Here's a compilation of recent stories about LGBT parents, LGBT kids, schools, and other related matters:
- GLSEN reports, "An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday [April 6] after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother's weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year." Sara Whitman went to the funeral, and wrote about it here at Bilerico. Worth a read. Have tissues handy.
- The Advocate has a long interview with the boy's mother, Sirdeaner Walker.
- Making the tragedy even more poignant, GLSEN is preparing for its 13th annual Day of Silence this Friday, when hundreds of thousands of students will take part in peaceful activities to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The Advocate notes that April 17 would have been Walker-Hoover's birthday. He'll never blow out those 12 candles.
- The New York State Assembly passed a sweeping anti-bullying bill that "was recently amended to cover the broadest categories of students who face harassment and discrimination in our state's schools. While the amendment explicitly added weight, it also clarified that protections should not be limited to the categories listed—actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex." More such measures are clearly needed, but as Walker-Hoover's death shows us, education of school officials and students needs to go hand in hand with legislation.
- The Advocate has photos and coverage of LGBT families at the White House Egg Roll, a complement to The Bilerico Project's liveblog of the event. Barbara McCullough-Jones of Equality Arizona gives us a look back and tells of her encounter with then-candidate Obama on the campaign trial, when she asked if LGBT families would be invited to the Egg Roll if he were elected.
The need for more:
- Steve Ralls of PFLAG has more on Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado, the Californian lesbian moms of 12-year-old twins whose family may be torn apart if immigration officials proceed with their deportation of Tan, whose request for asylum was denied.
- Despite rumors that New York could be the next state to enact marriage equality, equality is still spotty for New York LGBT parents. A state appeals court ruled that a lesbian mom has no legal parental rights to the five-year-old child she and her former partner had been raising, the partner's biological child. The women had a civil union in Vermont and registered as domestic partners in New York City. Their son was born a month after their civil union. The appeals court said that under a 1991 ruling by the state's highest court, only "biological and adoptive parents" have the right to seek visitation and custody.
- A Manhattan surrogate judge granted an adoption petition filed on behalf of a woman donated an egg to her partner. Law.com reports, "Although the couple's Dutch marriage is recognized by New York and the donor's genetic relationship to the 15-month-old boy is 'unquestioned,' the donor filed for adoption in order to safeguard her parental rights under federal law and in the states that do not recognize the same-sex marriage."
I was initially puzzled because the article says, "[N]o reported decision, in this or other states, has discussed or determined the parentage of a child's gestational and genetic mothers in a proceeding which involves no dispute between the parties." Fact is, that is exactly what Helen and I did. I donated the egg to her, and we obtained a court order in NJ before our child was born, stating that we would both be his parents. (This was in 2003, before NJ would put two moms on the birth cert as a matter of course.) Lawyer and Bilerico contributor Nancy Polikoff says the key word here is "reported." This case was; ours wasn't. She also blogged about the case herself, noting that the law for husbands and wives right now is that "consenting to a partner's insemination with intent to be a parent should make a person a parent." This should not be dependent on the gender or marital status of the couple, Polikoff says, and states should adopt the "American Bar Association Model Act Governing Assisted Reproductive Technology," which would make it so. Hear, hear. (Nancy also reminds me that non-bio moms should still do second-parent adoptions even if they are on the birth certificate, because other states don't have to recognize the birth cert.)
Showcasing LGBT families:
- Mary Liz Thomson of HuffPo talks about why the two high-risk kids adopted by her gay brother and her partner are doing more than fine, thank you. A nice piece by an ally.
- Another good read is a piece in ColorsNW. It falls into the category of "LGBT Parenting 101" articles—a couple of profiles, some statistics—but excels because of its clarity and thoroughness, paying attention to subjects like LGBT families of color and the complications of international adoptions.
An improved site:
- TransActive Education & Advocacy has launched an updated Web site with resources for parents, caregivers and families of transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth, as well as for the youth themselves, healthcare providers, therapists, legal professionals, social service agencies, and others interested in learning more about children, youth and gender identity.
- After Ellen profiles Sex and the City actor Cynthia Nixon, now starring in Broadway's Distracted as Mama, a woman who suspects her nine-year-old son may have ADD. They also point to Nixon's interview with Australian parenting blog Babble, in which she talks about raising her two kids with partner Christine Marinoni as well as with Nixon's former husband and his partner.
- Last, and perhaps least, gay actor Rupert Everett has said that gay men who have children are "egocentric and vain." He seemed particularly squicked out by IVF, saying, "this whole idea of two gay guys filling a cocktail shaker with their sperm and impregnating some grim lesbian and then it gets cut out is just really weird." Well, of course. Don't you know we use turkey basters, not cocktail shakers?