Archive for the ‘gay rights’ Category
News about my home state from the my favorite family organization.
FAMILY EQUALITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO ADOPTION DISCRIMINATION IN VIRGINIA AND OTHER STATES
Washington, DC – (Apr. 6, 2011) – Family Equality Council, America’s foremost advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families, today called on Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to support a proposal that would allow prospective parents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to adopt children in Virginia.
“This proposal would create loving homes for many children who are in foster care or who are awaiting placement in foster homes,” said Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council. “Opponents of this measure would have you believe this is about safeguarding traditional family values. For those children who need parents, there is nothing of greater value than the support and love of people who want to make a difference in their lives.”
McDonnell has until April 16 to take action.
Family Equality Council is currently working with Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and other lawmakers on proposed legislation that would eliminate discriminatory adoption practices. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would restrict federal funding to states and child-welfare agencies that discriminate against prospective parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. Chrisler added, “Every day more than 120,000 kids wait to be adopted from the foster care system.
Approximately 2 million LGBT people want to provide homes for those children and lowering the barriers would solve our child welfare crisis.” According to Family Equality Council, there are now more than 1 million LGBT parents raising 2 million children in America today.
From my guilty pleasure, the Levine Breaking News alert:
LBN-COMMENTARY By JACOB BERNSTEIN : In October of 2009, tens of thousands of LGBT people marched on Washington, lambasting President Obama for what they saw to be a totally underwhelming agenda on gay rights. What a difference a year and a half can make. Since that time, when Andrew Sullivan loudly declared that Obama’s speech at a gay rights event was little more than “bullshit…campaign boilerplate,” the president has signed a major hate crimes prevention act, repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, refused to support the Defense of Marriage Act, and now the latest: appointed Jeremy Bernard as the first man and the first openly gay person to be the White House social secretary, replacing Julianna Smoot, who’s leaving to go work on the president’s re-election campaign.
For all of you in LA, this show has a great line up and will raise $ for the fight against Prop H8. Please buy tickets and go if you can. It will be a hilarious show. Remember, Groundlings has been the training ground for some of today’s biggest talent in comedy (famous alumni include Will Ferrell, Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee, Kristen Wiig, Phil Hartman, etc.).
A Special Benefit Performance for Marriage Equality on November 2nd
Los Angeles, CA (October 24, 2010)– The Groundlings Theatre is coming out… for one night only. Join us on Tuesday, November 2nd for a hilarious night of gay-themed sketches and improv as Groundlings Goes Gay for A Good Cause! supports the ongoing fight against Proposition 8.
All of the proceeds from the benefit will go directly to the American Foundation for Equal Rights. The American Foundation for Equal Rights is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights, for every American. Through its groundbreaking federal court case against California’s Proposition 8, The Foundation is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American.
Join Groundlings and Groundlings alumni Tim Bagley, Jordan Black, Patrick Bristow, Stephanie Courtney, Rachael Harris, Mike Hitchcock, David Jahn, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Charlotte Newhouse, Jeremy Rowley, Lisa Schurga, Mitch Silpa, Alex Staggs and special guests. Karen Murayama directs this special performance.
The Groundlings will be gay for one night only
– Tuesday, November 2nd at 8:00pm. Tickets are $50.00, cocktails will be provided and 100% of proceeds go towards the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Tickets are available at the box office or via phone at (323) 934-4747 ext. 37. The Groundlings Theatre is located at 7307 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles.
For more information or to purchase tickets online, please visit www.Groundlings.com.
Posted October 13, 2010on:
Fun, games and activism were the order of the weekend at the annual Families in the Desert event, as sponsored by Family Equality Council on October 8-10 in Palm Desert, Calif.,
Held at the Embassy Suites Palm Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., the event, now in its fifth year, resembled a summer camp for LGBT families, where family meals, pool games, movie night, BBQ and s’mores, an African animals safari and other activities brought together 60 families from San Diego, Los Angeles, and across the West Coast to meet other families like theirs, enjoy fun family activities and learn how to get involved in their community and make a difference in the lives of LGBT families.
At the annual State of the Movement address, Family Equality Council executive director Jennifer Chrisler updated families on current laws and policies affecting LGBT families and the efforts by FEC to lobby for fairness for our families. Christer urged parents to become activists, even though she understands why many parents are hesitant.
“There’s a tendency of LGBT parents to want to normalize our lives for our children. We don’t want them to experience thier childhood differently from other children who do not have LGBT parents. But then we are forgetting our jobs as parents, which is to make the world a better place for our kids,” she said.
Family Equality Council is living proof that charity begins in the home, as the group continues to grow in size and stature as the number of LGBT families continues to grow. Currently FEC boasts a staff of 14 and an annual budget of $2 million, earning Chrisler and LGBT families a place at the table with the heavy hitters of the LGBT movement as issues of LGBT parents and their children become part of the mainstream of the LGBT movement.
Editor’s Note: I know this is supposed to be encouraging news, considering where we’ve come from, but I still have to wonder what’s up with that remaining percent who oppose somebody else’s choice of a partner with whom to join into a committment. Why do they care?)
From the LBN Alert:
Fewer than half of Americans oppose legalized same-sex marriage, according to a new poll on the issue released Wednesday, with significant shifts in public opinion on the issue just since last year. More Americans continue to oppose gay marriage than support it, according to the poll, which was released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. But for the first time since Pew starting asking about same sex marriage 15 years ago; fewer than half of those polled said they oppose legalizing the institution.
From the Family Equality Blog and Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler, a tireless leader in the movement for rights of LGBT families.
Posted by Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director in June 1st 2010
Gay parenting is taking off in America. Thirty-one percent of same-sex couples are raising children compared with 43 percent of straight couples, according to 2008 census data. More than half of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians say they want to have a child.
While LGBT parenting is nothing new, there is no doubt that it is making its way into pop culture like never before. A CNN documentary set to air this month, “Gary and Tony Have a Baby,” follows a married couple throughout the surrogacy process. Modern Family and Glee are two hit shows this TV season highlighting gay families, and the soon-to-be-released the film, The Kids Are All Right, is the tale of two lesbian moms played by Julianne Moore and Annette Benning.
The mainstream inclusion of the LGBT family has begun. And that’s a good thing.
But we have a ways to go to show that LGBT parents are like straight parents. The optics of two dads or two moms remains startling to many, but is slowly becoming a non-event to others. It is up to us as LGBT parents to define the images and perception of parenting (and not let those opposed, or those who are not experts, do it for us). We speak a common language with other parents about hugs and homework, about bedtime and bath time. This is my call to all LGBT parents: become visible, tell your story. This is the only sure-fire way of shaping people’s attitudes.
We also must pay attention to the perception of parenting within the LGBT community. Many LGBT people in their 20s and 30s—and older—either think parenting is too difficult—or they don’t even think about it. Parenting has not been part of the community’s social fabric. We need to change this. As the one million LGBT people raising two millions children can attest, it is doable—and is absolutely worth it.
And needed. There are half a million kids currently in the U.S. foster care system, 120,000 of whom are available for adoption. Dr. Gary Gates of the Williams Institute projects that the number of LGBT people wanting to adopt far exceeds the number of kids waiting to be adopted. (Family Equality Council has made significant progress on drafting and gaining support for federal legislation aimed at loosening restrictions on LGBT adoption).
My work fortunately allows me—encourages me, really—to shout from the rooftops about how proud I am of my two amazing boys and my entire family. Family Equality’s family programming reaches thousands of families, and, this summer, we will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Family Week in Provincetown, the annual gathering place for LGBT families. Because of this event, we have taught more than 1,000 thousand families how to be ambassadors of our movement.
Despite our hectic schedules, I think we as LGBT parents have a responsibility to be involved in the making of our own history—the history of the parents’ (and prospective parents’) movement. There’s no question in my mind we’re crossing, or may have just crossed, the first serious threshold toward greater acceptance of the LGBT family. So, this is the time to get engaged. Let’s keep this newly-minted momentum going.
National Organization Awards 25 New Scholarships to its Most Diverse Group Yet;
All Finalists Receive Honorarium
LOS ANGELES, JUNE 10, 2010 - Point Foundation (Point) (www.thepointfoundation.org), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students of merit, today announced its 2010 Scholar Class.
After an extensive six-month selection process, Point chose this year’s diverse group of 25 undergraduate and graduate Point Scholarship recipients from more than 1,641 completed applications. Additionally, each of the 11 finalists not becoming Point Scholars received a $500 honorarium to recognize their accomplishments.
“Our 25 new scholars are making a difference in the community, having logged over 5,000 service hours benefitting LGBT causes and organizations across the United States,” commented Jorge Valencia, executive director and CEO, Point Foundation. “We are proud of all our scholars and equally proud of those individuals who made it to the finals. Their level of public involvement speaks to our commitment that Point Scholars are making a difference within the LGBT community.”
The new class of scholars is the most diverse yet in terms of age range, race and gender identity and/or expression. New Point Scholars range in age from 17 to 45 years old and people of color represent 36% of the new class. For the first time, Point will have more new female scholars (44%, up from 36% in 2009) than either male or other gender identities. The new class will also have the largest number of transgender/gender-variant individuals in Point’s history (28%, up from 18% in 2009). Finally, thirty-six percent of Point’s new scholars were raised in rural environments.
“At Point, we recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion and are committed to providing a supportive and enriching environment for all our Point Scholars,” said Vincent Garcia, program director, Scholar Relations & Selections, Point Foundation.
The national organization provides financial support, leadership training, mentoring and hope to LGBT individuals who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression. In June 2010, a total of 66 Point Scholars will be supported in their respective colleges or universities and 96 Point Alumni will continue to pursue their life goals.
Point partners with a number of individuals and corporations in providing named scholarship awards, which are created to honor an individual or corporation. Named scholarship donors pledge a major gift of $100,000, or $25,000 per year for four years, to cover the costs associated with becoming a Point Scholar.
New named scholarships in the 2010-11 year include Joan R. Heller, Johnson & Johnson, Phyllis Mandler & Gary Elden, Point Honors Los Angeles, Point Honors New York, Rand Skolnick and an additional Wells Fargo scholarship. Current named scholarships created to honor an individual or corporation include: Allan Gilmour & Eric Jirgens, Bob Fennell, Bryan L. Knapp, Calamus Foundation, Casey Sakir, Gregory Grosh, HBO, Jan Aronson, Dr. Joan Shelley W. Fernandez, Jonathan D. Lewis, Kevin Hummer, Lawrence King/Jeffrey Fashion Cares, Minton-Spidell, Paul W. Speier, Thomas & Sara Branton, Time Warner, University of Phoenix, Walter M. Decker and Wells Fargo.
Since its inception in 2001, Point Foundation has expanded into an organization with a staff of 12 full-time and part-time employees and an annual budget of $2.25 million, as well as an endowment of more than $3 million.
Introducing the incoming class of 2010 Point Scholars (Named scholarships noted with an asterisk):
*Kay Adam, Minneapolis, MN, pursuing a BS in Economics, Augsburg College (Wells Fargo Point Scholarship)
*Jody L. Andrade, Baltimore, MD pursuing a BS in Nursing, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (Paul W. Speier Point Scholarship)
*Krystal Banzon, Fontana, CA, pursuing an MPS in Interactive Telecommunications (Theater Directing emphasis) at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University (Dr. Joan Shelley W. Fernandez Point Scholarship)
*Derek Blechinger, Minneapolis, MN, pursuing MD and MPH degrees, University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle) (Rand Skolnick Point Scholarship)
*Natalie Brilmyer, Sewickley, PA, pursing a BFA in Fashion Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Phyllis Mandler & Gary Elden Point Scholarship)
Brian Casebolt, Mansfield, TX, pursuing an MBA at Tuck School of Business Management, Dartmouth College
*Cara Cerise, Salt Lake City, UT, pursuing a BS in Sociology, Westminster College (Phyllis Mandler & Gary Elden Point Scholarship)
*Gene de Haan, Portland, OR, pursuing MD and MPH degrees at the San Francisco School of Medicine, University of California (Johnson & Johnson Point Scholarship)
*Rhys Ernest, Chapel Hill, NY, pursuing an MFA in Film Arts and Video, Cal Arts (HBO Point Scholarship)
*Matt Hansen, El Dorado, AR, pursuing a BA, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (Time Warner Point Scholarship)
*Michael Henriquez, Bronx, NY, pursuing a BSW in Social Work at the Silver School of Social Work, New York University (Bob Fennell Point Scholarship)
*Kyle Inselman, Boulder, CO, pursuing a BFA in Film Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder (Wells Fargo Point Scholarship)
*Ashland Johnson, Athens, GA, pursuing a JD in Law, University of Georgia Law School (Joan R. Heller Point Scholarship)
Alexia Kortiz, Riverside, CT, pursuing a JD in Law, Yale Law School
Derek Livermont, Forsyth, MT, pursuing a BS in Business, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Katie Miller, Findlay, OH, pursuing a BS in Sociology, Yale University
Sarah E. Pellegrine, Madison, MS, pursuing a BSW in Social Work and a BS in Sociology, Mississippi State University
Mallory Price, Tinley Park, IL, pursuing an AM in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Jacob Rostovsky, Los Angeles, CA, pursuing a BA in Psychology, California State University, Northridge
Jenni Smith, Jackson, MS, pursuing an MA in Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Mary Susman, Omaha, NE, pursuing a BA in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Jacob Tobia, Cary, NC, pursuing a BA in Political Science/Government, Duke University
Kara Toles, Clute, TX, pursuing an MD at the Davis School of Medicine, University of California
Preston Whitt, Decatur, AL, pursuing a BA in International Affairs focusing on Latin America and Spanish, The George Washington University
Tatiana Young, Austin, TX, pursuing an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
For additional information on Point Foundation, please visit: http://www.pointfoundation.org.
Hi-res photos are available upon request.
About Point Foundation
Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students of merit. Point provides financial support, leadership training, mentoring and hope to LGBT individuals who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Point provides its scholars with the financial ability to attend the nation’s foremost higher educational institutions, its mentors with the singular opportunity to become role models to exceptional students, and its donors with the rare satisfaction of directly investing their resources in future generations of leaders.
Point Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization.
I’ll be attending a screening of this “In America” report by Soledad O’Brien and Jarrett Barrios in LA tomorrow, followed by a panel discussion. Hopefully it will be positive and not too sensational, though the trailer certainly is hyping the controversial aspects. It will air on CNN June 24 at 8 p.m. ET.
Gay couple sues over birth certificate
By GRANT SCHULTE , Des Moines Register, May 14, 2010
A same-sex couple married in Des Moines last year has filed a lawsuit against two state health department officials, after the department refused to name both women on their daughter’s birth certificate.
Heather Lynn Martin Gartner, 38, and Melissa McCoy Gartner, 39, filed the Polk County lawsuit last week on behalf of their second child, who was born in September.
The couple argues that the birth certificate – which lists only Heather Gartner, the biological mother – incorrectly labels their daughter Mackenzie as a child born out of wedlock.
The Iowa Department of Public Health in March rejected the couple’s request on grounds that Melissa Gartner had not legally adopted Mackenzie and was not biologically related.
Iowa Department of Public Health Director Tom Newton, who is named in the lawsuit, said in a statement Thursday that his office will fight the claim. Newton said current state law only allows the name of a “husband” to appear on birth certificates when the mother is married, unless a judge grants parental rights to someone else.
Newton said naming a lesbian couple as parents without a legal adoption could jeopardize the rights of a biological father.
Iowa birth certificate laws “expressly recognize the biological reality that women and men each play a distinct but equally necessary role in human reproduction and have corresponding rights, duties and obligations to their child,” according to a Department of Health letter sent to the Gartners’ attorneys.
The lawsuit was filed little more than a year after the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a state law that defined marriage as a union between man and woman. The decision, Varnum vs. Brien, legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa and ignited a political debate.
About a dozen married same-sex Iowa couples have encountered similar problems with birth certificates, said Camilla Taylor, a Chicago attorney for the gay-rights group Lambda Legal, which helped file the lawsuit. Taylor, who helped argue the Varnum case, said the department’s denial “invites discrimination against those children” who are born to married gay and lesbian couples.
The lawsuit claims, for example, that Melissa Gartner could have trouble enrolling Mackenzie in child care, authorizing medical treatment or filing a missing person report with police.
The Gartners conceived their first child, son Zachary, through an anonymous sperm donor before the Varnum decision, according to the lawsuit.
Heather Gartner gave birth to Zachary in February 2007, and Melissa Gartner was added as a parent through an “expensive, intrusive, and laborious” adoption, the suit states.
The couple married in June 2009, after gay marriage became legal, according to the lawsuit. Heather Gartner gave birth to Mackenzie in September, and the Gartners filed for a birth certificate.
In November, the health department allegedly sent the couple a certificate that omitted Melissa Gartner as a parent.
The couple’s lawyer requested a birth certificate with both names, according to the lawsuit, but was rejected on grounds that the department would not place the name of a “non-birthing lesbian spouse” on the certificate unless Melissa Gartner adopted the child.
The lawsuit also names Jill France, chief of the state bureau of vital statistics, as a defendant. France has a job within the health department under Newton.
The Gartners asked a judge to declare the department’s refusal a violation of their equal-protection and due process rights, and to order a corrected birth certificate. They also seek an order to have the state pay their legal costs.
“This disparate treatment denies Mackenzie the dignity, legitimacy, security, support and protections available to children of married different-sex parents,” the lawsuit states.
The Iowa attorney general’s office will represent Newton and France in court, spokesman Bob Brammer said.
Through their attorneys, the Gartners declined several interview requests.
Staff writer Jason Clayworth contributed to this report.
Unbelieveable this was still on the books!
Assembly Oks Change to Gay ‘Cure’ law
STATE: Legislation from 1950 had labeled homosexuals as sexual deviants, sought study.
By Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press
Posted: 04/26/2010 09:07:21 PM PDT
SACRAMENTO – A vote in the California Assembly on Monday to modify a 60-year-old law that classified gays as sexual deviants reopened a little-known chapter of social history in a state long known as a leader for gay rights.
In 1950, the state Legislature directed the Department of Mental Health (then known as the Department of Mental Hygiene) to conduct research into the causes and potential cures of homosexuality. The law was part of a larger investigation into sexual deviance.
It classified gays as sexual deviants and required the state to conduct research to find the causes of sex crimes against children. One research paper from the era completed as a result of the law noted that gays might “engage in criminal aggressive behavior” as they strive to “overcome strong homosexual drives.”
The 80-member Assembly voted 62-0 to modify the law, removing all references to homosexuals in the provision that calls for research. It now goes to the state Senate.
“It’s time to get this phony cure off the books,” said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who is gay.
Supporters say change was long overdue. The law was written in 1950 in reaction to a series of sex crimes, including the molestation and murder of a 6-year-old girl in Los Angeles.
Its author, Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal of Long Beach, originally proposed an outright repeal, but some lawmakers wanted to retain language that encourages research into the causes of sex crimes against children.
“The result will be the law as it should have been written 60 years ago, but now we’re setting it right,” Lowenthal said.
The law was brought to her attention by Equality California, one of the leading gay rights groups in the state.
“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice any more than one’s height, and neither can be changed,” said Geoff Kors, the group’s executive director.
California has not conducted research on the cause of homosexuality for decades, but it released reports on the topic in the 1950s. At the time, the state directed the Langley Porter Clinic at UC San Francisco to begin the investigation.
According to a progress report from 1951 titled “Sexual Deviation Research,” the state Legislature appropriated $100,000 for two years of research into the causes and cures of sex crimes. Curing homosexuality was meant to be part of that research.
While the reports released in the early 1950s did not determine a cause or cure for homosexuality, they included passages that revealed the prevailing scientific attitudes at the time.
“Passive, effeminate youths in attempting to assert themselves and to overcome strong homosexual drives may engage in criminal aggressive behavior,” wrote Karl M. Bowman, former medical superintendent of the Langley Porter Clinic at UCSF. “There is also the danger that overt homosexuals, ordinarily harmless and friendly, may in their hunt for partners be attracted to latent homosexuals who both desire and fear homosexual expressions. Relations of this kind may end in atrocities and homicide …”
Bowman wrote that he arranged for scientists at the steroid laboratory of the UCLA School of Medicine to study hormone levels in the urine and blood of homosexuals. It’s unclear whether the study was completed.
“A great many studies have indicated some endocrine imbalance in homosexuals,” Bowman wrote in the 1951 report. “The object of one study is to determine whether an imbalance between male and female hormonal substances exist.”
The Langley Porter Clinic continued to release reports over the next few years. Their research also aimed to determine the disposition of convicted sex offenders, the characteristics of victims of sex crimes and whether sex offenders were more likely to be married, single, widowed or divorced.
A review of those reports, which are housed in the California State Library, revealed few findings about homosexuality.
Posted April 19, 2010on:
By Colin Fernandez
Last updated at 11:20 PM on 19th April 2010
This is the birth certificate that leaves the father off the official record for the first time in nearly 200 years.
It shows only a mother and a ‘parent’ – also a woman – for newly-born Lily-May Betty Woods.
The baby was born to 38-yearold Natalie Woods. The parent named on the form is Miss Woods’s partner, 47-year-old Betty Knowles.
There is no mention of the father, or donor, as the couple prefer to call the anonymous man whose sperm provided half of Lily-May’s genes through IVF treatment.
It is thought to be the first recorded birth to two lesbians since a recent change in the law.
Birth certificates were introduced 170 years ago and have always recorded the mother and father, if known.
The 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act paved the way for them for the first time to record two mothers – to the dismay of many Christian groups and campaigners for traditional family values.
Until the law changed same sex couples could not put both of their names down for a child conceived by a donor.
But the Act meant that children conceived after April 1 last year to same sex couples are entitled to have a birth certificate listing ‘mother and parent’.
Traditional male and female couples continue to have birth certificates that list ‘mother and father’.
Lily-May was born weighing 7lb 8oz on March 31 in a birthing pool at the terrace home Miss Woods and Miss Knowles share with two cats in Brighton.
Brighton Register Office told them they were the first to record a birth under the new legislation.
Miss Woods said she and Miss Knowles wanted to make ‘the historical moment’ public.
The couple, who intend to have another child, have agreed that as Lily-May grows up she will call Miss Woods Mummy, while Miss Knowles will be ‘Mama B’.
They also say their employers have been ‘very understanding’. Miss Woods works for a Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender counselling service while Miss Knowles is a delivery driver.
She has had two weeks of what is still known as ‘paternity leave’ and two further weeks of parental leave.
The couple have been together for 15 years, are engaged and expect to have a civil partnership in the near future. Miss Woods said: ‘We knew we wanted a child and that we were going to be together for ever. The only option was either through a donor or adoption, but It felt important to me to have a biological child.’
The couple selected the father from a choice of four. The men’s names were not given to them, but they were told details about their medical history and that of their parents.
They spent around £7,000 on IVF treatment as gay couples are not entitled to it on the NHS.
When Lily-May is 18 she will be entitled, if she wishes, to discover who supplied the sperm.
Miss Woods said: ‘We don’t even think of him as a father. He’s a donor, not a father.’
As to whether Lily-May will lack a male role model, Miss Woods says they have many male friends.
Lily-May has no contact with her grandparents on Miss Woods’s side as they do not accept their daughter’s sexuality. Miss Knowles’s parents have both died.
But the couple say they count many older women among their friends who are already like ‘grannies’ to Lily-May.
Miss Woods added: ‘A child needs unconditional love and that is what Betty and I offer Lily-May in spades.’