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[?Australia] – Two Dads: Gay Male Parenting and its Politicisation — A Cooperative Inquiry Action Research Study – by Jason Tuazon-McCheyne – Volume 31 Issue 4

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, who is one of the best known Surro-Dads in Australia, has just had his paper “Two Dads: Gay Male Parenting and its Politicisation — A Cooperative Inquiry Action Research Study” published in the  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT).  The abstract follows and a copy of the paper is attached.  This is a very interesting read and represents one of the very few pieces of academic studies done in Australia in to gay male parents (via surrogacy).  Well done Jason, I know what an amazing amount of work went into this paper.

Australian gay men have only recently become parents through surrogacy arrangements. They have had to overcome a discriminatory legal, social, political, cultural and financial environment. A cooperative inquiry action research group was formed, with seven two-father families conceived via surrogacy, to explore their journey to parenthood and their consequent politicisation as gay fathers. This article reveals how that experience of the cooperative inquiry process strengthened their resolve to be intentionally ‘out’ in their communities to overcome discriminatory and conservative social attitudes. They embraced the political reality of their parenting and were stimulated to create improved support structures for themselves and future parents. This transformed the legal, social, political and cultural environment for their families.

[Source: Original Paper]

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Categories: Uncategorized

[Australia] – Two Dads: Gay Male Parenting and its Politicisation — A Cooperative Inquiry Action Research Study – by Jason Tuazon-McCheyne – Volume 31 Issue 4

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment
Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, who is one of the best known Surro-Dads in Australia, has just had his paper “Two Dads: Gay Male Parenting and its Politicisation — A Cooperative Inquiry Action Research Study” published in the  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT).  The abstract follows and a copy of the paper is attached.  This is a very interesting read and represents one of the very few pieces of academic studies done in Australia in to gay male parents (via surrogacy).  Well done Jason, I know what an amazing amount of work went into this paper.
Australian gay men have only recently become parents through surrogacy arrangements. They have had to overcome a discriminatory legal, social, political, cultural and financial environment. A cooperative inquiry action research group was formed, with seven two-father families conceived via surrogacy, to explore their journey to parenthood and their consequent politicisation as gay fathers. This article reveals how that experience of the cooperative inquiry process strengthened their resolve to be intentionally ‘out’ in their communities to overcome discriminatory and conservative social attitudes. They embraced the political reality of their parenting and were stimulated to create improved support structures for themselves and future parents. This transformed the legal, social, political and cultural environment for their families.
Categories: surrogacy

[Australia] – Organising Work and Home in Same-Sex Parented Families: Findings From the Work Love Play Study – THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY – Volume 31 Number 4 2010 pp. 374–391

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

The full report on “Organising Work and Home in Same-Sex Parented Families: Findings From the Work Love Play Study” has been published: 

In this article we present findings from the Work, Love and Play (WLP) study: a survey completed by 445 same-sex attracted parents across Australia and New Zealand. Comparisons of household division of labour are made between a sub-sample of WLP participants, who were currently cohabiting with a same-sex partner (n = 317), and 958 cohabiting opposite-sex parents surveyed as part of a major Australian study, Negotiating the Life Course. This comparison showed that same-sex couples divided household labour significantly more equally than heterosexual parents, and lesbian couples also shared parenting tasks more equally. Qualitative findings from the WLP study indicate that, for many same-sex couples, major decisions around who gives up paid work and how many hours parents choose to work, as well as decisions around work/family balance, are negotiated on the basis of couple’s preferences and circumstance rather than an assump- tion that one parent will be the primary child carer. It is speculated that this finding highlights an important point of difference between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples where the division of household labour is often based on the assumption that the mother will almost always be the primary child carer and homemaker. The research is a collaborative partnership between La Trobe University, Deakin University, The University of Melbourne, and Relationships Australia Victoria.

[Source: Original Paper]

 

Categories: Uncategorized

[Australia] – Sydney Morning Herald – “Religious charities putting doctrine above children’s interests” by Jen Vuk

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

 

The worst harm is done by refusing to allow same-sex couples to foster.

It was with a heavy heart that I read of a landmark ruling earlier this month that gives religious charities the freedom to ban gay foster parents.

The New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal found that Wesley Dalmar Services, the foster-care arm of Wesley Mission, was within its rights to knock back a gay couple who applied in the early 2000s to become foster carers, because their “lifestyle was not in keeping with the beliefs and values of Wesleyanism”.

The charity, a part of the Uniting Church assembly, had successfully argued that its decision was necessary to circumvent damage to its “religious susceptibilities”.

As far as rulings go, it was a classic case of exploiting a loophole. The tribunal intimated that its hands were tied due to “the very broad exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act relating to religious groups”.

Following the passing of the Equal Opportunity Bill in Victoria this year, which allows religious groups to continue to discriminate on the basis of “sexuality or marital status if it is in accordance with their beliefs”, the NSW directive is clearly portentous for Victorian gay couples hoping to foster.

Of course, it is a grave disservice to tar all Christian foster-care agencies with the same bias. Uniting Care Burnside, part of the Uniting Church, has long held progressive attitudes towards homosexuality, as has Barnardos. Both have a non-discriminatory policy when looking for safe environments in which to place foster children.

Wesley Mission belongs to a Methodist order of the Uniting Church. It has a long and worthy history of social justice, but the central tenet of its orthodoxy, that marriage between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of family, sits uneasily in a contemporary world.

As many civil liberties groups have been quick to point out, charities such as Wesley that rely on government funding should not be allowed to show such prejudice. It is likely to become more of an issue in NSW over the next four years, as private agencies take over all the foster-care programs run by the Department of Community Services.

But there is something else amiss here, and it’s a trap ready-made for religious charity groups. By putting its charter ahead of its charges, Wesley Mission undermines its mission. While it may indeed have the legislative right to discriminate, the only time it should exercise that right is when a child – and not its doctrine – is at risk.

Furthermore, I can’t understand how a charity can so easily turn a blind eye to the fact that we have long been crying out for foster carers.

In 2005, lobby group the Australian Foster Care Association warned that foster care in Australia was at a crossroads. It urged states and territories to work together to improve “their recruitment strategies to increase the number of foster carers” and put strategies in place to retain them.

And with good reason. Foster care isn’t for the faint-hearted. In addition to the logistical hoops prospective carers are required to jump through (such as police checks and working-with-children checks), different agencies have their own criteria.

While there is some financial recompense for carers, it isn’t a patch on the physical, emotional and spiritual investment of welcoming an often damaged little stranger into your home.

Just think, on the one hand you are encouraged to support and bond with the child. On the other, you must be prepared to let them go, sometimes at a moment’s notice, and knowing the cycle of abuse and neglect will most likely begin anew. Surely, this is the biggest ask of all.

Over the past year, it was estimated that about 34,000 children moved in and out of state care, and the number is growing. For the lucky few – and they are few – there is a happy ending.

Eight years ago, a young sister and brother arrived at the door of Silke Bader and her partner, Tanya Sale. Now aged 11 and 12, the two siblings have had the kind of safe and secure upbringing their 10 brothers and sisters could only dream about.

As Bader told The Sydney Morning Herald: “The argument over same-sex adoption is whether the couples are suitable . . . in this case we certainly stand out as being more suitable.”

Earlier this year, after surveying several children placed with same-sex couples, a NSW parliamentary inquiry found that, above all else, “stability and security” were crucial in fostering a child’s development. The findings led to the same-sex adoption bill being passed in September.

This is why the latest ruling seems not only curious but retrogressive. While definition of family is constantly evolving, one thing remains forever the same: every child has a right to be loved.

Surely it’s time we put children’s rights where they belong – above and beyond all others.

Jen Vuk is a freelance writer.

 

 

[Source: Original Article]

 

Categories: Foster Care

[United Kingdom] – The Telegraph – “Britain’s first gay surrogate parents to open surrogacy centre for same-sex couples” by Laura Roberts

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Britain’s first gay surrogate parents are planning to set up a surrogacy centre that caters to the needs of same-sex couples.

Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, from Danbury in Essex will open The British Surrogacy Centre in February 2011.

Describing it as “a centre for all things surrogacy” which provides information for same-sex parents it will be based in Essex but have an office in California. The couple will help match surrogates and egg donors in the US with couples from the UK and Europe.
The Drewitt-Barlow’s have five children which were all conceived using surrogates. In 1999 they made history when they travelled to the US and used donated eggs and a surrogate mother to become fathers to twins Aspen and Saffron, now ten. Since then they have added Orlando, seven, and Dallas and Jasper, ten month-old twins, to the family. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said Elton John and David Furnish’s decision to use a surrogate would “help the gay parenting cause greatly”.
Categories: surrogacy

[Australia] – Sydney Morning Herald – “Gay parents are more equal than others” by Adele Horin

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

ALISON RUTHERFORD is a little surprised that so many women she meets complain about their husbands’ ineptness around the house.

It is not a problem she experiences with her same-sex partner, Dale Newman, who is the co-parent of three-year-old Rafael.

”There’s a female culture of husband bashing which is quite alien to me,” she said.

Same-sex parents, research shows, are significantly more egalitarian than heterosexual parents in the way they divide household tasks and parenting responsibilities.

With lesbian couples, the mother who carries the baby and breastfeeds it is not assumed to be the parent who will stay at home or be the main nurturer. In fact little can be assumed and everything must be negotiated when couples do not have gender roles to fall back on.

The findings, from the Work, Love and Play study which compared the experience of

317 same-sex parents – including 27 men – and 958 heterosexual parents, challenges the notion that biology is destiny.

”It is not uncommon for the biological capacity of mothers – childbearing, breastfeeding, nurturing – to be used as the rationale for women’s more limited participation in the workforce and their primary role as homemaker,” says Jennifer Power, of

La Trobe University, a co-author. But among lesbian couples, generally both women take on a mothering role, regardless of who gave birth, and both tend to take on the work role. In other cases, the women changed roles over time.

The study found that compared with heterosexual parents, both same-sex parents are much more likely to be working part time. Only 6 per cent of Australian couples with children under the age of 15 have neither parent working full time, compared with 23 per cent of lesbian couples.

Perhaps because of the extraordinary effort gay people must go to to have children, spending time with them is a big priority for both parents, the study found.

As a result, both partners tend to take responsibility for generating income and for all household tasks. ”Sharing roles means each partner develops empathy for what the other is doing,” said the study, published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy.

Dr Rutherford, 41, from the school of public health and community medicine at the University of NSW, and Ms Newman, 47, a freelance illustrator, have been together 11 years. The planning and making of Rafael took four years, Ms Newman said.

Though Dr Rutherford was the main breadwinner, she was the more determined to have children and is Rafael’s biological mother.

She took six months’ maternity leave before returning to work three days a week. Then Ms Newman, who works from home, did more of the parenting.

The decision to live on two part-time incomes until Rafael started school was fairly easy. ”We’re older parents, we’ll only have one child, and five years is not a huge chunk of our lives,” Dr Rutherford said.

While their closest friends are a heterosexual couple both of whom work part time, most parents of preschoolers they encounter are in more traditional relationships where women complain that their husbands do not do enough housework.

”I get jealous that the women don’t have to be breadwinners as well as mothers, so there’s always something to complain about,” Dr Rutherford said.

[Source: Original Article]

 

Categories: Uncategorized

[United Kingdom] – Huffington Post – “Elton John, David Furnish Have Son Via Surrogate”

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Finally, Elton John can call himself a father.

The pop rock superstar and his long-time husband, David Furnish, announced to Us Weekly that they have had a child via a surrogate mother in California. Their son, named Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born on Christmas day, and weighed seven pounds and 15 ounces.

“We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment,” the new fathers told the magazine. “Zachary is healthy and doing really well, and we are very proud and happy parents.”

It’s been a long road for John and Furnish in their quest to be fathers; in 2009, they were denied the right to adopt an HIV-positive toddler from the Ukraine, due to John’s age and the country’s lack of recognition of civil unions rendering him single by their laws.

John said that he still planned to support the child and his brother financially, and now has a son of his own, too. And one with the name Levon, one of John’s many well-known songs.

[Source: Original Article]

Categories: surrogacy