Tag: Child

Foolish Child #90: It’s Black History Month, I’m on Break

Foolish Child #90: It's Black History Month, I'm on Break



Support Independent Queer Media

We’re raising funds to make it through the end of July. 99% of the people who read this site don’t support. Will you be one of the ones who do? Joining A+ is one of the best ways to support Autostraddle — plus you get access to bonus content while keeping the site 99% free for everyone. Will you join today?

Support Autostraddle

Join A+

Dickens

I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I’m never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 89 articles for us.

Cops show up at Kellyanne Conway’s house following disturbing videos of alleged child abuse / Queerty

Cops show up at Kellyanne Conway’s house following disturbing videos

Kellyanne Conway‘s year is off to a pretty rocky start.

Not only did her husband purportedly walk out on her, but she’s been accused of child abuse by her daughter, Claudia, and now she might be under police investigation.

Last week, 16-year-old Claudia posted a series of disturbing TikTok videos accusing her mother of physical and verbal abuse.

Related: WATCH: Claudia Conway films Kellyanne’s alleged child abuse for all to see

One of the videos shows Kellyanne calling Claudia an “ungrateful bitch” and saying, “You’re never gonna record another f*cking thing in your life! It’s going in for a forensic analysis!”

In another one, a fearful Claudia tells followers “there’s nothing that can really be done” about the situation, saying she’s tried “everything” and that she’s “probably going to get in a lot of trouble for this.”

24 hours after the videos hit social media, the cops showed up at Kellyanne’s front doorstep.

OK! reports:

A member of the Alpine Police Department tells OK! that officers responded to Conway’s home at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, in response to a “juvenile matter,” and that this matter is now under investigation.

No further details were given as per law, which shields juvenile records from public view. OK! was able to learn, however, that it was a third party who reported the incident, and not the juvenile in question. Police would not reveal, however, who was under investigation.

Claudia later posted a video of an officer visiting their home and her mother telling him her daughter was just “upset” because she had a “tough call with her school” and that they are considering going to family therapy.

The video has since been removed from Claudia’s TikTok page, although it can still be viewed on TMZ.

It’s unclear what exactly is going on inside Kellyanne’s home, but it’s clearly a very unhealthy and toxic situation.

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.

Busy Philipps explains how to be an ally after gay child comes out

Busy Philipps on learning to support her gay, non-binary 12-year-old

Busy Phillips (L) and her child, Birdie. (Getty/Instagram)

Dawson’s Creek star and abortion rights campaigner Busy Philipps has opened up about how she learned to support her gay 12-year-old.

Philipps revealed on her 31 December that her eldest child is gay and uses they/them pronouns.

The 41-year-old opened up about raising Birdie Leigh, 12, with husband Marc Silverstein on her podcast Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.

“For those of you who are my friends listening at home, this is the first you’re hearing that Birdie is gay and out,” she said.

“Birdie told us at 10 years old and we immediately, I mean, obviously, I knew that Birdie knew.”

Phillips added that Birdie’s pronouns are they/them, but admitted that in public she had been “doing a bad job with the pronouns” because she respects Birdie’s privacy.

Shantira Jackson, who co-hosts the podcast with Busy Philipps, said that switching pronouns for someone can be an adjustment, but that it becomes easier over time.

“It’s like any other muscle, any other new language, any other new thing,” Jackson said. “You will get right at it, and it will become second nature.”

She added that she tries to “try to connect that part of my brain with that pronoun” by practising using a person’s pronouns when they aren’t there, out loud, to help ease the change.

Some of Jackson’s friends have changed pronouns during the pandemic, and she’s using the time before she sees them to make sure that she gets it right. “I’m not gonna see you for a year, but when I see you, I’ll have worked on it,” she explained.

Jackson also tries to use less gendered language – “folks” or “y’all” instead of “you guys” or “ladies and gentlemen” – to try to avoid assuming people’s genders. This is something, she said, that anyone can do – whether or not you have a trans or non-binary person in your life.

That’s “a great f**king point”, Busy Philipps said. A lot of people wonder what it means to “do the work”, and a lot of the time the answer to that is “figure it out yourself”, she said. But Philipps added that using less gendered language is “a thing you can do” to be a better ally.

“It’s not their burden to bear for you to figure out how to say they/them,” Jackson said.

“Nor is it their burden to have the conversation with you [about] why,” Philipps replied.

“And if you find that you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do it’, you should go to therapy and talk about it,” Jackson added.

Foolish Child #86: Dinosaurs | Autostraddle

Foolish Child #86: Dinosaurs | Autostraddle


In a four panel comic, two hand drawn dinosaurs are asking, why are they in fact dinosaurs? A baby Dino sits on one of their backs making cute noises. The Dickens Dino says, "This child wouldn’t allow me to draw in peace unless I was drawing dinosaurs." And then Dickens explains "It’s fine — just say something queer and relatable." To which the other Dino jokes, "You look like a dildo." and Dickens laughs, "you are one to talk!"..

Dickens

I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I’m never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 85 articles for us.

How Big Could the Impact Be if Child Service Agencies Are Allowed to Discriminate?

How Big Could the Impact Be if Child Service Agencies

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could let taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies around the country use their religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others. New research from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) shows the widespread impact that could have on children in care.

Fulton Infographic - Movement Advancement Project

Infographic from MAP’s August report, “The High Stakes in the Fulton Case

In a report released yesterday, “What’s at Stake in Fulton: Kids in the Foster System” (PDF), MAP used data from the Children’s Bureau (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) to show that more than 1,200 child placement agencies contract with city, county, and/or state governments to care for children. Of those, 39.8 percent agencies are religiously affiliated, mostly (88 percent) with mainstream Christian denominations.

Depending on how the Supreme Court rules in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the case it heard in early November, agencies around the country could be allowed to discriminate, and many children in the foster care system would be at risk. MAP notes that of course, “Just because an agency is religiously affiliated does not mean that it would seek a license to discriminate against LGBTQ families, single people, unmarried couples, or families who do not share the agency’s faith. In fact, many of these agencies would continue to serve diverse families even if the Supreme Court granted them a license to discriminate.”

At the same time, they warn, “The risk is not merely hypothetical. There are already clear examples of agencies seeking the ability to discriminate. And a June 2020 survey by the Center for American Progress and NORC at the University of Chicago found that two in five LGBTQ people said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find another child placement agency if they were turned away by one, MAP relates.

MAP’s analysis of 2019 data also shows that children in the foster care system in the states that permit taxpayer-funded agencies to discriminate* were less likely to be placed with relatives and more likely to experience multiple placements, both of which are destabilizing and can negatively impact their well-being. States that allowed such discrimination made a combined 13 percent fewer placements with relatives compared to states without such legislation. And in those states, 5.4 percent more children (or a more than 9 percent increase) had two or more foster placements during their time in government care, as compared to other states. That difference equals an estimated 3,500 more children that experienced multiple placements. “If the Court granted a nationwide exemption to religious agencies, that 5.4% difference would amount to nearly 23,000 children currently in the foster system nationwide,” MAP concludes.

To counter the argument that closing religiously affiliated agencies that discriminate will have a similarly (or worse) negative effect on the homes available for children, MAP also notes that there is “no evidence that states with nondiscrimination policies have fewer registered foster families or more children in group homes than those without such laws.”

The court is expected to issue its ruling sometime in 2021, likely before the end of June. This is a case all of us should be watching.


*Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia all allow this; Tennessee passed its legislation in 2020, though, so its data was not included in the MAP analysis. Alabama and Michigan also allow religiously based discrimination, but not if agencies receive taxpayer funds.

Foolish Child #84: After the Storm

Foolish Child #84: After the Storm


A hand drawn 4-panel comic of a bright blue sky, with queer people dancing in the street. One has a sign that says "Bye Don 202!" One of Dickens' friends suggests that the group join the dancers. Dickens says, "If you can call that dancing." There's a rainbow above, which Dickens says could be a coincidence. Dickens worries that the last 4 years may have destroyed their optimism — But their friends tell them that it's ok, the last four years have also destroyed countless lives, jobs, and literally any chance of combating climate change...

Dickens

I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I’m never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 83 articles for us.

Supreme Court Considers Whether Child Service Agencies Can Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

Next Week, a Crucial SCOTUS Case on Discrimination in Foster

Even as we have been waiting for the results of the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case yesterday that will determine whether taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies—and possibly any provider of government-contracted services—can cite religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others. Here are some of the arguments made.

U.S. Supreme Court

For detailed background on the case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, I refer you to my piece from last week. In short, it began in 2018, when the City of Philadelphia stopped referring foster children to Catholic Social Services (CSS) because the agency would not license qualified same-sex couples to be foster or adoptive parents. CSS then brought a lawsuit in federal district court, which ruled for the city, as did an appeals court. CSS appealed to the Supreme Court, which took the case in February 2020. In June, the Trump administration filed a brief siding with CSS.

Yesterday, in front of a court that included the newly seated Amy Coney Barrett, lawyers for both CSS and the city presented their cases. All of the justices pushed on the question of whether CSS, in taking the city’s contract, was doing the city’s work or doing its own work and simply being licensed by the city. If the latter, the city would have less authority to enforce its nondiscrimination laws.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out that the city was paying CSS, and the government does not pay entities to take a license. Justice Stephen Breyer noted that the city isn’t asking CSS to endorse marriage for same-sex couples, merely that they meet the statutory requirements to be foster parents.

Prompted by more conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, however, CSS claimed that no same-sex couple had ever applied to the agency. If they had, it said, they would simply have been referred to another agency. CSS also emphasized its 200-year history of providing services to children and families and said the city was targeting it because of its religion.

Attorney Neal Katyal, arguing for the city, said it is not targeting CSS because of its religious beliefs, but because there are no exemptions to the city’s nondiscrimination laws. This isn’t a matter of religion versus LGBTQ rights, they said, but rather of religion versus religion. A ruling in favor of CSS could mean that people are turned away from government services because of their religion.

Alito, however, seemed to side with CSS in opining that the city wasn’t actually trying to ensure that same-sex couples could be foster parents, but that it simply “can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.”

CSS also argued to overturn the 1990 Supreme Court case Employment Division v. Smith, in which former Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said that Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution, which permits freedom of religion, does not mean that there are exemptions from “a neutral, generally applicable law” that is “not specifically directed to religious practice.” It was hard to tell if the justices seemed interested in overturning Smith, however.

Additionally, Hashim Moopan, a Justice Department lawyer arguing for CSS, said that the city does permissibly consider race or disability in placing children with foster parents. Why can’t it also consider sexual orientation? The city’s lawyers countered that there was a difference between child placements and the screening of potential parents, and it is the latter, where there are no exceptions, at issue here. When asked if CSS’ position of allowing exemptions to nondiscrimination laws could lead to discrimination on the basis of race, Moopan indicated that it wouldn’t, leading Breyer to ask whether “discrimination on the basis of race is different from discrimination based on gender, religion, and sexuality.” Moopan responded that “Race is unique in this country’s constitutional history,” and that eradicating racial discrimination “presents a particularly unique and compelling interest.” When pushed by Justice Elena Kagan on whether it is a compelling state interest to eradicate discrimination against gays and lesbians, he equivocated.

Alito seemed to side with the idea that racial discrimination and discrimination against same-sex couples are fundamentally different, citing Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that legalized marriage for same-sex couples. “Didn’t we say in Obergefell that there are honorable reasons to continue to oppose same-sex marriage?” he asked. (The Obergefell decision, written by former Justice Anthony Kennedy, does indeed say, “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.”)

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also brought up this point in Obergefell, and told the city’s lawyers that while he understood the “stigmatic harm” of CSS’ policy on same-sex couples, “What I fear here is that the absolutist and extreme position that you’re articulating would require us to go back on the promise of respect for religious believers.”

Overall, the justices seemed split along ideological lines, although Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking was less clear. The newest justice, Barrett, while she didn’t seem eager to overturn Smith, at one point tried to get Katyal to respond to a hypothetical situation in which a city has taken over all health care and contracts with private entities to provide it. Must a Catholic hospital then perform abortions? Katyal replied that the current case does not involve a government monopoly of previously private services, and that the government takeover of a private care system in itself raises constitutional problems.

Depending on how the court rules, the case could have far-reaching implications beyond just child services, as I explained last week. What’s next? Now we wait—even longer than for the outcome of the presidential election. A decision is expected by the end of the court’s current term next June.

H/t to C-SPAN and to ACLU lawyers Chase Strangio and Josh Block, who live tweeted the hearing.

A Child Teaches Great Grandma About Pronouns in New Picture Book

A Child Teaches Great Grandma About Pronouns in New Picture

A self-assured, gender ambiguous child gets a visit from Great Grandma Bubbie—and teaches her a few things about pronouns and gender in a sequel to a 2019 picture book about gender creative play.

Jamie and Bubbie - Afsaneh Moradian

Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About People’s Pronouns, written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade (Free Spirit Publishing) is a sequel to the duo’s Jamie Is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way (my review here), but either can be read independently of the other. Both books star Jamie, a child whose gender is never specified. In the latest book, Bubbie comes for a visit (making this, as far as I’m aware, the first LGBTQ-inclusive picture book with a great grandparent in it). As she and Jamie do things together in the neighborhood, Bubbie mistakenly misgenders several of the people they meet—a woman as a man, a man as a woman, and a transgender girl whom Bubbie had previously met when the girl was still using her male birth name. Jamie knows everyone’s correct genders and pronouns, though, and gently informs Bubbie. Bubbie admits she’s been “putting my foot in my mouth all day.”

Jamie reassures her that you can’t always know what pronouns someone uses, and that if they don’t tell you, you can always use their name or “they.” Jamie’s mother offers the example, “We can say that the mail carrier is taking mail out of their mail bag and putting it in the mailbox.” Then Jamie mentions a friend who uses “they.” Grown-ups may need to clarify here that some people choose to use “they” on an ongoing basis; it’s not just for when you don’t know someone’s pronouns. (At the end of the book, some “Tips for Teachers, Parents, and Caregivers” do help explain this.)

Jamie’s mother then tells Bubbie that people sometimes change their names and/or pronouns, and that it’s important to call them by the name and pronouns they want to use, which is good advice. Bubbie says that’s a lot to remember, but she’ll try.

The mother and Jamie’s explanations to Bubbie border on pedantic but are simple and supportive, and may be useful to those first encountering the idea of chosen pronouns or singular “they.” Jamie’s own gender and pronouns remain unknown. On one level, this book could have been a good time to introduce them—if they’re not what Bubbie would have expected from Jamie’s gender assigned at birth, perhaps she should be clued in as part of her whole education about the subject. On another level, though, perhaps more children will relate if they can imagine that Jamie’s gender is whatever they want it to be. As in the first book, Jamie is just Jamie. Jamie’s gender ambiguity also offers a place for discussion about asking someone what pronouns they use.

A few lines of dialogue could have benefited from indications of who is speaking; adult readers should be able to guess from context, but a little extra clarity might help the younger ones. And a neighbor’s sudden reference to Bubbie as “Mrs. Green,” when there was no previous indication of her last name, may confuse young readers at first (especially because a passing pedestrian on the page is wearing a green jacket).

As with the first book in the series, I like that Jamie, not an adult, is doing most of the instructing (though the mother does chime in a bit). Jamie knows the people in the neighborhood and understands the importance of referring to them the way they want. We can always use more role models of confident kids who move through the world with respect for themselves and others—and aren’t afraid to teach adults a thing or two.

Adults should appreciate the thoughtful tips at the end on talking with children about pronouns. I will note that Moradian here uses the term “gender nonconforming,” which PFLAG said in 2019 was outdated and Gender Spectrum (which Moradian includes as a resource) does not include in its list of gender-related language. I recognize, however, that these terms shift and evolve, perhaps faster than publishing cycles; I just hope this gets updated in a future edition. Mostly, Moradian’s brief explanations and suggestions seem clear and useful. Those who want more ideas for using the book as a jumping-off point for talking about gender and family can also check out the Teacher’s Guide, available under “Free Downloads” at the book’s Web page. Despite a few minor places for improvement, Jamie and Bubbie is a positive addition to the growing number of picture books about gender identity and expression.


(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Appeals Court Upholds U.S. Citizenship of Child Born Abroad to Married Gay Dads

Appeals Court Upholds U.S. Citizenship of Child Born Abroad to

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last Friday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling recognizing the birthright citizenship of a boy born abroad by surrogacy to two married gay dads, one of whom is a U.S. citizen. The Trump Administration’s State Department had refused to recognize the dads’ marriage and tried to deny the boy’s citizenship—even though it recognized his twin brother as a citizen.

Dvash-Banks Family

U.S. citizen Andrew Dvash-Banks and his husband, Israeli citizen Elad Dvash-Banks, had met while Andrew was studying in Israel. They were unable to live together in the U.S. because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), so they married and settled in Canada, where they had twin sons through surrogacy. After the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2013 Windsor decision repealed key parts of DOMA, they relocated to California in July 2017 in order to be near Andrew’s family.

When they sought recognition of the twins’ U.S. citizenship, however, the State Department demanded DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to the boys. Aiden was conceived with the Andrew’s sperm and his twin brother Ethan with Elad’s sperm, so the State Department treated Ethan as if he was born out of wedlock, denying him citizenship while granting it to Aiden. Ethan thus had to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa, which expired in December 2017, putting him at risk of deportation.

According to Immigration Equality, however, which represented the Dvash-Banks (in conjunction with pro bono lawyers from Sullivan & Cromwell), the law imposes no biological requirement. The family therefore filed a lawsuit against the State Department, and in February 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in their favor, recognizing Ethan’s birthright citizenship. In May, the State Department appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Friday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit asserted that the District court had correctly applied settled Circuit case law affirming that the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) pertaining to married couples, “does not require a biological relationship between a child and the citizen parent through whom citizenship is claimed.” That means that both of the Dvash-Banks twins are U.S. citizens.

Immigration Equality noted, though, that Friday’s ruling “does not extend to the unknown number of families affected by the State Department’s policy.” What we do know is that three other same-sex couples besides the Dvash-Banks have also sued the department because of its policy: the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in one two-dad family’s favor in June; the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found in favor of another at the end of August; and a two-mom family is awaiting movement in their case in New Jersey, after a federal judge in Washington, D.C. rejected the State Department’s motion to dismiss it and leave their child a non-citizen. (See more about them in my February 2019 piece.) The district courts in Maryland and Georgia both found, like the Ninth Circuit, that a biological relationship with a citizen parent is not necessary for a child to claim citizenship.

It remains an open question whether the State Department will further appeal any of these rulings. The next step for the Dvash-Banks’ case would be the Supreme Court (or, though I think less likely, the full Ninth Circuit), though SCOTUS might be unlikely to take the case until other appeals courts have weighed in on the similar cases. If all of the courts find in favor of the families, however, then SCOTUS might not even want to review any of the cases, since one of the main reasons for them to do so is when there are conflicting decisions among the circuit courts. Having said that, it sometimes also takes them “if the case could have national significance … or could have precedential value,” per the United States Courts website. Are these nationally significant? Marriage equality certainly is. Beyond that, I will leave it to the lawyers to speculate. I will opine, however, that a Biden State Department might support these families and others like them by quickly changing its policy, which would make any continuation of these cases unnecessary.

Learn more at Immigration Equality about the Dvash-Banks’ and the other three same-sex couples that have sued the State Department to ensure their children’s citizenship.

Foolish Child #80: It Never Ends

Foolish Child #80: It Never Ends


..

Dickens

I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I’m never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 79 articles for us.