SPLAG Wales Suppor t for Pa re n ts of Newsletter Issue 38 November 2010 Lesbia ns an d Gay Men BABIES FOR GAYS? More and more same sex couples are having babies, and all the research shows that they are making an excellent job of bringing them up. Some gay men and women had children when they were in previous heterosexual relationships, but a growing number of gay couples are now choosing to start a family together. For lesbians: Adopting and fostering. It is now legal for single people and same sex couples to adopt and foster, although there are few new born healthy babies available for adoption. However, there are often older children, sibling groups, those with a disability and children from minority ethnic communities looking for homes. There is a lengthy and sometimes intrusive assessment period which may take up to a year - but it is an amazing thing to do for a child, and can change their lives. IUI = Intrauterine insemination. Donor sperm is inserted at a time when the woman is ovulating. This process is usually safer and more successfully done via a licensed clinic, rather than on a do-it-yourself basis (using an oral syringe and a trusted male friend). The cost varies from many thousands at a private clinic, to a more affordable amount at an NHS clinic, depending on the Primary Care Trust involved. The law requires anyone who donates sperm or eggs to agree to their identity being released when any child conceived reaches 18 and requests it. IVF. This is now available to lesbians on the NHS under the same rules applied to heterosexual couples – this usually means that the prospective mother must be infertile, and that ‘supportive parenting’ can be provided. The laws about donated sperm and eggs outlined above also apply. It is important that all parties understand the legal implications of these processes. Stonewall have produces a very comprehensive guide which can be found on the internet at: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/parenting/default.asp For gay men: Adoption and fostering. As above. Although legal, realistically this process can take even longer for male couples, although many have successfully adopted or fostered, and adoption societies would be keen to assess them. Surrogacy. The law in Britain does not allow either egg donors or surrogate mothers to receive payment. However, it does allow the surrogate mother to keep the baby if she changes her mind during the pregnancy, even if the egg has been implanted from a donor. The biological father might still be expected to maintain the child until its 18th birthday, although not having custody of it. Many gay couples therefore turn to America, where the law in some states is more sympathetic to them. The usual path would be to use a donor egg CHRISTMAS IS COMING! The Lesbian and Gay Christmas Service will be on Sunday 12 th December starting at 8pm. The venue is the United Reform Church in Windsor Place, Central Cardiff CF10 3BZ. This is a jolly and informal event where gay men and women and their families and friends will be made most welcome. Do come along and support it. For the first time this year, we will be having a SPLAG Christmas get together – details are at the foot of this newsletter. All parents are most welcome to come along to this free and informal event. Campaign to keep the King’s Cross pub gay A campaign has been launched to stop Mitchells and Butlers, owners of the King’s Cross pub, from turning it into yet another ‘gastro pub’. The King’s Cross, situated in Cardiff’s cafe quarter, was originally built as an hotel in 1872. It is Cardiff’s longest surviving gay bar, where gay men even had their own discreet back door entrance in the days before homosexuality was legalised in 1967. Several thousand people have already signed up to a Facebook campaign to keep the pub gay, and 50 protesters travelled up to London to make their feelings known at a meeting of the shareholders and directors. Gareth Thomas, the gay rugby ace, has joined the campaign, as has Cllr Rodney Berman, leader of Cardiff Council. Whilst it is possible to prevent a building being knocked down because it is of historical significance, there is no legislation to keep a venue gay, no
Actor Sir Ian McKellen has recently addressed GCSE pupils in Cambridgeshire about the issue of homophobia. The Lord of the Rings actor talked to a group of year 10 GCSE students and said: "By talking frankly about my own life as a gay man and listening to the concerns of staff and students, parents and governors, I hope the visit may make a difference in the classroom and the playground, and also give confidence to gay students about their lives in the future." His appearance was part of a UK schools tour which aims to combat the casual use of anti gay comments in the classroom.
Stonewall have awarded the Entertainer of the Year prize to John Partridge, who played Christian Clarke, the gay partner of Muslin Sayed, in Eastenders. John, who actually is gay, has plans to celebrate a civil partnership with his partner of seven years in the near future.
Openlygay David Norris is currently in the lead to win the elections next year for head of state in the Irish Republic. He is most famous for successfully taking the Irish government to the European Court in 1988 to decriminalise homosexuality. A grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia has been sentenced in the Old Bailey to a minimum of 20 years in jail for the brutal beating to death of his servant in a London hotel suite. The Prince, who is a member of one of the world’s richest and most powerful dynasties, had apparently been in a gay relationship with the servant, whom he regularly subjected to brutal and sadistic violence without retribution in his own country. About 200 gay protesters staged a ‘kissin’ as the Pope made his way through the crowds in his popemobile during his visit to Barcelona. Unmoved by the event, the Pope went on to again condemn samesex relationships in a speech later that day. Lancashire County Council are to be commended for refusing to register a former vicar and his wife as foster parents, after they said they would refuse to allow gay people into their home. Joe McElderry, winner of the 2009 X Factor, apparently only told his mother that he was gay a week before he announced it to the press. The revelation took place on a train journey, and he said his Mum was ‘fine’ with it.
Gay History Month, which is celebrated each February, has chosen Sport as its theme for the next two years. With the Olympics fast approaching, it was felt that this was a great opportunity to highlight the fact that there are still very few gay sportsmen and women who are ‘out’.
The Castleford Tigers rugby club have had to pay a £20,000 fine for an incident last March when a small minority of their fans directed homophobic chants at Crusaders’ player Gareth Thomas. The MP for Reigate has recently separated from his wife and announced that he is gay. A survey by the Office for National Statistics found that
1½ % of the population of the UK are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Although this amounts to nearly three quarters of a million people, it is still way below previous surveys which gave a figure of 6%. However, it now appears that the survey was done by questioning people either by telephone or on their doorsteps – not a great place to ‘out’ yourself! It also found that a much larger proportion of people in their 30s and 40s identified as gay than in other age groups – probably because younger and older people would be even less happy about admitting their sexuality to a stranger. Microsoft and Xbox have apologised to an Xbox gamer who was banned from the site because he lived in Fort Gay. The word gay was picked up by filters as being offensive, even though it is a real place in West Virginia.
Equal love campaign Each week in November and December, a couple will file an application to be legally ‘wed’ at their local registry office. Four will be same-sex couples applying for civil marriages, whilst four will be heterosexual couples applying for civil partnerships. Whilst both ceremonies give couples the same legal rights and protection, the law as it stands requires each to be conducted in a different form. Civil partnerships require only the signing of a register, and there are no formal words which need to be spoken, although couples can add their own music and words. However, no religious content is allowed – no hymns or bible readings. Civil marriages, however, do allow a religious content, but many straight couples would choose to have the simpler ‘just signing’ event if they could. Each application will of course be rejected, and the couples then intend to take action in the courts for their right to be treated equally, and to be allowed to have access to the format of CHRISTMAS SOCIAL - 4.00pm on Sunday 28 th November their choice.
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