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PFLAG congrats Transportation Secretary on ‘cigar moment’

Buttigieg announced that he and his husband Chasten commenced growing their family. “We’re overjoyed to share that we’ve become parents!”

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg with husband Chasten (Photo Credit: Pete Buttigieg Twitter Account)

WASHINGTON – In a statement Tuesday on his personal Twitter account, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that he and his husband Chasten have commenced growing their family. “We’re overjoyed to share that we’ve become parents!” Buttigieg wrote.

This happy announcement was immediately greeted with congratulations from PFLAG, the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies, in an Instagram post:

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute also weighed in congratulating the couple;

“On the campaign trail, Pete and Chasten upended stereotypes and transformed perceptions for millions of Americans less familiar with LGBTQ people and their lives. As parents, they will now shine a national spotlight on LGBTQ families, who often face daunting challenges because of outdated policies that narrowly define what families are. Their adoption is an opportunity to have a national dialogue about creating a legal and legislative framework that supports all parents and children. Yet this is primarily about love and family, and we are absolutely thrilled for Pete and Chasten and know they will be fantastic fathers.”

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RaiseAChild- Fierce, fabulous, & oh yeah, “honey don’t forget the kids”

“What happens to being like a fierce, fabulous, gay? All of a sudden, I’m living the life my parents lived.”

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Courtesy of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews

LOS ANGELES – RaiseAChild over the past decade has become the national leader in the recruitment and support of LGBTQ+ and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and fostering-to-adopt, to meet the needs of the approximately 440,000 children caught up in the U.S. foster care system.

This year in celebration of its tenth anniversary, the LA-based organization is holding its RaiseAChild HONORS.

One of the organization’s success stories is a theatre arts couple, Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, a husband-and-husband team of writers and composer-lyricists whose contributions to musicals and the world of Broadway have been acclaimed.

In 2019, the venerable theatre industry trade publication Playbill, profiled this dynamic couple noting, “The two come from opposite backgrounds: Matthews is an African-American Christian man from Pittsburgh, Gould is a white Jewish-American man from New York City. As they grappled with the gulf between their respective roots, they found common ground during a trip to Germany when they took Matthews’ grandfather, who had liberated Dachau, to visit the hallowed ground for his 80th birthday. Gould had lost ancestors to the Holocaust. Suddenly it hit them: blacks, Jews, gays, all would have been killed on that land 70 years ago. The branches of their family histories are intertwined. And so they began what would become The Family Project, a musical told in vignettes as a song cycle.

Courtesy of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews

But when the theatres are dark this theatrical power-couple are engaged in what Gould told the Blade in a recent interview, “What happens to being like a fierce, fabulous, gay? Who just travels, and has dogs and a fierce life? All of a sudden, I’m living the life my parents lived. I thought we were supposed to be special.”

The life as a family and as parents has somewhat altered things around the their home. Asked about the impact being foster parents has had on their home life? Matthews fired back; “Loud.”

Gould chimed in saying, “The Black Christian and the white Jew have been joined by a quarter-Armenian, quarter-Ukrainian, half-Russian foster son, Galileo, and a  half-Cambodian, half-remains to be seen, little boy, Apollo. Those are our two foster sons.”

I mean, obviously, we are married, we have two kids now. But I also think that we realized we didn’t have to make all the same choices that our parents made. That we could still live a fierce, fabulous life while having all of the fierce fabulousness of being a parent, and being married. That has been a really important discovery – that that life is not about either-or,” he added.

His husband offered the background adding how how their family was melded together through RaiseAChild;

There was a big campaign all over LA for LGBTQ+ family members to become foster parents – again, 45,000 kids need people to be parents. The party – it was a party, go figure – was at Fred Segal on Melrose. [ A famed LA retailer ] Could it be any gayer? Hosted by Alec Mapa and his husband. And we went to Fred Segal, we’re all dressed up and they’re passing champagne, Alec Mapa is doing a set; that was how they got us to be foster parents,” Matthews said.

“Alec Mapa was so funny that night – he and his husband already had a foster son who they had adopted. He was making light of something that feels so heavy. I think it was really good for us to see Alec do that thing. That was the start of us getting involved with Raise a Child,” he added.

Talking about their musical, ‘The Family Project’, Gould noted;

That is a documentary musical we wrote about our families. It’s set up to answer the question of “how does a Black Christian gay man and a white Jewish gay man – that come from these legacies of Holocaust and slavery – how do we learn how to, at the most basic level, get along?”  Because we really are two different cultures that don’t necessarily speak the same language. How do we now form a new language that we can speak to one another in?”

Reflecting for a moment Matthews offered, “It’s also about our generation. We’re the first generation of ‘free’ gay men, right? Like the generation ahead of us, they couldn’t get married, so they weren’t getting married, or they were getting married in secret. We were the first generation that was like, yep, you can get married, and you can have kids!

The musical is about trying to tackle the heteronormative expectations that we place on ourselves. It goes into all different places of not just culture – racial culture, religious culture – but also American culture.”

His husband said that their theatrical careers and also parenting is something that they have found is a very workable part of their daily lives. A commitment that Gould noted on becoming parents, “… took us another five years to actually go through with the full training, and actually become a parent.”

Courtesy of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews

Of immediate concern though to this fierce and fabulous parental unit is the approaching all-time important holiday of Halloween. “You cannot imagine how much Halloween we’ve been talking about in this house. Galileo insisted on being a spider. Nana and Tata sent him a spider costume, he’s freaking out – he’s so excited. He asks everyday, “is it Halloween?” Matthews said.

Asked what their plans were- beyond trick-or-treating? Gould wryly remarked; “We’re going to survive.”

Editor’s note: If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or wish to adopt, RaiseAChild has developed a system to find – and then support – people who are interested in becoming foster and foster-to-adopt parents. As a result, RaiseAChild out-performs the national standard by advancing 23% of prospective foster and adoptive parents from inquiry to certification.

RaiseAChild produces foster and adoption informational programs to support, educate, and motivate prospective parents. These events feature a diverse panel of parents who share their foster and adoption experiences and advice with new prospective parents.

The RaiseAChild Parent Advocate Program is a unique and complimentary service designed to advance prospective foster and adoptive parents with their family-building goals. Our program includes personal mentor services, a nationwide referral network, and proprietary software case management program that enables RaiseAChild to follow and support parents throughout the process. From orientation to training and throughout the child matching process, our Parent Advocates are there to assist with your concerns and questions.

To learn more visit RaiseAChild at https://raiseachild.org/we-build-families/ or email
[email protected]. If you are in the greater Los Angeles area the number to call is (323) 417-1440.

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Writing and editing by Brody Levesque with research by Alejandro Cervantes

 

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The stork delivered- Chasten & Pete are parents welcoming two kids

The happy couple delivered the news Saturday via their social media accounts

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten with their children (Photo Credit: Pete Buttigieg)

WASHINGTON – In a happy tweet and on Instagram Saturday morning, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten announced the arrival of their children Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg into their home and lives.

The couple first announced in an August tweet that they had become parents and were awaiting the necessary completion of the process.

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Considering surrogacy? Virtual conference May 15-16 offers guidance for prospective gay dads

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If you are among the many gay men who dream of parenting a child, and are considering surrogacy as an option, this weekend brings an opportunity you should not pass up.

For many such men, the financial burden involved in such a process is often an obstacle – but what many of them don’t know is that financial help is available for gay men when they choose to have children via surrogacy, if they know where to look. Fortunately, there’s an organization called Men Having Babies (MHB), which is holding its annual West Coast conference May 15-16, 2021, and it wants to teach you everything you need to know, with panels offering guidance on how to receive discounts, budgeting, how to attain surrogacy benefits from employers, and how to work with your insurance. 

MHB has been holding their annual West Coast conference in San Francisco for the past 7 years, but this year – in collaboration with the Our Family Coalition – it is offering the program this year in a virtual format.  It presents a rare opportunity for would-be gay fathers to get comprehensive guidance on surrogacy in an online-version of MHB’s signature “bootcamp” weekend-long conference, and attendees are expected not only from across the United States, but even from around the world. Registrants already include gay men from over a dozen states, and international locations including Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. 

The event will utilize the specialized REMO platform, successfully used by MHB previously in multiple conferences around the world. The platform allows for general presentations, breakout sessions, expo “tables” and effective interaction. Using feedback from past attendees and the MHB team’s 7 years of prior experience, the organization has been able to plan its most comprehensive virtual conference to date, with more panels and interactive opportunities than ever before. Even so, MHB West is scheduled to be MHB’s final virtual conference, as the organization has announced the resumption of in-person conferences starting this fall. 

The May program is slated to include interactive sessions with medical, legal and financial experts, as well as practical advice on everything gay men need to know when considering surrogacy:

  • How to get your surrogacy journey started with online resources, member discounts, and financial assistance from MHB
  • Specific surrogacy budgeting considerations
  • How to evaluate various surrogacy destinations
  • Legal considerations
  • Insurance issues
  • The impact of Covid-19 
  • Surrogacy benefits at your workplace
  • Medical aspects of surrogacy
  • Opportunities to meet and learn about surrogacy providers that support gay men

In addition, MHB’s popular Personal Stories panel will include such familiar faces as YouTubers Bart Rose (“Two Men and A Baby”) and Daniel Marzoa (“The Marzoa Family”), who will share their personal surrogacy stories and answer questions from prospective dads.

And just for the record, though the event is organized by gay parenting organizations, non-gay prospective parents are also welcome, and will no doubt highly benefit from it as well.

“Albert Einstein said, ‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change,’ and MHB changed in response to Covid by utilizing REMO for virtual conferences,” says Dr. Susanna Park of San Diego Fertility Center, one of the conference’s Platinum sponsors. “REMO is surprisingly fun to use! Covid social restrictions do not mean you have to pause your dream of having a family. We just need to change accordingly.”

Brad Spencer, from Same Love Surrogacy (another Platinum conference sponsor, which has also joined MHB in several virtual conference settings this past year), adds, “MHB virtual conferences through the REMO platform provide intended parents throughout the world the opportunity to meet best in class Surrogacy & IVF professionals. In just a short 2-day conference, intended parents can begin their journey to parenthood even during the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Proceeds from the conference’s sponsorship fees benefit MHB’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), which provides dozens of prospective parents with over a million dollars’ worth of cash grants, discounts and free services on an annual basis, from over 100 leading service providers. The majority of the 26 exhibitors at the MHB West virtual conference are supporters of GPAP, as well as the organization’s Membership Benefits Program, including Gold conference sponsors: Circle Surrogacy, IARC Surrogacy, California Fertility Partners, ORM Fertility, Fertility Specialists of Texas, Creative Family Connections, Simple Surrogacy, Northwest Surrogacy Center, Western Fertility Institute, SurrogateFirst, HRC Fertility, Fertility & Surgical Associates of California, Los Angeles Reproductive Center, Center for Surrogate Parenting, Creative Conception, and Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine.

You can register for the Men Having Babies virtual West Coast conference via the organization’s website, here. Jump on it, though, because the REMO platform has a limited capacity and the event is expected to sell out.

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