Tag: Parenting

2020 LGBTQ Parenting Year in Review

2020 LGBTQ Parenting Year in Review

In a year like no other, LGBTQ families, like all others, struggled with the physical, mental, and economic challenges of the pandemic. And with children of LGBTQ parents much more likely to live in poverty than those with non-LGBTQ parents, the pandemic may have hit many LGBTQ families, like those of other marginalized groups, particularly hard. Pandemic aside, there were many political and legal challenges—and a few victories—directly related to LGBTQ parents and our children this year. Here are the highlights, good and bad.


The Trump Administration

In May, National Foster Care Month, the Trump administration stopped collecting data on the sexual orientation of youth in foster care and of foster and adoptive parents. The data is used to make decisions and track outcomes for youth in care.

The administration in June finalized a rule that says health care anti-discrimination protections do not cover discrimination based on LGBTQ identities.

In December, it finalized a rule that will allow federal contractors to cite religious or moral beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBTQ workers.

On the positive side, the U.S. State Department in October backed down in two cases where it had been denying the citizenship of children born abroad to married two-dad couples who were U.S. citizens. Two other similar cases are still pending.

The Biden Administration

The Biden administration has promised to push for Congress to pass the Equality Act during his first 100 days in office, and to reverse Trump’s anti-LGBTQ actions.

Additionally, two lesbian moms of color in November were named to Joe Biden’s all-women White House communications team. Karine Jean-Pierre, who was senior advisor to President-Elect Biden and chief of staff to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris during the campaign, will become principal deputy press secretary. Pili Tobar, who was the communications director for coalitions on the campaign, will become deputy White House communications director. And in December, two gay dads were also appointed: Guatan Raghavan, deputy head of presidential appointments for the Biden-Harris transition team, will become deputy director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, and Stuart Delery, who was acting associate attorney general of the United States in the Obama administration, will become deputy counsel to the president.

The U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court surprised many in June with a landmark 6-3 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, written by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, stating that people cannot be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Supreme Court in December refused to hear an appeal in Box v. Henderson, in which Indiana was trying to deny nonbiological mothers in married same-sex couples the right to be put on their children’s birth certificates. A 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in January said the state must allow nonbiological mothers to be on the birth certificates; the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case means that decision stands.

In July, the court upheld the Trump administration’s desire to allow almost any employer, even for-profit ones, to cite religious or moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to cover birth control for its employees. This is a queer issue because many LGBTQ people do have sex that can result in pregnancy and because birth control is sometimes used in fertility procedures even for same-sex couples (as was the case for my spouse and me).

The court in November heard Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case to 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.

The court in December declined an appeal from Oregon parents who sought to prevent transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms aligned with their gender identities.

State Happenings

New Jersey in January enacted a law allowing married/civil unioned LGBTQ couples using assisted reproduction to avoid the intrusive, expensive, second-parent adoption process and simply file a few documents in order to get a court judgment confirming the nonbiological parent’s legal parentage.

In July, New Hampshire enacted a law clarifying that LGBTQ couples have access to second-parent adoptions but do not need home studies; expanding access to adoption by unmarried couples; and updating the state’s parentage laws in gender-neutral and inclusive terms.

The same month, Rhode Island also updated its parentage laws to provide stronger, more equitable protections for families formed via assisted reproduction. Among other things, parents using assisted reproduction can now establish legal parentage for the nonbiological or nongestational parent simply by filling out a simple, free a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form.

A South Carolina law banning any discussion of same-sex relationships in public school health classes (except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases) is unconstitutional, a federal district court said in March.

The State of New York passed the Child-Parent Security Act in April, legalizing gestational surrogacy and simplifying and strengthening the laws recognizing nonbiological parents and single parents in all families formed through reproductive technologies.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in November that nonbiological mothers may be recognized as parents simply by acknowledging maternity at the time a child is born and showing that the birth mother consented to shared parenting.

Addressing Systemic Racism

The widespread attention to addressing systemic racism, sparked by the tragic killing of George Floyd in May, is as much an issue for LGBTQ families as for any others. Not only do we come in all colors, but Black and Latino same-sex couples are roughly twice as likely as White same-sex couples to be raising a child, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute. And 50 percent of children under 18 living with same-sex couples are non-White compared to 41 percent of children living with different-sex couples. (Statistics were not available for other LGBTQ identities) The numbers underscore just how many LGBTQ families are impacted by ongoing racism in our country, and one of the reasons that actively working to stop it remains a task for us all in the coming year.

Originally published with slight variation as my Mombian newspaper column.

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: International Edition

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Post-Election Edition

Even as the year winds down, there’s still plenty of news about LGBTQ parents and our families. Here’s a roundup of some recent stories from around the world that I haven’t yet covered.

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup

Politics and Law

  • A nonbiological mother in Latvia is the first in the country to take “paternity leave,” which had in the past been granted only to fathers, reports the Baltic Times.
  • The Swedish government is working to make the nation’s legislation, including its Parental Code, gender neutral, says Sputnik News.
  • Ron and Fabian Eckstrom-French, a two-dad couple who had become legal parents through surrogacy in the U.S., still had to go through an adoption process for those same children when they moved to New Zealand, explains Stuff. Last week, New Zealand’s Law Commission started a review of the country’s surrogacy laws, and the Eckstrom-French’s situation shows why change is needed.
  • An Israeli legislative committee will soon consider a draft bill that would allow same-sex couples in Israel to be equally eligible to adopt children. Currently, same-sex couples can be approved for adoption, “but in practice only a handful of such couples have adopted children in the past decade,” reports the Times of Israel, noting that same-sex couples have been treated unequally by only being offered older children and those with special needs.
  • Freddy McConnell, a transgender man in the U.K., has lost his final legal appeal to be named the father, rather than the mother, of his child. (Here’s more on McConnell and the film about his journey to become a parent.)

Family Creation

Parents in Power

  • Julia Hoggett has become not only the first-ever out gay chief executive of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), but the first gay parent, PinkNews notes. She has two children with her ex-wife, and splits her time between London, where she lives with her current partner, and Dublin, where the children live with her ex. Among her many career achievements, she has “campaigned to reduce barriers for women returning to work after childbirth.”


LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Post-Election Edition

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Post-Election Edition

Tired of election news? Here are some recent profiles of LGBTQ families, musings on the path forward for LGBTQ parental rights in the U.S., and news about LGBTQ families from around the world!

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup

Family Profiles

  • Journalist (and transgender parent) Dawn Ennis interviewed actor, comedian, and lesbian mom Tig Notaro for Forbes, asking the excellent question, “How Does She Juggle ‘Star Trek,’ A Podcast And 4-Year-Old Twins?”
  • Ennis also interviewed videogame icon and transgender parent Becky Heineman (whom you may have seen recently on Netflix’s High Score) for Outsports.
  • Angela Chen of The Atlantic spoke with David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, about his legal three-parent family.
  • Heather Chauvin of the Mom Is In Control podcast spoke with transgender advocate and parent Trystan Reese on “Navigating Pregnancy As a Man.”
  • Daniel Smith of Wales Online interviewed lawyer and transgender dad Bennett Kaspar-Williams about his pregnancy.

Politics and Law

Around the World


  • A bonded male pair of African penguins have stolen an egg from a bonded female couple at a zoo in the Netherlands, HuffPo reports. High drama—although the fact is, a zoo spokesperson said, they are most likely unfertilized and will not hatch.

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LGBTQ Parenting Roundup – Mombian

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Entertainment Edition

As summer winds down this Labor Day, let’s take a look at some of the stories of LGBTQ parents and our children that have been making headlines lately.

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup

Family Stories

  • Jenni and Sarah Barrett married and had two kids before Sarah, assigned male at birth, realized she was a woman, and before Jenni realized she was gay. They came out to each other on the same night. Four years later, and they’ve stuck together; their sons support them (one is gay himself); and they’re sharing their story as inspiration to other families experiencing major changes. Some of the media coverage has been a bit sensationalized; LGBTQ Nation’s take is more temperate.
  • Pandemic parenting in a two-mom family means twice the maternal guilt,” writes Sarah Liss in Xtra. “My queer family might have allowed me to avoid an unequal, gendered distribution of labour within our home, but queerness offers no protection against living in a culture that refuses to take care of its youngest, oldest and most vulnerable members.”
  • Wei Wei, a professor of sociology at East China Normal University, writes at Sixth Tone about “How Grandkids Are Changing China’s LGBT Family Dynamics.” He says, “For same-sex couples … the new focus on grandkids can create unexpected room for negotiation with their parents, while providing opportunities for new kinds of family relationships.”
  • In the Guardian, writer Ben Fergusson talks about adopting a child with his husband and the differences he’s noticed in how society treats mothers and fathers. “Mothers can do everything right, but be told they are doing everything wrong, whereas we are congratulated for doing the bare minimum,” he observes.
  • Javier and Amon Seabaugh share with the Dallas Voice their story of becoming parents through adoption.

Politics and Law

  • Maricopa County, Arizona, is reversing a policy that was spawned by homophobia. The county provides free legal services to parents doing uncontested adoptions. After marriage equality became law in 2015, however, then-County Attorney Bill Montgomery said same-sex parents weren’t eligible for the free services. Rather than face legal challenges, he moved legal work for any uncontested adoption to outside firms. Current County Attorney Allister Adel is now bringing that work back to her office, saving the county $750,000 a year.
  • Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has said the government will now allow nonbiological Canadian parents who are their child’s legal parents at birth to pass down Canadian citizenship to their children born abroad, reports the CBC. (Compare how the U.S. State Department is opposing similar recognition for U.S. parents.)
  • A proposed German law would recognize nonbiological mothers in partnerships with the biological mother, without the nonbiological mother having to adopt. Nonbiological fathers in two-dad couples would still have to adopt, however.
  • The Washington Blade profiled lesbian mom “power couple” Claire Lucas and Judy Dlugacz, who are working to help elect Joe Biden. Lucas is a senior Democratic National Committee member; Dlugacz is the founder and president of Olivia Travel and co-founder of the groundbreaking Olivia Records, both for queer women.
  • Forty-seven percent of employers still require demonstration of infertility among same-sex couples before providing fertility benefits; 45 percent require it among single parents by choice and 55 percent for different-sex couples, reports consulting firm Willis Towers Watson from their “2020 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey.” Requiring it for same-sex and single parents, who may be medically fertile but still need to use assisted reproduction, is ridiculous. This may slowly be changing, however, as some companies are eliminating the requirement for everyone. (See also my pieces on MassMutual and J.P. Morgan, which have both done so.)

Schools and Education

  • As so many of our children head back to school with at least some virtual component, Ty Marshall’s piece at Rethinking Schools on “How Google Classroom Erases Trans Students” is required reading. (Among other things, it should make us realize that improving a school’s LGBTQ friendliness isn’t just a matter of adding LGBTQ-inclusive books to the English and history curricula; there’s a technological component, too.)
  • Fan Yiying at Sixth Tone looks at challenges and solutions for same-sex parents and their children heading back to school in China.

Entertainment and Media

Research Request

  • Cate Desjardins, a Ph.D candidate at the Institute for Clinical Social Work, is seeking participants for their research on “how trans* gestational parents make meaning of gendered experiences during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Entertainment Edition

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Entertainment Edition

Even in the middle of summer, things are happening! This week’s roundup is heavily (but not exclusively) about entertainment news—lighter fare, perhaps, but also touching on the important topic of representation.

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup

Entertainment and Media

  • Netflix’s new show The Baby-Sitter’s Club includes an episode in which one of the main characters is asked to sit for a young transgender girl, played by 9-year-old transgender actress Kai Shappley. Netflix writer and trans woman Rose Dommu said the episode “made me cry happy tears.”
  • Watch Tall Tales with True Queens, a free, short film that looks at the phenomenon of Drag Queen Story Hours.
  • TLC has premiered “My Pregnant Husband,” which shares the journeys of two transgender couples on their way to parenthood.
  • IndieWire interviewed Doc McStuffins creator and lesbian mom Chris Nee about her deal with Netflix that “positions her well on her way to becoming the Shonda Rhimes or Ryan Murphy of kids TV.” Among other things, Nee related why she pushed for the inclusion of a same-sex family on Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins in 2017 (about which more here): “I said, ‘I’m constantly doing press, talking about how important it is to see yourself onscreen and what that means to kids, and yet I can’t talk about my own family. I just said ‘I’m done, we’re putting a same sex family on the air.’”
  • The Butson-Luthier family—two dads and their 9-year-old daughter—have become the first family with gay dads to appear on a reality-based Disney show, the Disney Channel’s Disney Fam Jam.
  • Has it really been 10 years since The Kids Are All Right, the movie about a two-mom family in which one of the moms has an affair with their children’s sperm donor? Variety spoke with writers Lisa Cholodenko (a Real Lesbian Mom) and Stuart Blumberg, along with the film’s stars, about their reflections on the movie. Love it or hate it, this was the first major feature film to center an LGBTQ family, and one with older kids, no less.
  • GLAAD’s 2020 Studio Responsibility Index, which looks at LGBTQ representation in films, notes that there were only two LGBTQ-inclusive animated and family films in 2019, but the inclusive moments were “incredibly minor.” They opine, “Film should look to the boom and success of queer and trans representation in all ages programming happening on TV.” (Hear, hear!)

Family Stories

Politics and Law


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GLSEN Day of Silence – Proud Parenting

GLSEN Day of Silence - Proud Parenting

The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ students and allies all around the country take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools.

This effort was started in the mid 90’s by two college students but since then the Day of Silence has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Every April, students go through the school day without speaking, ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive. Now due to the unusual circumstances, GLSEN has decided to go virtual.

As a young ally I think that this is an amazing event to rally against the violence seen in schools around the world that target LGBTQ+ students. I myself will be taking part in this day and hope that many others will consider it.

This year we are honoring the 25th anniversary of Day of Silence on Friday, April 24, 2020. Learn more about this incredible event.