Britain has certainly moved forward over the last few years, accepting that our families have amazingly loving homes and have the same ability to provide support to children as heterosexually coupled families.
The countryâ€™s first ever National LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week kicked off this past week highlighting powerful stories of adoption and foster families as well as the localities and organizations that are on the forefront of helping all children find homes that are loving. This is at a time when gay adopters and foster parents are being viewed in a different light, not only by those empowered to place the children, such as social workers and commissioners but also by the public who are beginning to see the reality of excluding loving homes, even those parented by gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender couples.
In recent surveys that were done at the behest of New Family Social there was a great amount of support and recognition for the strengths of LGBT couples.
In a recent press release by the organizers of LGBT AF Week they point out that â€œat a time when adoption figures are at a 10 year low, a new study shows lesbian and gay people often have the right mix of skills and experience to raise children who have been in Â care, and give them a great new start in life.”
72% of social workers surveyed saw the â€œamount of energy and enthusiasmâ€ LGBT adopters bring to the process as a significant strength.
76% saw â€œopenness to difference, and supporting a child with a sense of differenceâ€ as equally important.
For a long time, LGBT people tended to be seen as a â€œlast resortâ€ when placing children. Now adoption and fostering agencies see them as having a key role to play in meeting the urgent need for more new homes for children in care.
Considering itself as a campaign that is working to recruit LGBT couples that perhaps in the past have been denied or turned away or those who have recently become able to foster or adopt children, the LGBT AF Week is working hard with events that are making all sides of the issues facing displaced children.
Hugh Thornbery, Strategic Director of Childrenâ€™s Services at Action for Children, says
“Over the years, our LGBT foster carers and adopters have helped to transform many
childrenâ€™s lives. We welcome more applications from LGBT foster carers and adopters; the
main thing is that you are able to give children and young people the care and support
they need to be happy and fulfilled.â€
Andy Leary-May, Director of New Family Social, says: â€œMore and more LGBT people are
choosing adoption and fostering as a way to form a family, and we want prospective
parents to see just how rewarding it can be, and how much advice and support is on offer
from our huge community of families around the UK. The fact that so many agencies want to recruit from the LGBT community show just how far things have come in the past 5 or 6 years. Â Social workers are becoming more aware of our strengths, and we are being treated more fairly, and are being matched with children more quicklyâ€.
It is a great joy that many are becoming involved in the process of supporting the public system that cares for children. On their website they highlight stories of successful couples such as Lee and Stuart. Both came to the decision after much reflection and thought and approached it as being able to become a foster home that would be able to help as many children as possible giving them the ability to experience a happy and safe home, even if it was for a brief period of time.
One of the greatest trends is that it isnâ€™t just larger centers that are opening up their adoption policies and becoming progressive. Suffolk County in England, with a total population for the whole county of just under 750,000, has moved towards LGBT supportive adoption.
Suffolk County Councilâ€™s fostering and adoption services believe the LGBT community is a huge, untapped resource of potential adopters and foster carers.
In a local article published this past week, Graham Newman, the councilâ€™s portfolio holder for children, schools and young peopleâ€™s services, said: â€œItâ€™s important that Suffolk County Council recruits adopters and foster carers from all walks of life to provide much-needed homes for Suffolkâ€™s vulnerable children. Weâ€™re supporting this yearâ€™s campaign in an effort to encourage more people from the LGBT community to come forward and consider this life-changing opportunity. Over the last few years, Suffolkâ€™s adoption agency has approved and successfully placed children with gay and lesbian adopters, and we hope this yearâ€™s campaign will encourage more people to come forward.â€
At a time when there are growing divides in the United States as well as Canada between right wing religious groups and the LGBT and socially progressive communities, it is great to see that there are agencies who are working towards what is right and not the best talking point.
Perhaps someone would like to inform NOM, the National Organization For Marriage,Â and Maggie Gallagher that the world isnâ€™t collapsing and children are being loved and cared for … yes, by LGBT couples.
Growing up in Northern Ontario as aÂ Jehovahâ€™s Witness,Â Michael TalonÂ experienced firsthand the struggle for equality. Now living in the U.S. he works with advocates for federal equality, including immigration. Michael currentlty owns and operates OnRecord Media, which works with LGBT supportive companies and organizations helping to create an economy and political atmosphere that focuses on inclusive policies and employment.
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‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History
For the past two decades teenaged women participating in Florida high school athletics have been asked to submit their menstrual history, including the date of their first period, the date of their last period, and how many periods they have had in the last 12 months. The board of directors of the Florida High School Athletic Association, the organization in charge of coordinating high school athletics in the Sunshine State, will debate later this month if they will make divulging that information mandatory for participating in sports. According to the FHSAA website that board is comprised of 14 men and two women. Not one is a physician or medical professional.
Critics are voicing concerns over a variety of issues, including the right to privacy, the need for the highly personal medical information, who has access to it, how it is stored, and how it could be used against the students, including to determine possible pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or if the athlete is transgender.
“Many parents and doctors are worried that schools will use the menstrual data to monitor students for late or missed periods, a possible sign of pregnancy, or to out transgender students by watching for girls who don’t get periods or boys who do,” The New Republic reports, calling it “a terrifying glimpse of our dystopian post-Roe world.”
The three-page form, called the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, asks:
“When was your first menstrual period?” “When was your most recent menstrual period? “How much time do you usually have from the start of one period to the start of another?” “How many periods have you had in the last year? and “What was the longest time between periods in the last year?”
A draft form slightly alters the questions, asking instead, “Have you had a menstrual period?” and “How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?” in addition to the other three questions.
While it currently states answering is optional, at the end of this month those questions could become mandatory, although the reason for the possible change has not been disclosed.
Because the information is not being given by the athletes to a physician or other medical professional or organization, the information is not subject to HIPAA regulations. And in some school districts the inform action is stored on a third-party platform, possibly exposing it to other entities.
“This is clearly an effort to further stigmatize and demonize transgender people in sports [and] meant to further exclude people who aren’t assigned female at birth in girls sports,” the president of PRISM, a South Florida nonprofit organization that provides sexual health information to LGBTQ+ youth, Maxx Fenning, told The Tampa Bay Times. “Beyond that, I think there’s concern among LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ [students] alike. This is an extremely invasive mode of gleaning into someone’s reproductive history, which is especially dangerous in this post-Roe world we live in.”
TIME adds that critics “have noted that this policy would be a major challenge for transgender athletes who may have to out themselves with their responses to the questions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved a bill last year—which is currently under legal fire—that bans transgender female students from playing on women and girls’ sports teams.”
According to the fan-checking site Snopes, “these written forms with students’ medical information are submitted to school officials, contrary to a number of other states where only a doctor’s signature is required to clear an athlete for play.”
Snopes adds that “concerns grew as many states worked to criminalize abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and transgender athletes faced scrutiny. In Florida, abortions are banned after 15 weeks, with only a few exceptions.”
“Any forms (physical or digital) could be subpoenaed. Meanwhile, in Palm Beach County, nearly all athlete-registration forms moved online, which meant reproductive data for athletes was being stored by a third-party software company called Aktivate. Other counties were also planning to digitize their forms.”
Last October NBC News reported that an Aktivate spokesperson said a student’s information could be removed but only with parental and school district consent.
Image via Shutterstock
George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation
The freshman New York Republican lawmaker who is believed to be under multiple DOJ and local investigations, suggests the candidate handed the recordings over to Talking Points Memo, and says he expects an article will be published there Thursday evening, after the news site contacted his office.
“According to Santos, his office had been in the process of hiring Derek Myers for a position, but paused when they saw he faces wiretapping charges in Ohio after publishing recorded court testimony — obtained from a source, he said — as part of a story for a small newspaper,” Semafor reports. “FIRE, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to First Amendment issues, has defended Myers, arguing local authorities in the state were criminalizing legitimate journalism.”
“While they said they expect the audio will just show them questioning him about his specific circumstances, it’s unknown if he recorded other exchanges.”
Regardless, Santos is taking action.
The GOP congressman accursed of deceiving his constituents with countlessly false claims that helped get him elected, says he is going to report Myers to the Biden administration, claiming he has a White House press pass.
Santos says he wants Myers’ White House press pass to be revoked, after Myers, the congressman says, claimed to have one.
“He should have that revoked if it’s true, if it’s even remotely true he has it,” Santos told Semafor.
It’s not known if Myers does, and if so it’s unlikely it’s a permanent hard pass. It’s also unlikely it would be revoked if Myers did not break the law.
Semafor adds in Washington, D.C. it is legal to record your own conversation with another party without obtaining their consent.
‘They’re Not Taking My Gas Stove’: Joe Manchin Teams Up With Hard Core Republicans to Promote False Claims
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is again promoting the false claim that the federal government is planning to remove gas stoves from private homes, after news last month revealed once more the open-flame appliances are responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of children’s asthma.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out,” said Manchin, who has made millions from coal and protects his state – which ranks in the top five for production of natural gas – at every turn.
Manchin, a rare breed of conservative Democrat, announced in a Senate hearing on Thursday that he is teaming up with Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford to fuel the unfounded fears of the federal government coming to rip gas stoves out of Americans’ homes – fears promoted by the right.
“Gas stoves have been in the news lately and I’ve come out strongly against the Consumer Product Safety Commission pursuing any ban of gas stoves,” Manchin declared, despite there being no possibility of that. “In fact, I’m introducing legislation today with Senator Cruz that would ensure that they don’t and separately sending a letter to the commission with Senator Lankford.”
“I’ve always been a proponent of energy efficiency,” Manchin continued, “but the draft proposes efficiency levels that DOE [Dept. of Energy] says at the highest level, up to 96% of gas stoves don’t currently meet. I don’t like where I think they’re going with this and I tell you one thing, they’re not taking my gas stove put. My wife and I would both be upset.”
Manchin went on the claim the Biden administration is “looking to find ways to push out natural gas.”
And he warned the feds to stay out of his kitchen.
“Like I said before,” Manchin declared, “the federal government doesn’t have any business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”
The federal government does have a responsibility, by law, to warn Americans of health and safety issues in their homes. For decades it has been doing just that.
But the West Virginia Senator went even further, stating: “retrofitting or removing stoves that people have had for years is not going to happen.”
Manchin isn’t just blowing smoke – he has a lot at stake in the “gas stove war.”
“West Virginia is the fourth-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the nation,” according to a federal government December report.
“At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action,” The New York Times reported last year. It called the West Virginia Democrat “the single most important figure shaping the nation’s energy and climate policy.”
Watch Sen. Manchin below or at this link.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out!” pic.twitter.com/P4zFGC6Kqp
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 2, 2023
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