About LGBT Family Building: A Conversation
As many of you know, our featured blogger Lisa Rosenthal contributes to our community in many ways. In addition to her posts here on PathtoFertility, she is founder and teacher of our Fertile Yoga classes and she blogs elsewhere, among other things. Her posts appear on Fertility Authority's website and the following post published recently on Gay Parenting Voices, the official blog at GayParentsToBe.com. GayParentsToBe is a partnership with RMACT, whose entire practice is dedicated to providing excellent fertility treatment and cutting edge assisted reproductive technology to same-sex couples looking to start a family. Read below for what Lisa had to say about LGBT family building. *****************************************
When I was ready for a baby, getting pregnant was a much bigger ordeal than I ever could have imagined. It cost more financially and emotionally than my husband and I were in any way prepared to handle. While the financial cost was tremendously challenging, the emotional cost was far greater. Especially when it came to relationships and what one could and could not expect.
One thing that astounded me over and over again were the kind of comments made by family, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers. I made a list of things that I never wanted to hear again, in regards to my family building. I also made a list of things that I found were comforting and helpful to say. I made copies of these lists and handed them out liberally and literally. Those lists became lifesavers for my friends and I. Those lists helped preserve relationships. Those lists are updated periodically and are a top read on PathtoFertility.
I learned that people don’t always mean to say insensitive, hurtful things and that given the choice, education and information, they could learn to say things that were meaningful and soothing. Putting that time and effort into making a list helped me define the things that hurt me right to the core and things that I found silly and irrelevant. Some things I heard, over time, even made me laugh. Exploring my own reactions helped me learn that “I’m sorry” is always welcome when the alternative is to try to give advice or fix a situation that is not fixable in that moment.
Each of us hears things differently. I know that any comment that had to do with god was not going to go well with me. I believe in being respectful, to the best of my ability, and that includes not inflicting my version of god on you. I expect and invite that same respect back. So comments that had to do with god’s will or intentions or desires for me were particularly not well received. What I also learned was that I was not alone in hearing these types of comments. Well-meant, well-intentioned most of the time (and sometimes not), anyone on a path that strayed from the married, heterosexual couple having sex and creating a baby was subject to uncomfortable and hurtful comments.
Here’s my question to you about LGBT Family Building:
*What questions and comments have you gotten while trying to create your family?
*Are there some particular dis-favorites that you have heard and wish you hadn’t?
*Are you willing to share them so that we can offer some comfort to others going through this?
It’s our intention at GayParentstoBe to create a series of blogs about comments that are not helpful as well as those comments with which you felt supported and comforted.
Please share with us some of the comments that you’ve heard about LGBT Family Building. It can be hard to do; I know that. To dig up these comments that cut right to the core doesn’t necessarily feel good. We’re not asking you to do so for anyone’s entertainment or amusement. We’re asking you to do so to help support someone else going through this. Chances are that someone else has heard those comments as well. There’s some comfort right there, in knowing that you are not alone. And you are definitely not alone. We want everyone out there to remember that.
Consider, too, the person out there who would like to be supportive, loving and compassionate and simply does not know how to express that to you. Let’s help them out. Let’s tell them what hurts and what soothes. Let’s let them help us.
We can do this better. All of us. I’m all in.
What about you?
Please join the conversation about negative comments heard regarding LGBT Family Building. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below or with this post on our Facebook page. We are encouraging as many people as possible to participate. Stay tuned for a blog post chronicling actual responses and how to respond to negativity.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Supreme Court Debates the Meaning of Family
It's all about family this week.
All the way to the Supreme Court, it's about families.
There are very few places you can go without seeing red equal signs. Maybe you have seen them on Facebook. Maybe you're not on Facebook and haven't seen them.
What do the red equal signs mean? What do they stand for?
The Human Right's Campaign, dedicated to advocating and supporting LGBT rights and marriage for all, started the buzz and it has taken off like a wild fire.
Prop 8 and DOMA In the Supreme Court
Yesterday, the Supreme Court was deliberating about California’s Proposition 8, which bans the right for same-sex couples to marry. Today, arguments will be heard regarding the national Defense of Marriage Act, which has legally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman since 1996.
The LGBT community supports being able to be married. To create their own families, legally and with the rights of heterosexual couples. Many have the same desire that heterosexual couples do, to have children. To have those children, often times using fertility treatment, protected legally as any other child is.
I read over and over yesterday about how simple this is. Because my Facebook page, it was covered in red equal signs and the conversation was that this should be a slam dunk, done, right thing to do.
Maybe it should be that simple. But it isn't. I get that one side of this is that this is the morally correct thing to do for our country.
The other side of the issue is that it is not the morally correct thing to do.
Regardless of what side you are on, the point of even having sides means that it's not simple. Simple would mean not caring about bringing people together in peaceful agreement. Simple would mean getting what I want and not caring about what the other side wants. Simple would mean no more discussion on how to find ways to talk to each other when we disagree.
This isn't a simple issue, not if we want to find peace with one another.
Let's care about the issue enough to continue the conversations, respectfully, with regard to the other point of view. Let's not be dismissive.
Because if we are dismissive, then we create further divisions between us.
Families are about love. That does seem like a simple enough place to start and continue a conversation.
Same-Sex Couples Raising Children
The CBS Evening News reported in June 2012 that data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates the number of same-sex couples raising children is on the rise. In fact, it's more than doubled in the last decade. As a child, I had two loving parents, both of whom I am tremendously grateful to--what loving human beings they were and are. I had two sets of grandparents who were a part of the fabric of my growing up. And then there was Seth. My mother's younger brother. Very bright--very, very bright. Socially conscious. Loved the theatre, opera, arts, musicals, literature. So bright. Drove a motorcycle. Had an apartment in the East Village in New York City. Traveled all the normal places and then all the places that some of us only dream about. Doted on my sisters and me. And we all adored him: my gay uncle.
LGBT Family Building Options
Families are born every day. And children are loved and supported and need more than just their parents. Would Seth have made the decision to become a father if he was young today? LGBT family building options are increasingly selected by gay men and lesbians who want to become solo parents or to create two dad or two mom families. I'm certainly grateful for my uncle's role in my life. He has been an amazing support and influence.
My Memories and Gratitude
I'm not aware that my uncle ever wanted children. We are very close and I think I would know. Or maybe he was just content with the children that he had: my sisters and I. He was hugely influential in my growing up. He was a great champion of me when the typical and normal divisions existed between my parents and myself. He understood things that I was willing to tell him because he was not my parent--or my friend, or my grandparent, or my teacher. He understood all the things I wasn't willing to tell him. He just knew. He was Seth. And he understood everything, including much of what I never had to say out loud.
Seth never had children of his own but we were his children. If he had wanted to become a father, like so many gay men who are building families today, he would have been an incredible one. How honored I have been to be his neice and how lucky I have been to have had him in my life. Thank you Seth . . . and Scot.