A wonderful Public Service Annoucnement (PSA) from Ireland on the subject of homophobic bullying. Brilliantly done and something that should be shown in every school followed by discussion. These messages need to get out to send positive messages to our youth and to let people no that bullying is not ok. Watch and enjoy!
In today’s Sydney Morning Herald there is a lovely piece about Stuart Gent and his daughter Lucy. It is wonderful to see such positive and life affirming articles on surrogacy particularly when they have gay men involved. What makes this one a little different than the usual is that Stuart is a single gay man. Congratulations Stuart – Lucy is beautiful and thank you for sharing your journey.
STUART GENT hopes his daughter Lucy will grow up believing herself blessed, a girl conceived and born with love in mind and with the greatest care and deliberation. She was no accident or afterthought.
At two years and seven months old, she knows she has a ”tummy mummy”, a biological one, and a dad who adores her. Planning of her life began in London; the first steps to conception were taken in Boston; she was born in California; she’s being raised in Melbourne.
”Lucy knows,” says Mr Gent, 38, who is gay.
”I tell it in the way of a fairytale.
I tell her that I wanted to have a little baby girl and that I went to a big land called America … and they were able to help me find a nice lady who helped me have my little girl and there was another lady who gave me the seed. The story changes, it gets more elaborate as she gets older.”
Mr Gent is speaking about his experience at a moment when surrogacy is again in the headlines. Last week Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban announced they had become parents via a surrogate mother in the US. At Christmas, Elton John and his partner David Furnish revealed they had become parents by the same route.
Mr Gent hopes his story can also shed light on a practice steeped in controversy.
When in his early 30s, he had been living in London for more than a decade, a long relationship had ended and he was starting to ponder his future. A certainty was that he wanted a child. He considered adoption, but was defeated by red tape. So he turned to surrogacy.
Online, he established contact with a surrogacy agency in Boston. The agency matched him with an egg donor, then with a woman to carry the child. Everyone involved had psychiatric and medical tests. He first met Lucy’s ”gestational carrier” Stacy and her husband at a Californian restaurant and the match seemed perfect.
Mr Gent’s sperm fertilised the eggs, which were implanted at an IVF clinic. Result: pregnancy. Nine months later, in July 2008, Lucinda was born in California. Her dad missed the birth when she arrived a few days early. He made a cross-Atlantic dash to the hospital.
”I went up to the nursery and they said, ‘Which one do you think is your daughter?’ and I said, ‘The little one, frowning.’ And I was spot on.
I just knew.”
Mr Gent brought her home to Melbourne a month later. His family was supportive. Friends rallied around. He now has a partner, Craig Swain, although they don’t live together.
”I’m a single father, that’s it,” Mr Gent says. ”I just happen to be gay. It took three years for me to become a father. There’s a lot of love goes into that. My objective is to give her as much courage and confidence as
I can so that if there are any problems, she can weather them.
”It comes down to the amount of love you give to a child, and she has plenty of love.”
LEGAL experts are urging State Parliament to reconsider new surrogacy laws they say will lead to couples lying to authorities, friends and family about their children’s births.
Under altruistic surrogacy laws from March 1, any NSW resident who travels overseas for commercial surrogacy can on return be fined $110,000 and imprisoned for two years, reported The Daily Telegraph.
They will also not benefit from other changes making it easier for couples to be recognised as parents of a child born via an altruistic surrogacy.
Commercial surrogacy, where a surrogate mother is paid for carrying a couple’s genetic child, is illegal in all states of Australia.
Community Services Minister Linda Burney said the laws aimed to stop exploitation of women in other countries who might be forced to become a surrogate for financial reasons.
University of Technology Sydney law professor Jenni Millbank said couples desperate to have a child would still seek commercial surrogates overseas and lie about it.
It comes as a gay Melbourne couple who paid an Indian surrogate to give birth to twin girls won a major Family Court case for parenting rights for the non-genetic partner.
Justice Paul Cronin said: “While it is clear that the Act talks about a parent as a mother and a father … biology does not really matter. It is all about parental responsibility.”
[Source: Original Article]
This is not the “landmark” or “new” case it purports to be unfortunately. It appears that it is merely another granting of parenting orders to a gay couple who did surrogacy overseas. They have in fact been granted to gay couples for many years in these circumstances and still Gay Dads via surrogacy still are not recognised as the “legal” parents of their children in Australia.
Nevertheless, it is good news and a surprising positive article from the traditionally sensationalist Herald Sun. Congratulations to the gay couple who got their parenting orders! Well done.
A GAY couple who paid an Indian surrogate mother to give birth to twin girls have won a major legal case for parenting rights.
The case comes as overseas surrogacy booms, with 350 babies expected to be brought to Australia in 2011, compared with 50 just two years ago.
The Herald Sun can reveal the parenting rights breakthrough hot on the heels of Nicole Kidman’s shock new surrogate baby revelation and the success of TV hit comedy Modern Family, which features a gay male couple with a baby girl.
The 20-month-old girls were born in Mumbai to a woman who carried eggs from an anonymous donor impregnated with sperm from one of the men.
The Melbourne couple went to the Family Court seeking full parental status for the non-genetic father.
“In this case, the children do not have the benefit of a mother, but they have the good fortune of having two fathers,” Justice Paul Cronin found. “As a matter of law, the word ‘parent’ tends to suggest some biological connection, but … biology does not really matter; it is all about parental responsibility.”
Lawyer Susan Buchanan, who represented the couple at the Family Court, said the ruling could pave the way for other same-sex couples to win full parenting rights.
A gay couple told 60 Minutes last year they paid $40,000 for an Indian woman to give birth to twin girls.
“They’re going to grow up finding this totally normal until they see otherwise and then, you know, when they start asking questions we’ll give them the answers,” one of the men told the program.
The Family Court decision was welcomed by surrogacy advocates.
“It’s a major step forward having that kind of judgment because it sets a precedent,” said Sam Everingham, of Australian Families Through Gestational Surrogacy.
“Any judge would have seen that this is a modern family made in a fairly unconventional way.”
But Catholic ethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini said surrogacy should be discouraged because a “committee of parents” – surrogate, donors and commissioning parents – confused a child’s sense of identity.
“Parents don’t have rights, they have responsibilities. The crucial thing in all of this is that the courts make decisions in the interest of the child.”
The Family Court made “parenting orders” in three international surrogacy cases last year where couples- and in one case, a single Sydney man – returned to Australia seeking citizenship for the newborns.
India is the most popular source of surrogate babies.
Mr Everingham said more than 200 surrogate babies would be born this year to Indian women, who will charge about $25,000.
About 100 babies will come from the US, where the going rate is $150,000-plus, while about 50 will come from Thailand, where the charge is up to $50,000.
[Source: Original Article]
Today Jeff, Ethan and I went to the opening of the Midsumma Carnival down at Birrarung Marr, by the Yarra. We meet up with our other two boys – Justin and Aki – and their Mum, Debbie. We bumped in to dozens of other gay and lesbian parented families, all there with their children enjoying the sunshine and atmosphere that is the annual Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Carnival. There was a great space for the kids to create art and help contribute to a giant rainbow art work. The wonderful playground at Birrarung Marr was also great for the kids, young and old. What is wonderful about carnival and why we go each year, is the sense of community that abounds. Seeing so many, many children and their parents at the carnival is truly inspiring. Each year the numbers of gay and lesbian parented families seem to increase. They are no longer an oddity at the annual queer carnival, they are simply part of the rich fabric of that community. What is clear is that the number of rainbow families are exploding – they are absolutely everywhere. We caught up with lots of gay and lesbian parents today and spent some time with them at the mega jumping castle. A few of the parents even got in for a bounce around. Jeff and I don’t know how many more years we have before Ethan says…..”I don’t want to go to carnival”. He is 4 years old now, so hopefully we will manage to get him there right into his teenage years. One thing is for sure, we will make sure he grows up knowing how important the Gay and Lesbian community is to his family, a connection he will never loose.
The photo is purely self indulgence. Jeff, Ethan and I had our photo taken with the fabulous Matthew Mitcham. What a sweet, confident, inspiring young man. The little doll Ethan is holding is his new (recycled) Ken doll which we brought from the ALSO stand. For all those who got to carnival I hope you enjoyed it as well.