Posts tagged same sex parents

The media circus rolls around again – maybe

Our state is finally changing its laws to recognise female same sex parents of children conceived using donor sperm. The changes won’t apply to same sex couples who adopt a child or to male same sex couples who use a surrogate (those topics are being considered separately) but it’s something.

It will mean that the non-bio mother can be on the birth certificate and that she is automatically assumed to be the child’s legal parent. At the moment, the birth mother has parental status and the non-birth mother has no more legal rights than the postie.

It has never presented a big issue for us, but that’s only because we have been lucky. People have, for the most part, been willing to accept us both as the parents of our children, and to treat us accordingly. When Hunter was in hospital a couple of years ago, Leigh was given the same free access to come and go as I was (though I suppose there would have been an issue had she been there alone and needed to authorise a treatment). At preschool the teachers will discuss issues with either of us and are very comfortable with the idea that Hunter has two mums. Our doctor talks to both of us when we’re there with the kids.

But, like I said, that’s just luck. It will mean so much to actually have leigh’s rights as a parent – and our children’s rights to be acknowledged as having two real and equal parents – ¬†enshrined in law. We won’t have to think about whether I should sign paperwork ‘just in case’ or worry that someone may overrule leigh’s word or restrict her access to our children.

The symbolism of the move is at least as important to me as the practical implications. It recognises a shift in the way society thinks about same sex parents and their children. For those who already support our fight for rights, it is a sweet reward. For those who do not, it’s a nice dose of peer pressure.

So this morning we were forwarded an email from the Rainbow Babies group looking for families prepared to participate in media interviews. We’ve volunteered, as we always do. We’ve featured in several magazines now, so perhaps they’ll want some new faces for this campaign (because we’re, you know, way too famous) but if they want us to share our stories, then we will.

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Getting ready for Mardi Gras

Every year since I was first pregnant with Hunter, we’ve said we’d like to join the Rainbow Babies group in the Mardi Gras parade. Every few months since Hunter arrived, we’ve said we must join one of the Rainbow Babies parenting groups and meet more families like ours.

Every time the list of activities for the month arrives in the email, we say we really should join in this time. And then we never do.

We live in western Sydney and the events are always inner west or eastern Sydney, so they’re a bit out of the way. And we’re socially inept. We know we need to meet other families with same sex parents, but we’re bad at putting ourselves out there in social situations.

A couple of years ago we decided we’d go along to the Rainbow Babies play area at Fair Day (a big mardi gras festival event – unsurprisingly, it’s basically a big, you know, fair). We went along and all the people who were there were in their own little groups. There was nowhere to sit and noone spoke to us.

Eventually we bumped into the one family we know, and sat with them for a bit, but we actually had a weird relationship with them at the time and it was awkward and not fun at all.

That really put us off and since then we’ve been burying our heads in the sand. But lately Hunter’s started asking why she has two mums when all her friends have a mum and a dad. And I think it’s our responsibility to show her that there are other families like hers, even if it means going outside our own comfort zones.

So we signed up to go in the parade this year, and committed to going to the Rainbow Babies picnic on the weekend.

As it turned out, it was pouring rain on the weekend and the picnic was cancelled – but this was a good thing. The organiser said she’d be at a cafe near the original picnic spot¬†if anyone could make it for a quick meeting about the mardi gras entry.

Since we’d finally overcome our inertia we decided we’d go to the meeting. The day was truly awful and so the group was very small – just five adults. This meant we got to meet some new people without trying to fit in with a big group where everyone already knows everyone else, and it means when we do go to a big gathering, we’ll actually know some folk.

As a bonus, it meant we got a very large say in how the mardi gras entry will look and what theme we’ll adopt. And Leigh is doing all the graphic design.

The overall MG theme this year is Brave New World(s?). The Rainbow Babies entry in the parade will be themed Children of the Revolution. The T-Rex song of that name will be playing on a portable sound system and everyone will be wearing hippie-inspired garb and handing the crowd fake flowers made from coloured paper and lollipops.

Leigh’s designed rainbow coloured hearts, flowers, peace symbols and smilie faces for people to print onto iron-on transfer paper or sticker paper, to go onto white t-shirts.

I’m really looking forward to it!

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