Six Parents, Two Kids, Let Them Explain

  It started with a gay couple and a lesbian couple joining forces to start a family. In the years since, two more dads have joined the mix. Meet the Thomas-Storey-Jones-Hennin-Napersteck-Silber family. Check out the video of Danielle and Avi Silber, two of our amazing volunteers, below!...

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Why I Stand for Marriage Equality

  Me at the United for Marriage rally in front of the Supreme Court yesterday, March 27th 2013. When my home state of Massachusetts became the first in the United States to allow same-sex marriage in 2004, only around 32 percent of Americans supported marriage equality. Now it is almost 10 years later, and the tide has dramatically changed. The latest polls have support at around 58 percent overall, with more than 81 percent of people ages 18–29 supporting marriage equality. There are also countless leaders in politics, civil society, and the media who are vocal supporters of same-sex marriage. While for some the shift in support may seem like the natural outcome of years of activism, for others it comes as a surprise. And for others, it’s a frustrating development. For me — a young woman whose activism on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people began around the time Massachusetts took that first, bold step — it is nothing short of life changing. I was 14 in the spring of 2004, when Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to LGBT couples. The summer before marked the first time I met another person who had parent(s) like mine. Until the age of 13, I had thought I was the only person with two moms, with the exception of Rosie O’Donnell’s kids. Back then, the young people speaking out about their families were simply not as visible as they are today. Now, there are countless viral videos of inspiring youth sharing their stories — like this or this. Youth (like Cameron and Daniel) are also joining the conversation about the Supreme Court’s consideration of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8. DOMA limits all federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, complicating the lives of many already married same-sex couples and acting as a barrier to greater marriage equality across the country. Proposition 8 defined marriage as being between heterosexual couples through a state constitutional amendment in California. Now an adult — and still advocating for LGBT rights with groups like Amnesty International, COLAGE, andAAUW — I attended the United for Marriage rally in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Being surrounded by people who feel as strongly as I do about marriage equality brought me back to the day when I first met other people with LGBT parents. I was in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for Family Week with COLAGE, a national organization of people with LGBT parents, and we marched down the small town’s central street. At the top of a hill, my moms and I paused. As far as we could see ahead and behind us were LGBT families celebrating the love that brought them together. At that moment, we knew...

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Marcella: the Activist

Coming To Terms by Marcella Caruso My shorts stuck to my legs, my hair was still dripping with sea salt. I took off my dirty flip flops and ran into the house, tracing sand everywhere I went, as if I were Hansel and Gretel, creating a way back to my innocent bliss in the sunshine. * My mom called me in for a family meeting. “We’re separating,” she announced. I wanted to be surprised, but in truth, I wasn’t. My mind started swirling when my thoughts were interrupted. “…it’s because I’m gay.” She started to sweep up the sand I had brought into the house. * “Gay.” The word stung, but I wasn’t sure why. Based on my prior experience with this word, I deduced that it must have a negative meaning. It could be easily inserted with say, “stupid” or “ugly.” I also vaguely remembered the word in a headline above a picture of about twenty people standing outside a building, carrying beat-up signs. They didn’t look happy.  So that was it. My mom was now leaving our perfect family to join this cult of sad-looking people who were called bad names. * I told them my parents were separated.  Some asked if they fought a lot. For a moment, I considered telling the truth. Instead I responded, “I guess you could say that.” And it was over. * I knew what would happen if people found out. I would end up just like that girl from Milton—the one in the newspaper that my mom sat me down to talk about. She was bullied for having two moms. “How does that make you feel? Don’t worry sweetheart, you are very safe, I won’t let anyone hurt you.” What did she know? * “Jimmy, you are such a FAG!” I cringed. There was only a one-letter difference, but the word was infinitely crueler than “gay,” a word I had become more comfortable with. “Did your mom drop you on the head when you were a baby?” I decided I would never tell them the truth. I closed my eyes and sat in isolated silence. * We took a summer vacation to Provincetown. It was Pride Week, but I didn’t know that. My mom put me in a day camp to “meet other kids like me.” She meant kids with gay parents. They made us perform a choreographed song at the show. We chanted, “Queer-spawn, Queer-spawn, we are Queer-spawn!” I mouthed the words. When I got home, I looked up the definitions of queer and spawn: queer: “strange, odd, slightly ill”; spawn: “the eggs of fish, frogs, etc., the product...

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Keep LGBT History in California Schools
Jul29

Keep LGBT History in California Schools

At COLAGE we believe all students deserve to learn about the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. We believe all families should be celebrated in our schools. And we know, thanks to studies published by the GSA Network, that when LGBT people are included in school curriculum all students feel safer at school. The FAIR Education Act requires local school districts in California, with input from parents and teachers, to integrate factual, age-appropriate information about social movements, current events and the contributions of gay and disabled leaders into existing social studies lessons that include contributions of both men and women, people of color and other groups. It also prevents schools from adopting learning materials with a discriminatory bias or negative stereotypes based solely on race, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexual orientation. The FAIR Education Act, SB48, ensures that all students in California will learn about the historic contributions that LGBT people have made to society – history like Harvey Milk’s groundbreaking run for Mayor of San Francisco or Bayard Rustin’s organizing of the Civil Rights march and acting as an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. Now, well-funded anti-gay groups are organizing to put a repeal of the law on the ballot this November meaning once again our families will be under attack and our history erased. You have seen how vicious, anti-gay campaigns like those during Prop 8 increase violence and bullying in schools and in our communities. This campaign is no different, the anti-gay groups are already spreading harmful misinformation about this law. We must work together by sharing our stories with our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family about why it is important to our families to continue including the contributions of LGBT people and all people in accurate history lessons in our schools. Listen to this segment on California Public Radio feartuing Paulo Sibaja, whop filed the paperwork to launch the repeal effort, and Rebekah Orr, Communications Director, Equality California. Southern California Public Radio: FAIR Education Act by COLAGE Take Action: We need your eyes and ears on the ground today. If you spot an anti-LGBT, anti-progressive signature gatherers, report them immediately by calling the toll-free “Decline to Sign Hotline” at 1-877-440-9585. We’ll immediately dispatch a trained “truth squad” to make sure potential petition signers know the truth about these initiatives including the referendum on the FAIR Education Act. We’re working to protect the FAIR Education Act and block this referendum from the ballot as part of a broad coalition of organizations including advocates for people with disabilities, LGBT organizations, labor unions, faith communities, racial justice groups and many other groups that...

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Listen: Nick talks with BBC on Donor Insemination, Lesbian Moms, and COLAGE

BBC Interview with Nick Hetherington, July 2011 Nick’s Story on BBC by COLAGE Nick Hetherington is one of the first known people with lesbian moms to be born through donor insemination. Today he is a leader of the COLAGE NYC chapter, and a wonderful advocate for people with LGBTQ parents. BBC Interview, June 2011 with Nick & his mom Janis Nick and Janis Hetherington by...

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Hannah Has Two Moms!

Hannah Has Two Moms! by COLAGE The New York State legislature passed the historic Marriage Equality Act on June 24th. The Act protects the rights of same-sex couples, and the long-sought change may signal a recognition–and acceptance–of the shifting nature of modern society. WNSR’s Sarah Montague spoke with one family that may become more commonplace. Hannah Moch is a student at Eugene Lang College. She has a sweet, slightly old-fashioned look, like a funky Vermeer painting, and you wouldn’t immediately peg her as a social revolutionary–until you read her T-shirt, which is likely to proclaim that gay marriage is the best kind. And she should know–she is the daughter of two women, Cheryl Moch, and Cheryl Morris, who comment that they gave birth to “a real gay rights activist.” While statistics are scanty–according to the 2000 Census, about 4 to 5 percent of U.S. adults are not heterosexual, and of those, approximately 20 percent are raising children under 18 –anecdotal evidence suggests that non-traditional family units of all kinds are on the rise, and Hannah, in her twenties, is part of the first generation of young adults to be raised by same-sex parents. When Moch and Morris met at UCLA, they knew that they wanted to have and raise a child. And although they are no longer a couple, they have “stayed a family in all the important ways.” All three women talk about their experience...

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