakers Maya Newell and Charlotte McLellan raised $100k to make the film through crowdfunding in 2012.
As the daughter of two mothers, Newell hopes to change the minds of those who believe same-sex parenting is detrimental to children and ultimately her goal is to bring gay marriage to reality. We’re in the midst of what Newell likes to call a ‘Gayby-Boom’ with fifteen percent of homosexual couples raising a child – amounting to millions of children across the globe. The documentary will be told from the perspectives of the three such ‘gaybies’ to see what it’s really like to grow up in such a family.
“I am a ‘gayby’ – a person with gay parents. I want to tell the story of children growing up in families like mine. When I was a kid, there were not many other children with gay parents. I would have loved to be able to watch a film and feel that my experiences were shared. So I decided to make that film.”
The release of Gayby Baby follows Newell’s Growing Up Gayby, a 2013 documentary on the same subject which screened on the ABC in 2013.
The documentary will be having its World Premiere at Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada next month, and we’ll let you know when screenings are happening here.
The official website for Gayby Baby will soon be updated with lots more information. See it here.
In the UK, same-sex couples have had the right to adopt children since 2005. While it certainly took parliament long enough to make that legal, now approximately 7% of all adoptions that take place in the UK are done by same-sex families.
The figures may be a little higher for the leading national adoption support service, After Adoption, though, as a massive 13% of all of their adoptions between 2013-2014 were done by lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans* adopters.
The reason for that figure, After Adoption says, is because they’re keen to show that sexuality or gender identity don’t make a difference when it comes to who can provide a loving family for a child. The CEO of After Adoption, Lynn Charlton also adds that:
“At After Adoption, our priority as a Voluntary Adoption Agency is to create happy, lasting families. For this we need people to come forward to adopt who can provide loving, stable homes and who will commit to children for life. Sexuality isn’t a factor in that.
People who identify as LGBT play a key role in creating these families and this year 1 in 5 of our newly approved adopters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But we know some people are still worried they’ll be told “no”, or that their sexuality will be a barrier to adoption.”
Meanwhile, After Adoption also recently used their position as a key sponsor and exhibitor of New Family Social’s LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week (which took place in Manchester on March 2nd) to talk about the general adoption process but also to dispel common misconceptions that people have about the LGBT community and their adoption of children.
According to official statistics, there are over 60,000 children in care in the UK and while there are no official numbers, there is certainly a great deal of same-sex couples or those who identify as LGBT who would like to adopt and start families of their own. The fact that After Adoption is helping with that is certainly a good thing and you can find out more at their website here.
‘Semenette’ is a new sex toy that can help lesbian couples conceive through artificial insemination.
Boston inventor and a reproductive health expert, Stephanie Berman, can up with the clever concept because back in 2011, she wanted to get her wife pregnant. The couple were dismayed by the available techniques.
“The only options other than going to a doctor’s office would be with a turkey baster or a needle-less syringe. We started using those types of things and quickly realized it was as awful as it sounds. There is nothing romantic or sexy and fun about trying to impregnate your wife with a turkey baster… I started thinking, what if I could recreate the technology that a turkey baster would provide, but in the form of a sex toy?”
Having worked in women’s reproductive health for 11 years, Berman was convinced that there had to be a better way, and what’s more, that she could design it.
After much research, prototyping, and engineering, Berman developed the Semenette, an ejaculating dildo attached to a pump. It can be used solo or with a partner (and a harness, if you so choose) — to conceive, for pleasure, or both.
Stephanie’s baby daughter, Isabella, born in March 2014, is a testament to the Semenette’s efficacy.
Berman said she wanted to create the toy to make the process of conceiving have more “privacy and authenticity and intimacy” for gay couples.
The toy, which is an ejaculating dildo attached to a pump, can be used with a harness both for trying to conceive and for pleasure.
“I’ve seen a lot of couples go through months and months of trying and being unsuccessful. [I’ve seen] the emotional toll it can take on people, not to mention the financial burden.
There are so many communities that the toy is applicable for and beneficial for. For example, the trans community has been [hugely supportive]…men with erectile dysfunction…even heterosexual couples [enjoy the sensation]. At the end of the day, this is a pleasure product; it’s a product that can provide pleasure for an individual or for a couple.”
A breakthrough by researchers from Cambridge University, has revealed that in just two years same-sex couples could have their own biological children by using stem cells of parents of the same sex.
The researchers have proven that human egg and sperm cells can be made from stem cells in the skin of two adults. They have stated that the technique could mean same-sex couples could have babies in just two years.
The scientists used stem cell lines from embryos as well as cells from the skin of five different adults. Ten different donor sources have been used so far and new germ-cell lines have been created from all of them.
The team, funded by The Wellcome Trust, compared the engineered stem cells with human cells from foetuses to make sure they had identical characteristics.
Azim Surani, leader of the project, told The Sunday Times:
We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish. We have also discovered that one of the things that happens in these germ cells is that epigenetic mutations, the cell mistakes that occur with age, are wiped out.”
Until 2013, the United States was legally forbidden to recognise the marriages of same-sex couples. Despite same-sex marriage being legal in several states in the country, the existence of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) prevented the government from formally acknowledging them.
But, things have changed recently. 2013 saw the law repealed and DOMA was deemed unconstitutional, granting many married same-sex couples the same rights that heterosexual couples have (such as benefits) whilst a grand total of 35 states (out of 50) now allow same-sex marriages to take place.
However, in 15 states, opponents to same-sex marriage are still as vocal as ever with one common argument being that it is ‘destroying the sanctity of marriage’. Well, those claims are officially unfounded after new research reveals the real rate at which same-sex couples divorce.
In research conducted by the Williams Institute which looked at the patterns of relationship recognition in the United States, they found that while 2% of straight marriages end in divorce, just 1.1% of same-sex couples get divorced. If you include civil unions and domestic partnerships then that figure is bumped up to 1.6% but the point is, the gap still remains, firmly doing away with claims that same-sex couples can’t do marriage or are destroying its values.
Furthermore, the firm also noted that most (51%) married same-sex couples are female and they also make up 64% of all legally recognised same-sex relationships (again, including domestic partnerships and civil unions). That doesn’t tell us a whole lot other than lesbian and bisexual women really like wedding cake but for party and wedding planners it’s a valuable stat.
Finally, the researchers also looked into the “Windsor Effect” which is what they’re calling the changes following the United States v. Windsor decision which is what took down DOMA once and for all. They explain that although same-sex marriages had started to level off leading up to June 2013 (when DOMA was repealed) the decision led to same-sex marriage numbers jumping right back up again.
You can read more data from the study at the source link below.
Despite same-sex marriage getting most of the headlines, there are a handful of other issues that affect the lives of LGBT families. Most notably, same-sex adoption, as the argument from those against it is no longer ‘gay people are wrong’ and is now ‘gay people shouldn’t have the right to raise families’.
And this is a common line from the anti-gay camp, with baseless claims about the lack of a father or mother figure being detrimental to children often being thrown around. While such ideas are clearly ludicrous, there’s also evidence to support the fact that children with lesbian parents have both a higher self-esteem and lower conduct problems.
Yet, despite there being some very good reasons to let adoptions by same-sex couples go ahead, plenty still do their bit to stop them. That’s what happened in Utah earlier this year but after a new ruling, same-sex parent adoptions in the state can now continue.
The original stay on adoptions by same-sex couples was issued by Republican state attorney general Sean Reyes back in May. Whilst there didn’t appear to be any good reasoning for it, the stay affected the lives of over 1,300 couples who legally married during a brief, 17-day period of marriage equality in the state and were now looking to start a family.
Under Utah law, there are no second-parent adoptions. This means that if one parent gave birth to the child (or was their biological parent), then because of that law the other parent would be unable to adopt the child and would therefore have no legal rights.
However, there was a surprising turnaround when Reyes recently changed his mind, asking for the stay that he initially put in place to be lifted. While the move can be categorised as ‘flip-flopping’ or just as a genuine change of heart, many are attributing the decision to the Supreme Court ruling on October 6th that legalised same-sex marriage in the state.
As a result, Utah is now one step closer to total equality which is good news that cannot be argued with.
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Kansas to allow same-sex couples to marry pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban, but he delayed enforcement of his order until next week to give the state time to appeal.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban as of 5 p.m. next Tuesday, pending the outcome of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging it.
“This is a great day for marriage equality in Kansas and for gay and lesbian couples, because now they can do what straight people have been able to do forever: They can get married.”
Doug Bonney, ACLU
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office has been defending the state’s constitutional ban, said he would quickly appeal. Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, said the governor took an oath to defend the Kansas Constitution and would work with Schmidt “to ensure an orderly judicial process in determining this issue and to avoid the confusion created by inconsistent judicial rulings.”
The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses after an unexpected decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last month.
The high court refused to hear appeals from five states seeking to preserve similar gay-marriage bans that were struck down by federal appeals courts – but that decision extended to other states within the jurisdiction of those appellate courts. Among the original five states were Oklahoma and Utah, which like Kansas fall under the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gay marriage is now legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
“The handwriting is on the wall. Marriage equality is here. It is time to quit fighting about this and allow people to exercise their fundamental right to marriage and to do otherwise wastes the public’s money.”
Doug Bonney, ACLU
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the chief district judge in Johnson County – Kansas’ most populous county – ordered licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. Two women obtained one and quickly wed.
Schmidt then filed a petition with the Kansas Supreme Court, which temporarily blocked new licenses to gay couples and scheduled a Nov. 6 hearing. Schmidt had said his goal was to “freeze the status quo in place until the legal dispute can be properly resolved.”
The ACLU filed its separate federal lawsuit only hours later on behalf of the two lesbian couples, one in Douglas County and one in Sedgwick County, who had been denied marriage licenses. ACLU lawyers contend that the group’s lawsuit is likely to prevail and that denying the couples the right to marry, even for a short time, would do them irreparable harm.
Crabtree wrote that Kansas’ ban is infringing on the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and he seemed reluctant to delay their right to marry, even by a week. He said the 10th Circuit had already settled the substance of the constitutional challenge, but conceded that the appeals court may view the case differently than he views it. “On balance, the court concludes that a short-term stay is the safer and wiser course,” he wrote.
Tom Witt, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Kansas, called on the governor to stop fighting.
“This already has already been a waste of time and money. This has only one outcome. He is playing games with people’s lives, and we’ve waited long enough.”
Tom Witt, Equality Kansas
Kansas law has never recognized same-sex marriages, and voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2005 to add a gay-marriage ban.
Gay rights protesters gathered outside Greece’s parliament late Friday after the government said it would delay legislation allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. The decision came despite a European court ruling that found Greece has been discriminating against gays.
About 500 people joined the peaceful protest in central Athens as lawmakers prepared to vote on an anti-racism bill.
Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said civil partnerships had been left out of the legislation because further study was needed on how the partnerships would affect the tax and social insurance system, as well as family law.
“I think it is an issue that requires us to respect the detail and the sensitivity involved … and should not be added on to the legislation we are currently discussing.”
Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou
Lawmakers on Friday approved the bill to facilitate the prosecution of people who incite violence on the basis of race or sexual orientation, but a detailed debate on separate articles in the draft legislation will continue next week.
Last November, the Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights ruled that Greek legislation was discriminatory, and ordered the country to pay damages to four gay couples who took the case to the court in Strasbourg, France.
But the issue is politically sensitive in Greece, where several prominent members of the Greek Orthodox Church as well as members of the ruling conservative party oppose gay partnerships, arguing they would undermine the institution of family.
Another 162 gay couples from Greece – some present at Friday’s rally – filed a similar complaint in the international court earlier this year to pressure the government to change the law.
Tom Koukoulis, one of the plaintiffs who attended the demonstration with his partner of two years, Aristidis Paraskakis, said:
“I think the changes will happen step by step, as they did in other countries like (Britain), where first there was civil partnerships, then marriage equality, and then changes to adoption. It’s about the right to … visit a relative in hospital, to file a joint tax declaration, and all the rest… We do think it is going to happen because we are on the right side of history.”
It was announced Tuesday, that Chilean metro stations, Santiago, have joined forces with the Movement for Integration and Homosexual Freedom (MIHF) to raise awareness, acceptance of LGBT people, and stamp out Anti-Gay discrimination.
The campaign, launched by campaign organisers, doesn’t just plan raise awareness for same-sex couples, but also acceptance of disabled people (with one poster portraying a boy with Downs Syndrome), the elderly, and pregnant passengers are also featured on the posters.
“The metro is a public space and a service used by 2.5 million people. As such, the passengers are very diverse, with different needs and different origins. To travel [by metro] is to share a space, to share a moment together, and this is only possible if we respect one another, valuing our differences. We want a better metro, to be better people, a better city.”
Ramon Canas, Santiago Metro general manager
Canas went on to note that Metro Universidad Catolica would be dedicated to murdered gay 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio. Zamudio was attacked and killed just blocks from the station in 2012.
Chile’s Social Development Minister, Maria Fernanda Villegas, was also in attendance and took to the podium to say she hoped the campaign was a step forward in Chile’s aim to reach developed nation status. She said she hoped the posters would spark positive debate and a dialogue among the public.
“Macroeconomic statistics are good indicators [of development], but they are not the most significant for the people. With a campaign like this, we are advancing and getting at the heart of what it actually means to build a developed country.”
Maria Fernanda Villegas, Chile’s Social Development Minister
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Kitsch Mix, is a rapidly growing social platform developed to promote the diverse creative ventures of women in the LGBT community. It aims to chronicle and celebrate the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring all of us, ranging in topics from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.
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