So So Gay, By Claire Connor
It has become almost impossible to get from cover to cover in an LGBT magazine without being confronted by advertisements that claim to assist the community in creating a family.
Countless services declare their ability to make the process not only seamless, but also, in their glossy spreads, glamorous. Photographs of cute, giggling babies veil the serious side to starting a family.There are a great many children in care who need to be adopted.
And what are these advertisements offering? Rarely adoption. These agencies want to make money. Purchase a womb in the form of a surrogate, purchase some sperm, purchase a turkey baster (or rather, ‘insemination kit’); purchase pretty much anything one needs to create a baby. What gets forgotten, however, is the option of starting a family with a child that already exists. There is a danger of people who read these magazines getting the impression that adoption no longer happens.
The gay press undoubtedly has a responsibility to recognise the fact that, due to their need for revenue, they are in danger of becoming responsible for a trend in expensive surrogacy and co-parenting arrangements when there are a great many children in care who need to be adopted. It is a particularly important issue to address, when the process is now simpler than ever for gay people.
In 2002, the Adoption and Children Act passed into law and it became legal for unmarried couples, including gay couples, to apply for joint adoption. The law came into effect in 2005. Since 2007, other laws have been in place which make it unlawful for any providers of goods and services to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. These continue to be protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Although gay men and lesbians will face a number of the same issues when thinking about starting a family, the obvious biological advantage that women hold means they are far more likely to go down the ‘natural’ route. Sadly, adoption is not always the first choice.
Gay men are more likely to consider adopting a child. Peter, 50, and David, 46, met in a London nightclub in 1997. Peter was living in Scotland at the time, but had been considering moving to London. Meeting David was the push he needed. After a few years together, the couple started to seriously think about starting a family. ‘Heterosexual contemporaries were starting to have kids so you start to feel that it is that time in your life’, Peter says. Over three years ago, the couple adopted biological brothers Carlos and PJ when they were six and two and a half years old respectively.
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