Archive for the ‘Co-Parenting’ Category
Two nurses in Las Vegas, Nevada, both named Dina, got tired of crossing out pronouns and editing greeting cards for each other, family and friends, so they created Teazled.com, a new online Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender greeting card company for non-traditional families. The two Dinas, who have been in a loving marriage for seven years and raised four children together, started Teazled to offer LGBT families cards that represent their families and life milestones.
“Dina and I started Teazled because we felt a void looking for a greeting card to express our feelings during life’s special occasions, only to have to edit the available selection,” said Dina Proto, cofounder of Teazled. “We understand non-traditional families share the same traditional bonds of love and respect. We want the non-traditional family to be able to celebrate those meaningful moments, express their innermost thoughts and communicate with those they cherish.”
Sure, there are other LGBT-oriented greeting card companies, but often the images are R rated. Teazled showcases tasteful greeting cards for individuals and their families for 25 different occasions, including coming out and commitment ceremonies. All cards are $3.99 each plus $1 for shipping. To order, go to www.teazled.com
Series Helps to Fill Gaps in Bookstores and Library Offerings, Provide Vital Tool for Educators and Parents
MINNEAPOLIS, May 23, 2011— Rainbow Rumpus, the online magazine for kids and teens with LGBT parents, is launching a free series of downloadable books designed to fight bullying and promote acceptance. Each book tells a story about a child with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents, and gives parents and teachers tools for talking about family diversity. The newest title, “Same, Same,” focuses on two pre-schoolers whose friendship founders when one learns to do something the other cannot. The main character’s fathers support her as she figures out what to do. Young children from all types of families will identify with the friendship dilemma the characters face, be enthralled by the rhythm of the language, and enjoy the opportunity to create illustrations on the interior pages of the book.
There has been an overwhelmingly warm reception to the series with families and teachers downloading an average of 50 books per month in 2011. “We can’t find any books in the bookstores and libraries where we live,” noted one parent. “We’re so glad these are here.” The picture books are available at http://www.rainbowrumpus.org/htm/printable.htm .
The series has been recognized as an important new tool by both educators and curriculum developers. “These types of books are difficult to find at the library,” noted one teacher, “and I think it’s important to have them in the classroom.” The benefits to students are enhanced by a teachers’ guide included with each title. Welcoming Schools, a HRC sponsored curriculum which combats bullying, lists Rainbow Rumpus’ picture books as a useful resource. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) also works to increase awareness of the books among educators.
from the UK’s Mail Online
Mothers’ pride: Lesbian couple beat 60million-to-one odds to have FIVE babies
A lesbian couple are beaming with happiness after becoming parents to quintuplets in a world first.
Melissa Keevers, 27, and Rosemary Nolan, 22, have entered the record books after their five babies, conceived with a U.S. sperm donor, came into the world in Australia.
The chances of a woman becoming pregnant with quints from a sperm donor without the aid of IVF are estimated at 60million to one.
The two boys and three girls join an IVF child already in the family – 18-month-old Lily – born to Miss Keevers.
Miss Keevers has become mother again to the five newcomers, Charlie, Noah, Eireann, Evie and Abby but the multiple births have not come as a surprise – the couple told the world about their expected quints last October.
Now Miss Keevers has told Australia’s Woman’s Day magazine that in the days leading up to the births she spent three days in the birthing suite – ‘they wouldn’t let me leave in case it happened’.
Irish-born partner Miss Nolan, who met Miss Keevers after arriving in Australia from Waterford in 2008, said that at the time ‘I was running around like a headless chicken!
‘I was in shock thinking it was actually going to happen.’
The women, who live in Brisbane, admit that they are going to need a team of volunteers to help them raise the children in the first few months and years.’
They have realised this in the weeks following the births in January – and even during the births Miss Keevers had to be attended by a team of 25 hospital staff.
‘We couldn’t hold them, as they were so small,’ said Miss Nolan. ‘We wanted to cuddle them but we knew the biggest thing was to make sure they’re all right.’
As the babies grew stronger the two mothers were allowed to have what they described as ‘kangaroo cuddles’, where the baby is placed down the front of their shirt so they can have skin contact.
Miss Keevers recalled for the magazine that when she was pregnant with Lily she knew it was her who who moving.
‘With the quins, I just knew the one on the bottom right was moving.
There were movements all over. I couldn’t pinpoint who it was.’ At first it was feared that Eireann would need an operation to correct a murmer in her heart, but she has improved and doctors hope they won’t need to operate after all.
The women are now looking forward to taking the babies home to live with Lily.
‘We’re not sure she understand they’re all going to come home,’ said Miss Nolan. ‘But she likes going to visit them at the hospital and kissing them through their crib.’
The quints’ father is a 27-year-old dark-haired law student with good teeth and eyesight and a high IQ. He waived all rights to meet the children.
Under Queensland law, Miss Nolan will not be legally recognised as a parent of the children.
Only the birth mother will be known as the parent and Miss Nolan will also not be allowed to adopt the children.
Great article from Parenting.com, and the best part is the 700+ positive comments following the one initial negative that lead off the conversation. Thanks Parenting!
NEWS FROM OMG!
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Cynthia Nixon has another redhead in her family.
The “Sex and The City” star (who is naturally blond), and her partner, fiancee Christine Marinoni, showed off the first photo of their newborn – Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni, on Sunday.
Christine, 43, gave birth to Max, last Monday and he has a shock of red hair, just like his biological mom.
Cynthia announced her engagement to Christine in May 2009 while at the Love, Peace and Marriage Equality rally in New York City, saying at the time, she had become engaged the month before.
The couple began dating in 2003, after the star split from husband Danny Mozes, with whom she has two children – Samantha, 15, and Charles, 8.
Cynthia currently stars in Showtime’s “The Big C” alongside Golden Globe winner Laura Linney.
Cynthia Nixon’s fiancee has given birth to their son.
The ‘Sex and the City’ actress and her partner Christine Marinoni, 43, welcomed son Max Ellington Nixon-Marinoni into the world on Monday, their spokesperson has confirmed.
The representative said: “Christine and baby are doing great.”
No further information has been given.
Cynthia, 44, has two children, Samantha, 14, and eight-year-old Charles, whose father is her former boyfriend Danny Mozes.
”Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like Christine is so amazing with our kids – because they’re our kids. I feel like falling in love with her is part of being amazed at how she makes our family so much better,” said Nixon.
Cynthia and Christine started dating in 2004 and announced their engagement in 2009
Posted January 31, 2011on:
Thanks to my official photographer and unofficial BFF Jen Frankovitz for capturing the event with her artist’s eye.
Julianne Moore, a mother of two, commentedin an interview that same-sex couples may make better parents because their children are planned.
“You know what else is really nice, is if you’re in a same-sex relationship, you can’t have a kid by accident, so these children are planned and loved and wanted, well-educated and well-adjusted — and that’s what you want,” she said.
That’s what we’re all here for, right?”
A few commenters on gay sites and others have had a lot to say about this interview. Some have highlighted Neil’s remark that he did not feel an instant connection with the babies, “Everyone said, ‘When you see them, you’re going to look into their eyes, and you’ll never feel love burst forth like you feel …,’ and I’m like, ‘Not so much.’”
Nay-sayers have alleged he does not have natural fatherly feelings because he is gay. Ironically, the sentiments he expressed are common for many new parents — female, male, straight, gay — who have feelings of guilt and disappointment over not forming that initial magic love bond. As one commenter aptly put it, “It’s normal, it’s not a guy thing, it’s not a gay thing, it’s a new parent thing and it’s common and it’s a good thing for celebs/public figures to talk about it to counterbalance all the messages that say it’s wrong to feel that way. Lots of parents take some time to bond with their infants.”
Personally, what I thought was more interesting is that he talked about how his partner David Burtka had twins with another man before he met Neil, and Neil made the point that David raised the children for two and a half years, but, “He was not their father.” So I guess in his mind biology makes a father.
I was thrilled recently to attend the one-year anniversary party for The Next Family, a wonderful site that enlightens, enriches and inspires with its portrayal of an array of loving families of all types. Founder Brandy Black, whom I meet at the LA pride parade of ago, has been an incredibly energetic and positive-spirited force that has made the site a success in all ways.
As the site has grows in followers and contributors (which I am proud to consider myself one), it grows in depth, richness and significance. More and more diverse families are created everyday, and The Next Family provides a place for information, support and belonging.
Congrats to Brandy and all those who have helped to build the site and make it the terrific destination for families out there!
Here are a few pics from the party, atop the glamourous Hollywood Tower Rooftop.
My partner and I were shopping yesterday at Target in West Hollywood with our three-year-old son when something happen that could only happen to a LGBT family.
We were buying some decorations and favors for a Halloween party we are hosting for the kids in the neighborhood, and we were having a delightful time picking out multi-colored flashlights and jack-o-lantern treat buckets, but the shopping trip turned ugly when our son wanted every bag of candy in the Halloween aisle.
A smart boy, he learned long ago how to Houdini out of the safety straps on shopping carts, so it has become a regular challenge to keep him seated in the cart. After he stood up in the cart several times, and we firmly told him to sit back down, explained to him that it was dangerous, that the store manager would tell us to leave if he didn’t sit down, yadda, yadda, yadda, we finally warned him that if he stood up in the cart one more time, he would have to go with Mommy to the car and wait.
Always testing, as three year olds do, he stood up. That was it. I plucked him from the cart and plopped in on my hip. “Ok, now we’re going to the car.”
He turned to my partner and called to her to rescue him. “Momma, Momma. Take me. I need you. I want Momma!” In solidarity with me, she told him, “No, you have to go to the car with Mommy, because you didn’t sit in the cart.”
I carried him, kicking and screaming all the way to the elevator to the parking garage. The whole way he screamed, “Momma, Momma. I want Momma.”
The other people in the elevator starred as I tried to calm down the desparate child in my arms. I gently reinforced to him, ”Next time if you sit in the cart like a good boy, then we can stay.”
All the way to the car he threw a fit and wailed for “Momma.”‘ Slightly embarrassed, I grimaced at the people trapped in the elevator with me and this squirming, screaming child. As I crossed the parking lot two men were following me. I stopped beside my car and was fumbling to find my keys in my purse when one of the men approached me. In a quiet but demanding tone, “Can you tell me, where is his mother?”
I realized that he thought I was not this child’s mother, and that he thought I might be kidnapping him. I took a deep breath. “I am his mother. He has two moms. We raise him together. I am ‘Mommy,’ and she is ‘Momma.’ That’s why he was calling for ‘Momma.’ “
Still unconvinced, he stood watching me while my son screamed even louder because a threatening looking stranger was looming over his mom. The man was wearing (no lie) Bermuda shorts, socks and sandals. He definitely did not look like he was from our part of town. Possibly a tourist, maybe from the Midwest.
“I want to make sure nobody is taking him who shouldn’t be,” said the man, his friend stepping in closer.
“I appreciate that,” I said, “But I am his mother. I gave birth to him. I raise him together with his other mother.”
Here I was in a parking lot telling way too much information to a total stranger, and I was stunned at the idea that someone could think I was a kidnapper. After all, I was in West Hollywood, gay central. Surely this man had heard of two women, two moms, having a baby together.
I tried to sooth my son with, “It’s’ okay, it’s okay,” as I opened the rear door of my car to put him in the carseat. The man wasn’t budging. I supposed I could have asked my son to tell the man who I was, but the way my son was throwing a fit who knows what he might have said. What could I do? I had already told the man my life story in 20 seconds. I focused on loading my son into the car, but with two men staring down his mom — and by now my heart beat racing and me exuding shaky nerves — my son was completely rattled. He refused to go into the carseat.
I decided it best not to escalate the scene. “Come sit up front with Mommy until Momma comes, OK? You can honk the horn.” Finally, my son heard something he liked. Saved by the horn. He quit crying, and we went around to the driver’s side where I sat with him in my lap and shut the door.
“Just one time,” I told him. He tooted the horn. The men were still standing behind my car. Now, because of the horn, other people were looking at us. On the passenger seat floor I spied the bag of candy that we had just gotten at the Westside Families Halloween party at Plumber Park. Ironically we had just left a scene where two same-sex parents were the norm, and it was the odd heterosexual couple at the park who joined the festivities who felt a bit like the oddball. A Tootsie Roll sucker! Normally the one piece of sticky, sugary candy that he’s normally forbidden. I handed it to him for a guaranteed distraction. He quickly unwrapped it and stuck it in his mouth. Peace and quiet.
After about a minute, the men walked away.
I sat in the car with my son not sure what to think. Part of me was glad that strangers would step up to make sure a child was safe. it was a like an episode of that hidden-camera show, “What Would You Do?” where actors play out some sort of unfair or dangerous social situation to see if passersby will intervene. Then again, the incident was a reminder of the assumptions some people make and their ignorance about alternative family structures.
In the end, I decided I was glad that the men had approached me. If someone really had been abducting my son, then I’m glad someone risked their own comfort to approach a stranger to find out what was really happening. Also, the confrontation gave me the opportunity to educate the men about another family formation. So maybe next time they see two women with a child they will consider that the women might not be sisters, friends or co-workers but maybe they are, in fact, both the child’s moms.
All in all, a happy ending.
Posted October 16, 2010on:
Nosey Nellies are always asking lesbian moms inappropriate questions, like “Who’s the real mom?” While we may be tempted to say something snarky and sassy back, Steven Petrow, the author of the forthcoming book, “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners” (gaymanners.com), says polite, direct and even humorous replies will get us further when these gay gaffs occur.
“Silence is an option, but the truth is that a reply of some kind is hard to avoid,” says Petrow. “Good manners often demand that you rise above the occasion—and the intrusion—and treat the questioner with respect, trying to curb any irritation you may be feeling.”
Petrow gives the following guidelines for responding to the three most-often asked questions of lesbian moms.
Q: “Who’s the real mom?”
A: What this person is trying to find out, is, who between the two women parenting your kid was the one to give birth. Feel free to reply, “We’re both her moms,” even if that results in a puzzled look. Repeat as necessary, but gently. Some straight people still don’t get the idea that Heather can have two mommies, so it falls on us to educate them along the way.
While it’s true that the law in many place does not consider the “other” mom or dad as a legal guardian, polite manners doesn’t make such distinctions because blood ties don’t make one of you more of a parent than the other.
Of course, being the mother in a lesbian couple who hasn’t actually given birth to your child may make you the lightning rod for questions about the legitimacy of your role in your family—sometimes even in the eyes of other LGBT folks. Dealing with such attitudes in your community, school or workplace can be a major source of discomfort if not handled directly and consistently by both parents. One especially challenging situation is in-laws who don’t think of you as their grandchild’s other parent but rather the girlfriend their daughter happens to live with.
Q: “Who was the sperm donor?”
A: This is another personal and quite irrelevant piece of information that you may or may not decide to provide information about. Assuming you even used a sperm donor, as opposed to adopting, you can simply say, “We’d prefer to keep that private for now—that information really belongs to our child. We’ll wait until he’s older and tell him what he needs to know.” Another favorite nosy question along the same lines is, “Do you know if the donor has other kids out there?” to which you can say, “The process was really quite thorough, and we have all the information we need, thanks.”
Of course, an outsider’s overzealous interest in a sperm donor’s identity could signal anything from simple nervousness or curiosity to disapproval of your family. Instead of jumping to conclusions about that—if you generally don’t know which it is—one strategy is to simply make a point of reemphasizing your family makeup, at every opportunity. Be extra-clear by using phrases like “our family” or “our kids” with friends and strangers alike.
Q: “Who is the father?”
A: This is asked of moms with babies and pregnant women alike. But it is perhaps especially annoying when addressed to a pregnant women because it reflects so starkly the naïve assumption that all pregnant women are straight.
Of course, pregnant women of all orientations have long borne various invasions of their privacy, and neither you nor I am about to change any of that. But it is inappropriate behavior.
Whatever answer you come up with to this question, remember that you can’t change people’s preconceived notions overnight. But there nothing wrong with saying, “I’m sorry, that’s my business,” or joking, “Are you saying I’m fat?” even though it’s a non sequitur. If you want, try a more genuine explanation, such as “I used a sperm bank and, by the way, I’m a lesbian.” Your questioner might think twice the next time before asking another pregnant woman the same question. And you would have done your duty for the day in coming out to someone new.
Check out these and other guidelines to handling just about every queery that comes up in our lives and subscribe to the ”Queeries” newsletter at www.gaymammers.com.
Next weekend my partner and I are headed to Palm Desert to part-tay, with sippy cups in hand. Our three-year-old son will be along too as we join an estimated 60 LGBT families October 8-10 for some wild GLBT family fun, including rubber ducky races and a wildlife show, all part of Families in the Desert, sponsored by the Family Equality Council.
It’s still Palm Springs though, or at least the vicinity, so our first stop will be the pool at host hotel Embassy Suites Palm Desert, but instead of dykes with Nerf footballs and boy-shorts, the scene will be tykes in swim diapers and floaties. After fun in the sun, there’s family trivia, followed by a great big gay family dinner and karaoke and dessert. It reminds me of the family vacations of my childhood, if my parents had been gay and all their other parent friends were gay.
Times, they are a changing, and this refrain is echoed by the choice of Family Equality Council to host their event for the past several years in Palm Springs, home of the Dinah and the White Party. Just like their choice of Provincetown for the annual Family Week in August, it’s a sign of the times that our community’s adult playgrounds are now the playgrounds for our children.
“It is important to FEC that we hold events in communities that are welcoming and supportive of the LGBT community. We also want them to be accessible to large populations of LGBT parents,” says Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of FEC.
Chrisler, mom of twin boys with her partner Cheryl Jacques, is a regular fixture at all of the events, ever playing the host and making everyone feel at home. If charity starts in the home, so does community, with Chrisler as the indefatigable super mom overseeing her amazingly efficient staff and a top-tier team of volunteers who put on these regional events as well as a series of fundraisers and community-building events around the country.
As someone who’s been to more galas, awards dinners and community networking events than I can shake a plate of chicken or an Absolute cocktail at, I vouch that FEC holds some of the most organized and entertaining events out there for the GLBT community, and it figures a mom is running the show.
This upcoming weekend includes programming for both kids and adults, including educational sessions on topics such as battling homophobia, dealing with gay bullies and the process of adoption. Chrisler will lead a keynote workshop entitled The State of the Movement with an update on the work FEC does to forward its mission of ensuring GLBT families are recognized, respected, protected and celebrated.
Other activities for the whole family include a family BBQ, storytelling and s’mores, a special screening of the film “Expecting Mary” www.expectingmary.com at The Living Desert Museum, a safari tour, and a Wildlife Wonders Show of the animals of the African Desert. Teens and ‘tweens will have their own meet-and-greet mixer, chaperoned of course. Leaving no detail unattended, FEC provides free babysitting by professional child care providers so that parents can attend adult sessions.
It’s no wonder that families come from all over the country, and even as far as Australia, to come together with other GLBT families at these events for affirmation, enrichment and inspiration to make a difference in our children’s lives.
“We hope to deliver an event that our families value as an opportunity to strengthen their ties to the LGBT parenting community and a place where they continue to learn from each other how to navigate the journey of LGBT parenthood,” said Chrisler. “It’s also an opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones and enjoy some much-earned time off with your family.”
I know I speak for the rest of the grateful GLBT parents when I say, “Thanks mom.”
For more information, go to www.familyequality.org/desert
Family Equality Council Hosts Annual Families in the Desert for LGBT Parents and Kids
Out with Mommy proudly presents a contest to win prizes from the upcoming movie Life as We Know It! Entering is easy. Just go to the Out with Mommy Facebook page and “like” it between now and October 11. Then send us the message “Life as We Know It” on Facebook. That”s it! You’re automically entered! Winners will recieve notice via Facebook after Oct. 11.
Win a Safe2Go plush kiddie karacter harness worth $27 courtesy of Baby Sherpa, keeps your child within arm’s reach and features a retractable tether.
Life as We Know It soundtrack CD, featuring Amy Winehouse, The Black Keys, Josh Kelley, Ray LaMontagne, Mozella, and more!”
Here’s what else you can win!
- Diaper Bag with Changing Pad
- Parent Prescription Set: Includes Bottle Opener and 2 Glasses
- Baby Sherpa Safe2go Child Safety Harness
- New Parenting Kit in Tin
- Relaxation Treat – 2.5 oz. of bath salts
- Light- Up Pen
- Post It Notes
- Next Level Tri-Blend Men’s Heather Grey T-shirt
- Ladies Next Level White T-shirt
- Infant T-shirt
Check out the official site
Sign up for WB Insider Rewards
About the Movie
In the romantic comedy “Life as We Know It,” Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is an up-and-coming restaurateur and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is a promising network sports director. After a disastrous blind date, the only thing they have in common is their dislike for each other and their love for their goddaughter, Sophie. But when they suddenly become all Sophie has in the world, Holly and Messer are forced to put their differences aside. Juggling career ambitions and competing social calendars, they’ll have to find some common ground while living under one roof.
“Life as We Know It” is directed by Greg Berlanti from a screenplay by first time feature writers Ian Deitchman & Kristin Rusk Robinson. The film stars Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks and Hayes MacArthur.
The film is produced by Barry Josephson and Paul Brooks, with Denise Di Novi, Scott Niemeyer, Norm Waitt, Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.
The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Andrew Dunn, production designer Maher Ahmad, editor Jim Page, costume designer Debra McGuire and composer Blake Neely.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Gold Circle Films/Josephson Entertainment production, “Life as We Know It.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material, language and some drug content.
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