Mombian

  • What a year. It’s tempting, in a year-end wrap-up, to put a big bow on what we put a ring on and call it a day. While marriage brought us many advances, however, it also highlighted other issues that we still need to tackle in order to bring full equality and inclusion to LGBTQ parents and our children.

  • My mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, and so end-of-life issues are much on my mind. When she passes—a straight, cisgender woman—she will be buried next to my father under a common gravestone, with the name she prefers. Our family will honor both her individual identity and the life she and my father created together. Not all LGBT people can expect the same, however, as several recent incidents have reminded us.

  • A news story has been circulating about a Michigan pediatrician who, “after much prayer,” refused to care for a newborn because the baby had two moms. It’s a story of personal discrimination and ignorance — but also indicates systemic problems.

  • A recent report from UCLA’s Williams Institute on the state of research about LGB families not only reiterates that our children are doing as well as anyone else’s, but also offers some lesser-known insights about the composition and strengths of our families—and gives thoughtful suggestions for the direction of future research.

  • Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a prime example of how not to please anyone when it comes to LGBTQ representation in children’s media. After enormous hoopla over the first gay character in a Disney film — who would have, director Bill Condon said, an “exclusively gay moment”—the moment was too brief and inconclusive for me as a queer person to celebrate. At the same time, the mere announcement of a gay character inflamed many conservatives.

  • 2016 is a presidential election year, so let’s get in the mood for politics by catching up with some elected officials who are also LGBTQ parents.

  • Did 2014 bring LGBTQ parents and our children closer to equality? Most visibly, it was the year that marriage equality spread to most of the U.S.—a great thing for many families, but certainly not all that happened.

  • I spent last week at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Chicago, joining 4,000 activists from across the spectrum, of all ages, colors, and backgrounds, to learn, network, and plan for the future. Here’s a look at some of the family-related highlights I observed.

  • Marriage equality has dominated the LGBT news headlines for the past few weeks, but marriage shouldn't be the only right we think about when it comes to protecting our families. Different-sex parents are not required to marry in order for both to be recognized as legal parents. It should be the same for same-sex couples. Several judges and lawyers have shown recently, however, that they may not understand that.

  • It’s Pride Month once again, which means that I am once again inspired to take stock of what I’m proud of this year. As always, my son tops the list. He’s finishing elementary school this month, which seems incredible, not because I ever doubted he’d do it, but because it seems just yesterday that I was taking him to kindergarten. He’s developing his own interests and talents and is almost as tall as I am now (not that that really takes much; any height he has comes from his donor).

  • A new project by two daughters of gay dads aims to reveal a part of history that has rarely been told before: the stories of people like themselves who lost parents to AIDS.

  • As President Barack Obama ends eight years in office, let’s reflect on what he and his administration have done to advance understanding of and equality for LGBTQ parents and our children.

  • President Barack Obama is the man in the middle, caught between the White House aspirations of two of his closest advisers: Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  • My family parties from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. I’m Jewish, my spouse is Protestant (though neither of us is particularly observant), and my family of origin has always celebrated Thanksgiving as our biggest family gathering, which means we start with turkey and pies at the end of November and don’t stop making merry until we raise our champagne glasses on January 1. This year, the first night of Hanukkah was also Christmas Eve, creating a combined celebration the likes of which we hadn’t seen since the great Thanksgivukkah conjunction of 2013.

  • Thanksgiving is here, and I’m thinking about what we as an LGBTQ community have to be thankful for lately. Recent news has been rather sobering.

  • The year 2013 saw tremendous progress in marriage equality, which is a wonderful thing — but it also comes with the risk that we think our gains in marriage are sufficient to protect ourselves and our families. Here, then, are four things for LGBT parents and our allies to focus on as we advocate for our families in 2014.

  • One of the secret parenting tricks my spouse and I used to teach our son to like camping was to ensure that we had s’mores — those gooey confections of toasted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers — by the campfire every night.

  • The groundbreaking coming-out episode of Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom “Ellen,” saw its 20th anniversary this past week. DeGeneres’ pioneering role as the first out actor and character to head a television series is worth celebrating in itself—but it’s also worth noting that her show gave us one of best representations up to that time of an LGBTQ parent and their child on TV. Let’s look at what she did and at some of the previous portrayals.

  • In one of my son’s favorite video games, an artificial intelligence system promises the player cake if she completes various challenges. As the player proceeds through the game, however, she finds graffiti claiming “The cake is a lie,” and it becomes clear that the AI is stringing her along with malicious intent.

  • June 26 is an auspicious date. Not only did the U.S. Supreme Court issue its marriage equality decision on that day in 2015, but 20 years ago, on June 26, 1997, the world first learned of a boy named Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione.

  • I played the original Dungeons & Dragons game in high school, back in the early 80s. I’ve been delighted to see it is experiencing a resurgence — and capturing my son's interest as well. A recent encounter made me love the game, and the company behind it, even more.

  • I was among the first generation of kids to see the original “Star Wars” movie in 1977. I was 10 then, and when the third installment rolled around six years later, I was waiting in line for hours with friends at the local theater on opening day. I’ll be seeing “The Force Awakens” with my own son this week, and have been reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned from the series and what it has meant to me.

  • I love LGBTQ History Month almost more than I love Pride Month. Going to grad school in history will do that. Keeping in mind the truism “History is written by the victors” and philosopher George Santayana’s observation, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” I find there’s something about looking at our queer past that feels empowering and vital.

  • May was National Museum Month, and LGBTQ families have a growing source of support in museums—including ones aimed at children—that have been reaching out to welcome all kinds of families. Margaret Middleton, a Boston-based designer, speaker, and consultant, has been a leader in helping to make this happen.

  • February, despite being the shortest month, is often a hard one. Where I live, any day might be a snow day, with my son home from school and the sidewalks needing to be shoveled. The usual routine of laundry and groceries and dinner doesn’t stop. In recent weeks, too, I have been distracted by the news stories of a government chipping away at the rights of LGBTQ people, immigrants, and others. How not to be overwhelmed by it all? Here are some of stories about LGBTQ families making February just a bit warmer.

  • A mother cries today. She looks out over the shores to which she beckoned huddled masses, and wonders if they will ever regain their welcome aura. She knows, too, that though she stands as a beacon to the homeless and tempest-tost, she also represents something more: liberty for all those who dwell on the lands she surveys, sea to shining sea. But today, she cannot hold her head up as once she did.

  • Everyone’s first week on the job should be like Stan Sloan’s. The new executive director of Family Equality Council, the national organization for LGBTQ families, began the role on the first day of Family Week in Provincetown, the organization’s signature event and the world’s largest gathering of LGBTQ families.

  • When I learned of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, my own son was in elementary school, and I was shaken to the core. He is in middle school now, and the Orlando massacre has shaken me again. The victims this time were not young children—but they were all someone’s children.

  • My Facebook feed has been stuffed with photos of parents and children decked out in rainbow gear, smiling and waving as they head out for their local Pride celebrations. My own family celebration was more muted—my spouse was away on business, and our son was immersed in end-of-year school projects. Still, I can’t help reflecting on what we LGBTQ parents have to be proud of over the past year.

  • I had a good time poking fun at the plagiarism and grandstanding of the Republican Convention, as did many of my left-leaning friends. My amusement quickly turned sober, however. The fact remains that the 2016 GOP platform directly targets LGBTQ families and LGBTQ youth.

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