Striking Animated Video Features Hillary Clinton, Urges Adoption of LGBT Rights in United Arab Emirates: VIDEO
Check out this very cool video from LGBT Rights UAE, a non-governmental organization that strives to raise awareness about the issues that face The LGBT community in the United Arab Emirates, detailing the persecution faced by LGBT people in the region and featuring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's landmark address to the UN on the issue.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Scissor Sisters are Wendy Williams' kind of people, so she invited them down for her season premiere.
Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
BY JOHN WELTMAN
John Weltman is the president and founder of Circle Surrogacy and an expert in assisted reproductive technology law. He and his husband are the fathers of two sons, 18 and 17, through surrogacy. They were the first in America to have two children through surrogacy, one for each dad through the same surrogate mom.
Television has come a long way in representing gay characters. In May, Joe Biden said, in discussing marriage equality, that “Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anybody’s ever done so far.”
NBC’s The New Normal, which premiered last night, is the next chapter. The storyline focuses on gay characters becoming parents through surrogacy.
The subject is close to my heart. After seventeen years of helping parents have children through surrogacy, I can tell you that the show gets some things right. And it gets some things very wrong.
In the pilot, we meet David, a football-watching doctor, and Bryan, his fashion-obsessed partner, who want to have a baby. Let’s leave aside discussion of hackneyed gay stereotypes. More dangerously, Bryan’s fondness for nice things is likened to his desire to have a child. “Oh my God, that is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” he gasps at a baby at the mall. “I must have it.”
Okay, it’s a sitcom and Bryan has some of the funniest lines. But no couple, gay or straight, considers surrogacy because they want “to have baby clothes. And a baby to wear them.” Becoming parents is the biggest step a couple can take together. It requires thoughtful consideration and contemplation. Anyone who told me they wanted to have a baby for their clothes would be shown the door!
Here’s where The New Normal gets things right: the episode opens on a misty-eyed Bryan speaking to his future child: “This video is to show you … how desperately you were wanted.”
Those who choose surrogacy do so because they want, more than anything, to have a child. Whether they are an infertile straight couple, or a gay couple who have gathered resources for years, there is no question that surrogacy is not something you take lightly. When contrasted with the way generations of parents in Goldie’s family have had children by accident, those who pursue surrogacy for the right reasons will make some of the best parents—in part because it requires such careful thought and planning.
In the episode, we learn of a simple process of clicking though the “stunning models” in the “platinum” egg donor database and creating a perfect embryo to be implanted into a surrogate. Bryan wants to know if it’s extra for a “skinny blond child who doesn’t cry.”
Again, it’s a sitcom and it relies on tired humor. In doing so, however, it dehumanizes surrogacy and egg donation. Let’s set the record straight. The process by which surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents choose to work together occurs after meticulous consideration of a variety of factors.
Women apply to become surrogates by answering questions about their personal and medical history, what they are looking for in intended parents, what their views are on medical issues, and why they are considering surrogacy. They speak with social workers and partake in screenings. Legal experts weigh in. A match is ultimately a two-way street, with surrogates and egg donors, deciding with intended parents that they want to move forward.
Couples don’t choose egg donors exclusively because they are beautiful or blonde, but because they are healthy and happy and may be open to meeting the child someday.
When the agency representative asks David and Bryan who is going to be the bio dad, both respond, “I am.” Advances in IVF technology allow us to divide eggs between two potential sperm providers and implant two embryos, one from each gay dads, so that each man can become a biological father of half siblings at the same time. Other times, gay couples have one child through surrogacy, and then have a second child through surrogacy using the other father’s sperm.
Whatever the outcome, gay couples who become parents through surrogacy are finding that Bryan’s epiphany rings true: not having a biological tie to a child doesn’t make you any less of a father.
The second episode airs tonight at 9:30 ET. Look forward to another post responding to surrogacy issues raised in future episodes.
Ann Romney has joined the list of speakers at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, Josh Glasstetter at Right Wing Watch reports:
It’s an odd move by the Romney campaign. They’ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now they’re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 to use David Duke’s mailing list and addressed a white supremacist group while in public office. The same person – Tony Perkins – also praised a law in Uganda to execute gays and warned senators they would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands” if they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really need two headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception, dismissing them as distractions "from what the real voting issue is going to be."
Earlier today, a coalition of groups called on public officials speaking at the Summit to back out because of the Family Research Council's hateful rhetoric toward LGBT people. Also sponsoring the event are the American Family Association (another SPLC-designated hate group), and the Liberty Counsel.
In a recent interview with Michelangelo Signorile at the DNC, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) caused a stir with remarks about the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.
Said Frank: "For 20 years now I’ve heard how the Log Cabins are going to make Republicans better, but they’ve only gotten worse. I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom."
The remarks caused leaders at various LGBT groups like HRC and NGLTF to distance themselves from Frank and inspired a fierce response from LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper which you can read HERE.
Today, Frank sent out a statement explaining and doubling down on his remarks.
Frank's statement, follows in full:
I am not surprised that members of the Log Cabin Republicans are offended by my comparing them to Uncle Tom. They are no more offended than I am by their campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect the candidate and party who diametrically oppose our rights against a President who has forcefully and effectively supported our rights.
That is the first reason for my admittedly very harsh criticism. This election is clearly one in which there is an extremely stark contrast between the two parties on LGBT rights. The Democratic President and platform fully embrace all of the legal issues we are seeking to resolve in favor of equality. The Republican candidate for President and the platform on which he runs vehemently oppose us in all cases. On the face of this, for a group of largely LGBT people to work for our strong opponent against our greatest ally is a betrayal of any supposed commitment to our legal equality.
But my use of “Uncle Tom” was based not simply on this awful fact that they have chosen to be actively on the wrong side of an election that will have an enormous impact on our right to equality, both in fact and in the public perception of the popularity of that cause. If the Log Cabin Republicans – or their even more outlandish cousins, the oddly-named GOProud –were honestly to acknowledge that they let their own economic interests, or their opposition to strong environmental policies, or their belief that we need to be spending far more on the military or some other reason ahead of any commitment to LGBT equality, and on that ground have decided to prefer the anti-LGBT candidate to the supportive one, I would disagree with the values expressed, but would have no complaint about their logic.
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...
The damaging aspect of the Log Cabin argument, to repeat the most important point, is that they may mislead people who do not share their view that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than LGBT rights into thinking that they are somehow helping the latter by supporting Mitt Romney and his Rick Santorum platform.
It is a good thing for Republicans to try to influence other Republicans to be supportive of LGBT rights. The problem is when they pretend to be successful when they haven’t been, and urge people to join them in rewarding the Republicans when they have in fact continued their anti-LGBT stance. I have been hearing the Log Cabin Republicans proclaim for years that they were improving the view of that party towards our legal equality. In fact, over the past 20 years, things have gotten worse, not better. Most recently, on DOMA, when the House Republicans offered an amendment to reaffirm it, they voted 98% in favor of it, while Democrats voted more than 90% against the amendment. And it is not surprising that they have not been successful. Giving strong political support to people who are maintaining their anti-LGBT stance is hardly an effective strategy for getting them to change it.
The argument Mr. Cooper and the others in the Log Cabin Republicans have put forward in their defense is that they have succeeded in getting the Republicans to reduce the extent to which they denounce us, and, in Mr. Cooper’s phrase, the fact that Paul Ryan is “willing to engage” with gay Republicans. That is where Uncle Tom comes to mind. They are urging people to vote for the anti-LGBT candidate over the most supportive LGBT candidate and platform imaginable because the “antis” are calling us fewer names and are willing to talk to some of us. It is this willingness to acquiesce in a subordinate status as long as the masters are kinder in tone, although in substance, that emulates Uncle Tom.
I note Mr. Cooper points to a couple of Republicans as reasons for supporting that party and helping advance its anti-LGBT crusade. As to Representative Ryan, in addition to his “willingness to engage with them,” Mr. Cooper cites his vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. In fact, Paul Ryan has an overwhelmingly anti-LGBT voting record, including opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill, and support for a constitutional amendment not just to ban future same-sex marriages but to dissolve existing ones. It is true that on one occasion he voted for ENDA, but he did so only after voting minutes before for a Republican procedural maneuver – a motion to recommit the bill – which falsely invoked the specter that passage of ENDA would compel same-sex marriage and which, if it had passed, would have killed the bill. In other words, Paul Ryan has always voted against us, except for one occasion when he voted for us only after first trying to make the bill he theoretically supported inoperative.
Mr. Cooper also cites Susan Collins. She was very good on the question of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But the argument that supporting Susan Collins advances LGBT rights ignores the fact that Senator Collins has twice defeated Democrats who were far more supportive of our issues than she was. And an example of that is the current referendum in the state of Maine on marriage. We have a very good chance of winning in Maine, and winning a referendum is important both for the substantive rights of the people in Maine and for the political point that it demonstrates. Unlike the two Democratic Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, Susan Collins has been stubbornly silent. That is, in a state where marriage is on the ballot, and in a year in which she is not up for reelection, Senator Collins is withholding her support from us, unlike any Democrat who would have run against her. And remember, these are the best that the Log Cabin Republicans can cite.
Some have complained that in comparing the Log Cabin Republicans to Uncle Tom, I was ignoring the fact that they are nice. I accept the fact that many of them are nice – so was Uncle Tom – but in both cases, they’ve been nice to the wrong people.
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