Guest Bloggers

Single Lesbian Mom Shares Adorable Photos of Adopted Son

Gay Parent Magazine received adorable photos from single mom, Lu Lu, along with the following statement from her,

“This is my son Noel. I finally closed on his adoption May 26, 2016. I am a single lesbian and I always wanted children. Noel has been a blessing and has brought so much happiness to my life. I want to share this story with other single women who think it isn’t possible to adopt a child alone…It is possible and there are so many children who are waiting to be loved in their forever home. Adopt and save a child’s life. This one saved mine. I love you Noel.”

Attached are adorable photos of Lu Lu’s son Noel holding signs related to his foster care and adoption and a sweet photo of mother and son together. Click on the photos to view larger.

Noel Rosato holding foster care sign

Noel holding Today I Am Adopted sign

Noel Rosato and mom Lu Lu

Disney’s Good Luck Charlie to Air Episode with Lesbian Mothers, No Surprise

The cast of Good Luck Charlie.

The cast of Good Luck Charlie from the TV Guide article.

By Angeline Acain

Although only at the start of its first season, my teenage daughter loves watching the new ABC Family television series “The Fosters” exclaiming after the premier, “It’s so great to watch a television show with parents like mine – two mothers!” (The cast of The Fosters were on Gay Parent magazine’s May-June 2013 issue cover, see image below).

And like many American teenage girls, my daughter enjoys watching the Disney Channel including its show “Good Luck Charlie.” When I read the following in TV Guide, “ In a first for the Disney Channel, next season an episode of Good Luck Charlie will feature a family with two moms,” I was not at all surprised.

What some viewers don’t realize is that ABC Family is a subsidiary of the Disney-ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company. And ABC Family has already broken ground by featuring a family with two moms with their new television series “The Fosters.” In fact two of the main actors from The Fosters, Jake T. Austin and Maia Mitchell have starred and currently star in Disney productions. And that is another reason my daughter loves watching The Fosters – she’s  familiar with these actors from the Disney Channel because she’s been watching them grow in their careers since she was in elementary school. On top of that, my daughter has always thought Jake T. Austin was cute ever since she saw him in the 2007 Disney movie, “Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board.”

With all this positive progressive programming being planned I was surprised to see the negative feedback posted on an unofficial Good Luck Charlie Facebook page from angry parents. Some of the posters said they will stop their children from watching the show (good luck with that). The episode is set to air in 2014 and Disney has not yet announced who will play the lesbian moms. But until then I recommend all LGBT parents and allies to go to this unofficial Good Luck Charlie Facebook page and show your support, here’s the link: www.facebook.com/GoodLuckCharlie

The cast of The Fosters on Gay Parent magazine's May-June 2013 issue #88

The cast of The Fosters on Gay Parent magazine’s May-June 2013 issue #88

Now in NYC Lesbian Love Octagon – Musical Dyke Drama!

Lesbian Love Octagon

Lots of Kissing in Lesbian Love Octagon featuring Ti Grieco (Jess) on left and Lindsay Naas (Wendy).

By Angeline Acain

The night my partner and I went to see Lesbian Love Octagon (LLO) there was a torrential downpour. As we navigated our way soaked to the skin through the East Village to the Kraine Theater (New York City), I knew this performance was going to be worth the drenching – and I was right. Created by Kim Kressal and Will Larche, Lesbian Love Octagon is a musical comedy about dyke drama – that’s right, a musical, about the lesbian culture of ex lovers. So I knew this would be a fun and entertaining night. Kressal and Larche wrote the lyrics and music and it is first rate. Not that LLO can be compared to other lesbian musicals – because there isn’t any other. This is a one of a kind production, done brilliantly.

The story revolves around Sue (played by lesbian actress Caitlin Lee Reid) who is dumped by Darla (played by Kristian Espiritu) who is now with Sue’s ex who is now a trans named Jerry (played by transgender actor Jax Jackson). Other lesbians and their ex’s are involved, at least five more main characters, hence the octagon. The setting is East Village 1990s, feminist bookstore, food co-op, bar, sex shop, and bedroom and lesbian characters range from bisexual to transgender and everything in between. Kressal told AfterEllen, “Beyond this just being a lesbian love story, it’s about community and lesbian identity. I think that the late ’90s were a time when your visibility as a lesbian was very important. I mean, yes Ellen had come out, but that’s where we were. This was pre-The L Word, the height of third wave feminism. The show takes place in the Lower East Side and at that time, Babeland, Meow Mix and Bluestockings had all just opened. So this area had become the center of the (lesbian) universe… All of this is to say that I think the late ’90s is the right kindling to ignite a story about lesbian identity and uncertainty, but I think the story itself is timeless.”

Lesbian Love Octagon

Lesbian Love Octagon featuring Caitlin Lee Reid (left) as the protagonist Sue and Jax Jackson as transgender Jerry.

LLO debuted in 2010 and Horse Trade, the management company that runs the Kraine Theatre invited LLO for another run and is co-producer. Regarding lesbian visibility in musical theater Kressal told AfterEllen, “…this is missing from musical theatre. But, the deeper we have gotten into this project that has become a much bigger deal to us. We have had commercial interest in the show, but with the exception of Horse Trade, everyone has wanted us to take out some lesbians. Make it less lesbian. Can’t there be straight characters in this? Can you take lesbian out of the title? And those are the things that we are unwilling to bend on, because then what’s the point. It just becomes another musical. We are willing to not make it to Broadway or off-Broadway, because of our unwillingness to bend our belief that trans stories, lesbian stories, need to be told in musical theatre. This is our life. This is our reality.”

Included in lesbian reality is the use of vibrators and LLO audience members can purchase raffle tickets to win a Hitachi Magic Wand. So during intermission it was entertaining to watch a lucky gal win her wand. Another part of LLO fun is featuring a special guest star in each performance and TONY nominee Jan Maxwell joined the production that night. Lindsay Nass who plays Wendy, Sue’s best friend, is another out lesbian actress in this performance. Naas told AfterEllen, “Everyone should see the Lesbian Love Octagon, regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, or age. Lesbians should see it because it is a beautiful and honest representation of their community in a brilliant form of entertainment. They’ll get all the little inside jokes and will undoubtedly relate to at least one of the characters. It’s really a magical thing, realizing that a group of people that have been pretty much left out of the entertainment world get to see themselves being brought to life onstage. Straight people should see it because of those exact same reasons.”

I was told Kressal and her wife are in the process of becoming parents, this is apparent in LLO’s ending and of course it is an ending with a lot of song and dance.

Lesbian Love Octagon is playing at the Kraine Theater until June 29, 2013. See a video, hear great music, join their community and buy your tickets at www.lesbianthemusical.com.

Lesbian Love Octagon cast.

Lesbian Love Octagon cast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by KL Thomas

“Daddy”

By Ali Polizzi

Ali Polizzi (left) holding Nikkan PolizziRothman, and her partner Amy Rothman holding Takoda PolizziRothman.

Ali Polizzi (left) holding Nikkan, and her partner Amy Rothman holding Takoda.

…comes flying out of my 3 year old boy’s mouth this year like a dirty word he must have picked up on the street.  My wife and I joke that we don’t know where he “picks up that kind of language” but the sting for me goes deeper than our fleeting sarcasm reveals.  Of course, it’s directed at me – the bigger, bulkier but-not-so-much-butchier one I guess with the insecurity chip on her shoulders.  Why am I the “Daddy”?  I’m the one who does the dishes.  I’m the one who gets flowers on Valentine’s Day.  It was such a catharsis in my life the day my wife asked me to marry her with a beautiful diamond engagement ring complete with a rainbow of precious stones around the band.  She gave me back something that day I didn’t realize I’d lost – my sexuality – and boy do I fill the part!  I’m the one who wants to stay up all night when we fight if we have to in order to “talk things out.”  I’m the milder disciplinarian. They ask me when they want lollipops for breakfast, and they occasionally get it!  My wife?  She’s the breadwinner.  She makes the big decisions.  It’s Ema who charts the family’s course through this world.  So why does he look up and curiously decide to call me “Daddy”?  She probably wouldn’t mind.  This just goes against the narrative of us that I’d designed.

I’m calm though.  I’m a New York City public high school teacher – I can handle anything!  I ignore it.  I ignore it the second time – the third – the fourth. We call this “Planned ignoring”.  Anyone know how to make God laugh?  The first day I survive.  The second is when I start losing some sleep.  By the third, I’m consulting Facebook lesbian mommies and our MTM group (Modern Tribal Momas) for advice.  Has anybody experienced this before?  Has everybody survived? What are the causes?  What are the cures?  I don’t get too far.  God blessed this lesbian couple quickly ahead of all our friends with not one but two …boys.  Here I am yet again adrift in a sea of uncharted waters.  This is not unlike my whole adolescence!

One night, it dawns on me to explore his reading library that we began back when we had the luxury of such time and idealism in college.  I’m all too quick to pass up “Heather Has Two Mommies” falsely dismissing it due to the stereotypically butchie carpenter mom and feeling averse to bring linked with that association.  My insecurity already steers me away from the other mother’s role of “Doctor”.  I find another title in our diversity collection: “Do I have a Daddy?” and wind up in a pinch reading that to my son.  While his eyes were wide with interest and we read together with wild presence we were both disappointed by that mother ‘s loose retort to her son’s inquiry about why Daddy just left them. The only wisdom that mom had to offer my son and I was that she “didn’t know” but that she loved him and that was all that mattered blah, blah, blah…

It turns out that a mixture of i-g-n-o-r-e, another look at (and nightly ritual read) of “Heather Has Two Mommies”, and some genuine one-on-one chats have thankfully nudged this “Daddy” stage into a phase of the past.  I’m not sure that I went about this the proper way, and there is plenty to be said about the need for some quality children’s literature on this subject, but I can tell you that I am “Mom” again. This was compounded just the other day when a song about moms was being sung on television.  I snuggled up around him and he leaned back against me in such a way that I felt we’d successfully settled the issue, and he’s been waking me up with a special smile and a “Good morning Mom” that is truly the best part of my waking up!  Each time he says the word “Mom” now it seems to be with renewed conviction.  I know the subject will once again arise in our lives and as they get older they’ll demand deeper and deeper explanations of all sorts of issues, but for now I feel pride in the fact that I’ve dealt with our first direct same-sex parenting issue and survived to tell the tale. Thank God I managed to navigate this one with my natural genitals in tacked.  Who knows what could be threatened next time!

Read more of Ali Polizzi through her blog, www.alirothlizzi.blogspot.com/?m=1

Photo courtesy of Ali Polizzi

Silke Bader – Australian Mum Making the News and Changing Adoption Laws

Silke Bader owner of Curve and LOTL magazines for lesbians

Silke Bader owner of Curve and LOTL magazines for lesbians

By Flavia Francesquini

How many lesbians do you know? This question was posed to me by a 92-year old woman who told me that when she was growing up in western Massachusetts she didn’t even know the word lesbian, and thinking that such women existed was far beyond her imagination. For the first 40-year of her life Ms. Cooper could neither name nor identify what made her feel utterly different and disconnected from everyone she knew. She told me that meeting another lesbian was like opening the window in a dark and lonely room.

Visibility has been one of our most reliable stepping-stones. We find strength in knowing that we are not alone. This is just one of the reasons I admire those who make it their mission to bring our community to light, to name us, and to help us claim our places in society by sending the clear message that yes, we are here and we are not going anywhere.

Silke Bader is the owner of Avalon Media, the Australian publisher of LOTL (Lesbians On The Loose, www.lotl.com) and now publisher of Curve (www.curvemag.com), a magazine that has been on our own stands for the last twenty years. Bader’s dedication to offering a platform to our community is remarkable. She is an amazingly savvy businesswoman and an avid advocate for adoption by same-sex couples in New South Wales, Australia. Bader was kind enough to allow us peak into her world.

Gay Parent magazine: Starting with the basics, where are you from and when did you move to Australia?

Silke Bader: I am originally from Germany and moved to Australia at the age of 22. I have lived in Australia for 24 years and have German and Australian citizenship.

GPM: How did you get started in the publishing business?

SB: In 1992 I started a lesbian travel agency, which I advertised in LOTL, Australia’s only lesbian magazine. This publication was very important for me as 90% of my clients were generated through my advertisement in LOTL. When the owner decided to sell the magazine, they approached me to see if I was interested in buying it, which I did in 1999. My publishing career was launched.

GPM: Before Avalon came along there weren’t many lesbian publications out there. What prompted you to embark on this “less traveled” road?

SB: Lesbian media is so important for equal rights. Lesbian media – being in print or online – offers visibility for lesbians. Mainstream publications don’t feature lesbian weddings, lesbian parenting or lesbian health issues. Without media there is no community. Media creates an infrastructure from businesses that target the community; it’s the key of communication. This energy of creating community has always attracted me and I have enjoyed building towards a better future.

GPM: How is Curve different from LOTL?

SB: There are two distinct differences, geography and content. Curve focuses on our readers in North America. LOTL focuses on readers in Australia. Content differs as LOTL is a free publication and has no budget for pro-active editorial, which means that LOTL features community based editorial. We focus on community events and groups so that if [a local group] needs to announce a meeting we will work with them to create an article and promote the event. Curve is for sale and therefore has an editorial budget and we commission independent journalists and contributors.

GPM: Have you always been “out” in the business world?

SB: Yes, I have always been out, which is unavoidable in my profession and niche market.

GPM: How did you meet your partner Tanya Sale and how did you two decide to start a family?

SB: I met my partner in January of 1999 through a business function in Sydney. LEZBIZ was an organization I started for lesbians in business. Tanya is in finance and was looking at targeting the lesbian demographic. When I met her I was 32 and really wanted to have children. Almost from the very beginning of our relationship did I tell her that I wanted a family. It was 4 years later when our two children came to us.

GPM: You have been very active in trying to raise awareness and changes to the adoption laws in Australia. In short, what were the laws regarding LGBT adoptions before and how have they evolved?

SB: In 2010, the New South Wales Parliament amended the Adoption Act 2000 to allow same-sex couples the opportunity to apply for adoption.  Same-sex de facto couples are now treated in the same way as opposite-sex de facto couples in adoption laws in New South Wales.  [De facto relationships, for those not familiar with the term, describe two people in a committed relationship but who are not legally married, that now includes same-sex couples.]

GPM: How old are your children?

SB:  Our children were 3 and 4 when they came to live with us and they are now 13 and 14 years old.

GPM: What advice can you give to other parents trying to adopt in Australia?

SB: We have not adopted the children yet, we are still in the process and our experience is very unique. We found that while working with the department of community services, the best attitude is to go with the flow and not fight the system.  But, as I said, our situation is very unique and this advice might not work for another family; sometimes fighting the system might be necessary.

GPM: When it comes to motherhood, what have been your biggest challenges?

SB: Not to lose my own identity. During all those years there were different types of challenges. I could list the individual stages and their challenges, but in the end my biggest struggle is to keep a sense of myself.

GPM: What advice do you have for other parents raising teenagers?

Left to right, Tanya Sale, Billie Jean King and Silke Bader

Left to right, Tanya Sale, Billie Jean King and Silke Bader. This photo was taken on the 40th Anniversary Olivia Cruise.

SB: Ours just hit teenage years and it’s a challenging time. Be in synch with your partner, be a united front, [practice] tough love and consequences. Be there for them when they come home from school, monitor digital devices and their friends. In the end it won’t be up to you anymore, but at least you have given [them] guidelines.

GPM: Tell me a little about the recent vacation you took with your family.

SB: We just completed an around the world trip, traveling in two months to Germany, Switzerland, New York, Orlando, Dallas, and we finished it off with an Olivia Cruise to the Bahamas. While the wounds are still fresh, we have decided not to travel with our children again while they are still teenagers. Looking at any of our pictures, [we] look stressed, unhappy and just exhausted! The fights and arguments we had every day, without a safe place to retreat, were challenging to say the least. At one point our son stormed off in the middle of a remote Swiss village in complete darkness. He almost got lost and it took us an hour to find him! Being together 24/7 for two months was the real issue for us. At home, when you have fights the children still go off to school or you go to work and the situation can defuse, but not when you travel.  We do know that our children will most likely only remember the highlights – us teaching them to snowboard and the white Christmas with their grandparents in Germany – they’ve never had a white Christmas in Australia. Also, the comedy club we visited in New York, and Harry Potter World in Orlando. Those memories will stick with them, which makes it all worthwhile.

While the world is still debating whether or not we are even entitled to have families, we steadily march towards equality, raising our children, doing our jobs, and becoming visible. By supporting those who promote and defend our community we ensure that our rights are not forgotten, our families are not yesterday news, and every kid knows a world they can identify with when they look in the mirror.

This article was first published in Gay Parent magazine’s May-June 2013 issue #88.

Photos courtesy of Silke Bader

Chely Wright and Lauren Blitzer Wright Parents to Twin Boys

Chely Wright with wife Lauren Blitzer at Lighthouse opening ceremonies

Chely Wright (right) and Lauren Blitzer Wright

By Angeline Acain

The following posting is from Chely Wright’s Facebook page:

Chely & Lauren Welcome Twins George Samuel and Everett Joseph

The country singer and her wife, music executive Lauren Blitzer Wright, welcomed identical twin sons on Saturday, May 18 in New York City, her rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Although they weren’t due until this summer, George Samuel and Everett Joseph — who are named for their great-grandfathers – are thriving, the rep says.

“We are grateful for all the amazing medical care and the love and support of family and friends,” Wright, 42, tells PEOPLE.

In 2012, Chely told Gay Parent magazine when asked about starting a family, “It’s been a dream for us and it’s one of the reasons we wanted to get married. We hope to be blessed with children and we will be working on it this year! We are thinking of becoming pregnant – one of us anyway.”

Read the complete interview with Chely Wright by ordering our May-June 2012 issue.

Photo courtesy of Parris Communications

Sean Hayes of Will & Grace Plays Single Gay Dad on NBC

Sean Hayes plays single gay dad on NBC's new comedy Sean Saves the World. Sami Isler plays his daughter Ellie.

Sean Hayes plays single gay dad on NBC’s new comedy Sean Saves the World. Sami Isler plays his daughter Ellie.

By Angeline Acain

“If you’re gay then how did you and mom have sex?” asks 14-year old Ellie. Although NBC has canceled it’s one-season-run gay dad TV show “The New Normal”. It has already produced a new gay dad comedy starring the boyish Sean Hayes from the hit show “Will & Grace”. According to 429 Magazine, Hayes’ role as Jack McFarland in “Will & Grace” is considered a milestone for LGBT media portrayals. Before “Will & Grace,” LGBT characters were rarely a part of the main cast, as many of them were given minor roles and LGBT themes were not prominent on television.

In “Sean Saves the World” Hayes plays Sean Isler, a divorced from a woman gay dad, raising a teenage daughter played by Sami Isler. Linda Lavin plays Sean’s “ready to give advice” controlling mother. “Sean Saves the World” will air Thursdays this fall.

See more: http://www.youtube.com/SeanSavesTheWorld

 

The Internet Brings a Sense of Gay Acceptance to One Pregnant Lesbian Couple

By Beverly Prince-Sayward

Andrea and Carissa Levine

Andrea and Carissa Levine

 

Instant videos streaming over the internet, Facebook status updates, Twitter tweets, cameras on cellphones, and instantly connecting with anyone anywhere all over the world have created a new social structure.  Society is no longer just who lives next door.  What does this mean for those who formerly found themselves on the outskirts of society?  Is the world more accepting of differences now because of this?

For one lesbian couple in West Hollywood, California, the internet, and more specifically Facebook, has given them a sense of acceptance and community they never imagined possible.  Andrea and Carissa Levine were originally east coast girls; Carissa grew up in the Boston area while Andrea laments to growing up “the only Jewish girl” in a small town in Pennsylvania.  While Carissa had more exposure to differences and in general a more accepting atmosphere growing up, Andrea felt like the leper amidst germ-a-phobes.  This feeling of being different and the outsider in her community never quite left Andrea until the internet.

Identifying as a bisexual woman, Andrea met Carissa while working in Boston.  She felt an immediate attraction and having spent the majority of her life thus far dating men, she decided it would be a great time to have a summer fling with a woman.  Little did she realize at the time that summer fling would turn into the love of her life.  When she updated her Facebook status to indicate her new love, she hesitated out of fear of how people would accept it.  To her surprise, her friends, even those ones from small town Pennsylvania, expressed happiness for her.

When the relationship started to become serious and Andrea realized she was truly in love with Carissa, she panicked.  Her memories of growing up the outsider, “the only Jewish girl” in her small town, still created fear in her.  She knew she wanted to be a mother more than anything else in the world and would she feel comfortable bringing a child into a gay family, knowing that child might be ostracized as different?  Her fears brought her to break up with Andrea and only after much soul searching and a little therapy did she realize her fears stemmed from her own childhood and do not reflect the reality of what her potential child would face.

Andrea and Carissa Levine

Andrea (left) and Carissa Levine

So she went back to an understanding Carissa and the relationship bloomed.  In March of 2011, Andrea and Carissa had a full blown wedding weekend in Palm Springs, California with friends and family.  They both had decided to move to West Hollywood as there were both job opportunities for them in the area and they figured it might be a more comfortable place for a lesbian couple to raise a family.

Just like the relationship status update in Facebook years earlier, Andrea was happily surprised to find well-wishers congratulating her on her marriage.  She was openly gay on-line and people completely supported her!  Unlike her childhood of having her head jokingly checked for horns one time by an unthoughtful teacher after returning from taking days off for a Jewish holiday, people didn’t treat her like she was weird, wrong, or different.  According to Andrea, “Facebook provided me with a lot of support that I didn’t count on.  It really was a big part of my healing process to realize that the world was changing and society is ready for gay marriages.”

So then, when the big news of having a child was to be shared, Andrea and Carissa decided to go online again and created a video titled “Magic”.  They shared their video on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/49765315) and Facebook.  Six thousand people watched their video and not only supported them, but shared sentiments of how lucky any baby would be to be born to two such creative, loving women!  They were overjoyed to realize that so many people were on their side.

The couple on their wedding day.

The couple on their wedding day.

When asked if she feared bringing a child into a gay family anymore, Andrea confessed that maybe not all her fears are completely gone, but she definitely feels like her child is being born into a more accepting world and one that is ready to embrace gay families.  She feels that “gay topics are coming out everywhere and pushing the envelope of acceptance.”  She admits that becoming a parent is pushing her to be more active in the gay community and showing her how much she wants her child to be exposed to the variety of families in the world.  “We’re not a LESBIAN couple with a child, even though we are of course. But we’re really just like any couple or person having a child. We all have more in common than we think. We’re parents who love our kids.”

So has the internet changed our world?  Has it opened the doors to more acceptance for gay families?  For Andrea and Carissa Levine, it most definitely has made them feel more accepted.

 

 

 

Photos by Katie Robertson

Copyright Gay Parent magazine

Egg-nauguration Day 2013

By Ben Suazo

David Kenney (left) and Ben Suazo's wedding, August 1, 2012. Their son Alexander (center) was their ring bearer.

David Kenney (left) and Ben Suazo’s wedding, August 1, 2012. Their son Alexander (center) was their ring bearer.

 

Isn’t it fitting that on a day that we celebrate Dr. King’s life that for a second time we are inaugurating an African-American president in Washington, D.C.?  On this historic morning my husband and I were woken up to the loud sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen.  Our son who recently learned how to make eggs on the stove was proudly making us breakfast.  “It’s an egg-nauguration day breakfast,” he proclaimed.  We are always dumbfounded on how he manages to make such perfect eggs. They’re always the right consistency, not too soggy and not too dry.  I think his secret is in his stirring technique.  He never seems to move away from the pan while constantly stirring the eggs as they cook.

With our stomachs full and satisfied we all sat down in front of the television to hear our President Obama’s inauguration speech.  “We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall”…Did he actually say Stonewall?…My husband and I turned to one another with great surprise.  But then several seconds later…”Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.“  WHAT?!!!

My eyes began to well up as I tried fighting back my tears. Our son looked at me in total confusion. My husband, as much as he could was no longer able to hold his tears any longer.  These were tears of surprise and joy. The tears of finally knowing you’ve been heard, that you’ve been recognized and acknowledged as a human being to the world.  Still appearing confused our son asked me why we were crying? He heard our president’s words yet he didn’t seem to understand our tears.  You see, in his young world of 12 being gay never mattered.  His question gave me hope for the future of this country.  But then, I turned to look at my “New York State legislated” husband and was reminded that our struggle is not over.

“Our journey is not complete…”

2013 Presidential Inauguration

Graphic highlighting the
2013 Inaugural speech by President Obama

 

Ben Suazo works as a marketing and administrative assistant for Gay Parent magazine. Photo courtesy of Ben Suazo.

Lori Ada Jaroslow and The Baby Project

By Flavia Francesquini

Lori Ada Jarowslow creator of The Baby Project

Author/performer Lori Ada Jarowslow (right)
adopted 16 year old Sam (left).
This is their adoption day photo.

 

The first lesbian movie I ever watched was Claire of the Moon. While in 1992 it was still exciting to see lesbians on the big screen, I hated the movie. I was young and just coming out then and although I wanted to see hot women making out, I didn’t want their sexuality to be the plot. I wanted the fact that they were lesbians to be something we understood and even appreciated, but not a big enough deal to become the actual reason for the movie. I longed for the day that our community would be portrayed in the main stream as we really are, people with hopes, talents, problems, dreams and everything else that puts us in the same category as anyone else, humans. Yes, we have come a long way!

Lori Ada Jaroslow subscribes to a similar concept. Her musical, The Baby Project, started out as a one-woman play and it has slowly grown into a wildly creative musical. The small ensemble of five incredibly talented actors take on several roles during the time that it takes us to get to know Dana Jacobson and her unique journey. Dana is a single, 40-something Jewish woman from New York who decides that Los Angeles would be a good place to settle down and start a family. As she starts on the winding road of medically-assisted fertility we are all taken along for the ride and the real question becomes what exactly constitutes family.

Jaroslow’s own life can be told as an adventure. She is one of those people that come to mind when we hear the words extremely talented. She sings, writes, acts, directs and teaches. Add to that list everything associated with raising a teenager and you start to get the picture. Originally from New Jersey, Jaroslow spent most of her life smack in the middle of the theatre district of New York City. About fourteen years ago she, like her character Dana, headed west with all her spunk, hopes and dreams.

While she perfected her skills by taking writing classes at UCLA and working her way into the LA theatre community, becoming a mother was always on her mind. She recalls, “I had tried insemination in NY and then again after I moved but it just didn’t work out. I started thinking about others ways I could become a mom. Adoption seemed like a good way to go.” As she started looking into adoption, life took a different turn and she postponed her plans for the next few years. However, a desire as strong as that of being a mom never really goes away and she found herself thinking that “if I don’t do this now I’ll be 90 by the time I have a kid!” This is when she got seriously involved with The Children’s Bureau in Los Angeles, which has been dedicated to helping children in need for over a century.

The process of becoming a legible foster parent can be grueling. Jaroslow compares that to her initial approach to becoming pregnant, “The agency is very thorough when making decisions and so are doctors… first there were people checking my hormone levels and then it was my annual income. Either way it can be a very humbling experience.”
The life of an artist can sometimes translate into periods of unstable income and that was one of the hurdles Jaroslow had to overcome, “I was very determined at this point so I got a steady job as a music teacher.”
Although she was originally looking for a kid between the ages of 5 and 11, she was presented with the records of 16 year old Samantha. Teens come with their own set of challenges, especially those who have bounced around in the system for a while, but the more she read Sam’s file the more convinced she became that this would become her child. Jaroslow was a substitute teacher then and it gave her a new perspective, “I was in touch with so many kids who needed help. There were kids having babies, kids on the streets… it impacted me!”

Samantha went to live with Jaroslow in August of 2011 and her adoption became finalized last July. As it turns out, this is a great match! Jaroslow loves being able to juggle her life at home with her life as an artist and things are happily moving forward.

Sam and her mother, Lori

 

In The Baby Project we can expect to hear – and feel – the impact of Jaroslow’s personal journey into parenthood. It is currently scheduled to open by the end of January 2013 but Jaroslow is still looking for funding. The Road Theatre (Jaroslow’s production company) received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for $20,000. “This is a huge honor,” says Jaroslow, “but the theatre is required to match the grant.” They need to raise $20,000 by December 20, 2012. All donations are tax deductible and no donation is too small.

Whether you are in the LA area or not, you can make sure this baby goes from crawling to walking. We need art and we need to be represented in all art forms. Dana Jacobson is the character I had been waiting for all these years! Her bisexuality is not what moves the story along, it is not the reason for the plot, it’s not even that big a deal. But her story is one that reflects the journey many of us have taken, whether we are straight or not, and that ends up being the point. Our community is still teaching the world what constitutes family. We need all the examples we can find to show that love is the main ingredient, not legally assigned roles. When we support this project, we support the concept that we are all out there in the big scary world looking for the same thing, acceptance.

For more performance information on The Baby Project (sample some of the show’s great music!) and how you can help (watch a video of Lori and Sam), go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1724395194/the-baby-project and http://projectbabymusical.com

Photos courtesy of Lori Ada Jaroslow

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