Non-gender specific birth certificates to be used for same-sex couples in Ireland

A mother and son

Same-sex parents in Ireland will be able to list themselves as ‘parent’ on their child’s birth certificate.

This amendment to the law is designed to accommodate to same-sex couples, allowing both partners to register on their child’s birth certificate.

Under the current system, birth certificates only include the categories ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’.

Birth certificates for donor-assisted children born to same-sex couples currently only allow one mother to be listed.

‘Introduced as soon as possible’

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said that allowing to the option of ‘parent’ would resolve such issues, saying implementing the bill would be prioritized.

‘While the changes proposed will affect a relatively small number of people, they touch on matters that are very sensitive and of great importance to those families affected,’ Doherty said.

‘I have met with and spoken to many affected by this issue and I am now very pleased to be able to bring these changes forward as a priority to ensure that they can be introduced as soon as possible.’

The case had been raised in the Dáil (the Lower House of the Irish parliament) last year, according to TheJournal.ie.

Politician Richard Boyd Barrett said that a pregnant woman had contacted him with concerns about her wife not being able to register on their child’s birth certificate.

The completed bill will go before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the spring.

Increase in LGBTI rights in Ireland

Ireland has seen a vast increase in LGBTI rights over past years, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.

In 2016, the Irish government published a bill which allows same-sex partners to adopt, which was signed into law the following year.

Politicians in the country have also become increasingly vocal in support LGBTI rights.

In August 2018, Ireland’s former president and ardent LGBTI rights supporter Mary McAleese condemned the Catholic Church for its ’emotional torture’ of LGBTI youths.

In the same month, Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, lambasted the Catholic Church for its child abuse scandal during a visit by the pope.

Varadkar is Ireland’s first openly gay leader.

Author: Calum Stuart

The post Non-gender specific birth certificates to be used for same-sex couples in Ireland appeared first on Gay Star News.

Lesbian mom falls for sperm donor 12 years after giving birth to his child

A woman taking a selfie of her family on the beach.

A lesbian woman from Seattle has fallen in love with sperm donor after giving birth to his child.

Jessica Share had her daughter Alice through a sperm donor in 2005, when she became ‘the first lesbian parent I had ever met’.

She was married to a woman and the two planned to have four children together.

However, Share’s marriage ended in 2010, right when her partner was carrying their second daughter, with the same sperm donor.

Share was ready to bring up her two daughters as a single parent. Little did she know she was about to fall in love with her daughter’s sperm donor, whom she only knew as Donor No. 2008 at the Fairfax Cryobank.

Falling in love with her sperm donor

The woman met Aaron Long in 2017 – 12 years after giving birth to his child.

The two have now moved in together with Alice and several of the kids Long has fathered throughout his life.

‘I felt like I had been watching him for over a decade,’ Share said.

‘I had these threads of him. This wasn’t what made the bond, but it certainly made him very familiar to me because he right away looked and acted like people I had known and loved for a decade.’

Long had signed up to give sperm after returning to the US from a year teaching English abroad.

‘One day I saw a newspaper ad seeking healthy men, 18 to 35, to participate in a semen donation program,’ he told The Mirror.

Furthermore he added: ‘Donors’ is the standard industry word, yet virtually all of us are paid. Forty dollars (£32) a pop was what I received in 1994. I applied to sell my sperm and sold twice weekly for a year. At the time I was in a long-distance relationship, so this seemed like a good outlet. When I told my mother, she presciently wondered aloud if this was the only way she was going to have grandchildren.’

Share and her wife separated in 2010

When Share and her then-wife decided on whose sperm to choose, they were attracted by Long’s professions.

‘The donor listed his profession as a writer, musician, and taxi driver,’ she recalled.

‘My wife and I romantically imagined he was refusing to get a desk job, but instead collecting the stories of those he’d pick up in his cab, readying to write the Great American Novel,’ Jessica explained.

After trying to get pregnant for seven months, the couple finally received the news they had longed for.

‘I was pregnant with our first child and my wife, and I were overjoyed.’

She never thought she would meet the donor, let alone fall in love with him.

‘We gave hardly a thought to the donor that we assumed we would never meet. My wife was particularly hostile to the idea of ever letting our children know him – she felt that love made a family, and I agreed.’

When Alice was three, Jessica’s wife left her. After a few years, she explains her ex-wife cut off their eldest child entirely.

Moreover, her youngest daughter failed to be returned from a holiday. Jessica hasn’t seen her ever since.

Alice says they’re not a family

When Alice became curious about her biological father, her mom bought the 23andMe PGS test. The results show Aaron Long was a 50% match as the father.

Jessica reached out to Long and the two exchanged messages on social networks. A few months later, Jessica and Alice moved into Long’s building when they were looking for a new place to stay. After meeting in person, Jessica and Aaron started dating.

The pair got on so well they moved in together with Alice and another of Long’s biological daughter.

Nonetheless, Alice doesn’t see Long as a father figure.

‘We’re definitely not a family. This is not the nuclear ‘Brady Bunch’ thing,’ Alice said.

‘You can’t just adopt someone as your dad, despite what chick flicks say.’

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Author: Stefania Sarrubba

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Rainbow Families offers Australia’s first ever LGBTI prenatal class

Lucy and Amy Jackson with their son Arlo at Rainbow Families prenatal class

When Lucy Jackson, 31, first met her partner Amy, 33, over seven years ago, she knew straight away they were meant for each other.

‘It was supposed to be one or two drinks,’ Lucy told Gay Star News. ‘But 11 hours later, we were still chatting.

‘For me personally, I knew straight away she was the one,’ she said.

The Sydney-based couple eventually tied the knot, bought a house together and were ready to start their journey to parenthood.

In early 2017, the lesbian couple began IVF ‘due to medical reasons’, with Amy carrying the baby.

Lucy and Amy Jackson

Lucy (left) and Amy (right) Jackson. | Photo: supplied

During the pregnancy, friends of theirs recommended the Rainbow Families prenatal class, catering specifically to LGBTI parents.

Ashley Scott is the director of Rainbow Families.

He told Gay Star News: ‘Rainbow Families identified a need within our community for this class.’

He added: ‘For LGBTI parents attending traditional birthing classes, it has been a very heteronormative experience that they often don’t fit into, or feel comfortable with.’

Working with a volunteer midwife educator, they started the program in February last year. It has since grown and the feedback has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

In August this year, Sydney Local Area Health began facilitating the class. Macquarie Bank also now host the day, providing catering and the venue.

So what happens on the day?

Each class is a full day, running from 9am to 5pm.

The morning starts with an introduction to Rainbow Families and an icebreaker for the group.

Lucy said: ‘Amy and I were sat with two beautiful dads.’

Then the prenatal presentation begins. This includes role playing, videos and discussion, as well as the presentation.

Amy and Lucy Jackson at the Rainbow Families antenatal class

Amy and Lucy Jackson at the Rainbow Families prenatal class. | Photo: supplied

This is followed by a Q&A, which Scott describes as ‘one of the best aspects of the class.’ Within the class, there are generally many variables on how people are planning on giving birth, so there are usually a wide variety of questions.

During the Q&A, Lucy and Amy took the opportunity to ask about their specific birthing questions.

For medical reasons, Amy could only give birth via C-section.

Lucy explained: ‘I have friends who have been to other prenatal classes where they assume everyone will give birth “naturally” – vaginally – or they assume everyone will breastfeed. All of those stigmas can be so demoralizing.

‘At no point were we made to feel like there was anything wrong with [Amy having a C-section],’ Lucy said.

She added: ‘The Rainbow Families class was so well organized and so considerate of everyone’s different situations, both medically and personally.’

Lucy and Amy Jackson

Lucy and Amy Jackson. | Photo: supplied

After lunch, the afternoon session is about caring for a newborn and covers topics like breast, chest and co-feeding, wrapping and settling.

Lucy said: ‘We picked up a lot of useful tips from the class.’

They learnt about swaddling and breastfeeding but she said the most important thing they learnt was patience and to be kinder to yourself.

Lucy said: ‘Go with the flow. Babies can be so unpredictable and you need to be open to change.’

Baby Arlo

Amy and Lucy welcomed their baby Arlo on 20 September, born at 38 weeks.

‘He is the most divine little boy,’ Lucy said. ‘The joy and peace he has brought into our home is indescribable.’

The lesbian couple said the new addition to their family has profoundly changed their lives.

‘Life now is beautifully raw, amazing and fascinating,’ Lucy said. ‘We have learnt so quickly. We have never loved so hard or deeply and we have never been more tired, more happy, more hormonal but we wouldn’t change a thing,’ she said.

Amy and Lucy with baby Arlo

Amy and Lucy with baby Arlo. | Photo: supplied

They use the techniques they learnt at the prenatal class every day. They’ve perfected their swaddling technique and say it changed their lives.

Offering some words of wisdom, Lucy said: ‘Be kind to yourself, a baby changes everything – in the most incredible way!

Amy and I are both incredibly aware that people will be reading this hoping for their rainbow baby and all we can say to those people is never give up hope.

‘When there is hope, nothing is too much trouble. So take a deep breath and remember love will get you through,’ she said.

They’re also planning to meet up with the gay dads they were sat next to in their Rainbow Families prenatal class.

The next Rainbow Families class is Saturday 24 November. The classes are run quarterly and each class has around 20 people in it.

For more information, visit the Rainbow Families website.

See also:

Record-breaking one in eight adoptions in England are by same-sex couples

Gay dads adopt boy, after lesbian moms adopt his sisters

Lesbian moms speak about their beloved baby – born severely premature and fighting for survival

Author: James Besanvalle

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