Monthly Archives: July 2015

Alphabet Soup Episode 4: Racial Justice Edition

Featuring

Amber Todd, Co-chair of Oakland Pride
Tarah Fleming, Our Family Coalition’s Education Director

Food for Thought with Allen Johnson, Our Family Coalition’s Development Associate

Host: Renata Moreira, Our Family Coalition’s Acting Executive Director

What does it mean to be an ally? How can privilege be used to move the pendulum of change? How can we give our kids the tools and knowledge needed to navigate growing up in a racist society, and empower them to use their voices to be a part of the solution?

Tune in to Alphabet Soup to listen to moving and urgent conversations with Amber Todd, proud mother of four and co-chair of Oakland Pride, and Tarah Fleming, Education Director of Our Family Coalition and co-founder of the Youth Action Project, which exists within the White Privilege Conference.

Solo Parent Support

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By Dr. Meghan Lewis

soloparentspicAs my bio-clock struck thirty, the resounding tick-tock of surging pregnancy urges pushed me eagerly into musings over a wide range of reproductive and family building options. Having hoped from the days of my youth that I would grow a baby, as a queer-identified, single person, I began to seriously consider how that might actually happen.

I wondered if I would eventually marry a woman with whom I’d raise a family, perhaps via the offering of a donor-relative on her side. Maybe I’d seek out a close friend to share in a lifetime of parenting. Perhaps I’d meet a gay male couple who’d be delighted to co-create a kid or two.

Fast forward five years: No wife in sight, no potential donor-friend living in close proximity, and no family-oriented gay male couple in my inner circle. With the desire to grow my family soaring cycle-by-cycle, it became clearer to me that the path to parenthood would be unfolding quite differently then expected.

I had, however, often imagined self-fertilization as part of the process. So, when rolling out Plan B, i.e. intentional solo parenting via anonymous donor, I figured my next step was to explore alternate avenues for seed seeking. And like good gardeners do, I sought the best seed for a healthy, fruitful harvest. (My bottom line: no GMO’s, only homos). After narrowing down my choice of local sperm banks, I finally picked my heirloom seed and as fastidious farmer, turned my physical form into fecund field; an empowering process of planting and propagating my very own progeny.

soloparent-pullquote1Throughout the last ten years of raising said progeny on my own, I have found it to be an equally empowering process though not without bouts of great challenge and a kind of slow birth of deep perseverance, lots of unknowns, and unexpected twists and turns. Likewise, it seems similarly true for single parents who are on their own due to unanticipated circumstances such as divorce, death, or deportation of a partner or spouse. These parents also must conjure up enduring fortitude, self-determination, and exemplary flexibility.

Regardless of our families’ unique formation, for all of us parenting solo, I believe it is essential to cultivate a persistently empowered perspective– one that also holds our unique family as a complete family. Contrary to popular belief, solo parenthood does not have to be outrageously difficult, lonely, isolating, profoundly exhausting, or brokenly awaiting the buoyant balancing of another. We have access to what it takes to raise our children with optimism, love, tons of fun, and a deep sense purpose, belonging, and connection.

To help support the continued growth of an empowered parenting perspective, each month OFC offers a dinner gathering for solo parent families at the Children’s Creativity Museum, SF. Join us for community building and parent-driven discussions on a wide range of experiences and topics while your kid(s) enjoy supervised exploration of the many creative activities the museum has to offer.

– Discuss effective strategies for handling the unique challenges and responsibilities of solo parenting.

– Identify your hopes and intentions for yourself and your child(ren) and explore creative ways of attaining your personal and parenting goals.

– Learn healthy decompression/stress reduction practices.

– Discover helpful Bay Area parenting resources.

– Receive support and understanding while growing your community of local solo parents.

Register now! Free.

About the facilitator:

Dr. Meghan Lewis is a queer, solo parent by choice of a ten year old son and the founder of Integrative Perinatal Psychotherapy with offices in Oakland and SF.  She is also the founding member of LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Associates of the Bay Area, a group of LGBTQ-identified professionals dedicated to the health of our community’s growing families. Meghan served on the Board of Berkeley’s BirthWays and is currently on the Advisory Board of Oakland’s Then Comes Baby where she offers support for LGBTQ families-to-be, those trying to conceive (TTC) and throughout early parenthood. Additionally, she offers preconception consultations and birth doula care through Wombservice Midwifery.

meghanlewisphd@gmail.com
www.lgbtqperinatalassociates.com
www.wombservicemidwifery.com

The Equal Protection for All Families Act is one step closer to becoming the law!

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This Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass the Equal Protection for All Families Act (Assembly Bill 960). This important bill – authored by Assemblymember David Chiu and co-sponsored by Our Family Coalition, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Equality California – is expected to be voted on by the full Senate in two weeks and will continue to move towards the governor for signature. And we need YOU to make sure the Equal Protection for All Families Act becomes the law of the land.

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At present, California’s laws regarding assisted reproduction are outdated and fail to recognize the diverse ways that families are formed and to provide legal protection and security for parents and children alike. Unmarried parents who use assisted reproduction to conceive children in the privacy of their home are not recognized as the legal parents of their children. The new bill would update the current assisted reproduction laws in the state to ensure parents and their children are not at risk and do not have to jump through unnecessary legal hoops in order to secure what should be a basic right.

AB960will

  • Allow unmarried people using assisted reproduction to be fully recognized as parents on the same terms as married parents.

  • Remove the requirement that couples must involve a doctor when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent.

  • Provide clear direction for how egg and known sperm donors should be treated under California law; protecting both parents and donors from very real concerns.

“This bill is about granting recognition and economic access to all prospective parents, ” says Renata Moreira, Our Family Coalition’s Acting Executive Director.” AB 960 is going to particularly benefit lower income LGBT parents who will be able to use more affordable methods of assisted reproduction, and still be protected under California law.” By failing to provide legal protections for these families, the state is failing both parents and children. All families deserve equitable protection and recognition under the eyes of the law.

As we continue to advocate for the passage of AB960, we call on you – LGBTQ parents who may have been affected by the current discriminatory legislation and may be ready to speak out. Personal stories and testimony have a powerful impact on lawmakers and can play a key part for the decision to pass the Equal Protection for All Families Act. Specifically, Our Family Coalition is looking to connect with:

  • Parents of any relationship recognition status who used home insemination, then had to terminate the donor’s rights and do a second parent adoption in order to be protected.

  • Unmarried or unregistered domestic partnered couples using assisted reproductive technology to conceive who had to adopt to protect their parental rights.

  • Potential donors who were afraid to support a friend or relative’s family formation due to the informality of the arrangement and the prohibitive costs of intervention by doctors or lawyers.

Do you recognize yourself or anyone you know in any of these descriptions?

Are you willing to share your story to help lawmakers make the right decision for families in California?

Please contact policy@ourfamily.org if you want to support for the Equal Protection for All Families Act and help shape the future of our families.

 

Thanks for Making Pride 2015 a Success – and a preview of our pics!

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Dear Families and Friends,

Wow! This year’s Pride was incredible, as the whole Bay Area celebrated our victory in the Supreme Court last Friday. Hundreds of kids – including more teens than ever – gathered with parents, grandparents, caregivers, friends, and allies at both the Parade and in the Family Garden. I had such a great time at Pride this year. The energy was electric and fun.

DSC_9468I know our work is important to you because it impacts that which is most precious to you: your kids. I am asking you to please make a donation to Our Family Coalition so that we can continue to do all we do for our families and build on our momentum for change.

_MG_6448The nationwide right to marry offers hope for the future of our children. We cannot stop here. We need your financial support to continue the momentum for our families.

Thank you so much for celebrating this historic Pride with us!  Every one of us makes a difference.

In gratitude,

PS: We are so glad to hear that your family and friends also had a great time at Pride. Please share your photos and great memories on our Page to inspire other families! See you at Oakland Pride on September 13! #familypride #proudofmyfamily.

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