Skip to comments.SAME-SEX PARENTS 'Gayby boom' in Houston - City a favorite spot... to raise families
Posted on 10/16/2006 2:09:02 PM PDT by weegee
'Gayby boom' in Houston
City a favorite spot for gays and lesbians to raise families
Four-month-old Jamison Dillemuth is too young to know the difference, but he looks like a mix between both of his mothers. When Jamie Dillemuth, 29, and Baby Djojonegoro, 38, decided several years ago to start a family, they asked Djojonegoro's brother to be a sperm donor for the child Dillemuth would carry.
"The child will be part of us, both of us, not just Jamie," said Djojonegoro, who moved to Houston from Indonesia two decades ago when she entered college. Dillemuth, who is originally from the San Francisco Bay area, moved to Houston in 2000. "It does have the stereotype of the cowboy town, but it has pockets of interesting, nonmainstream culture and people," Djojonegoro said. "And of course, in Montrose we feel very comfortable."
Despite its conservative atmosphere voters here overwhelmingly helped pass a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, and Harris County judges tend to frown upon gay adoptions Houston has become a favorite settling-down spot for same-sex couples raising children.
A study based on the most recent U.S. Census data found that gay couples here and in two other Texas cities San Antonio and Fort Worth-Arlington are more likely to have children than almost any other place in the country.
According to the study published in The Gay and Lesbian Atlas, considered the most comprehensive demographic look at where same-sex couples are distributed across the nation, the three Texas metropolitan areas rank nationally in the top five cities with the highest percentage of gay couples raising children. San Antonio is first, Houston is fourth, and Fort Worth-Arlington is fifth. The numbers include children who are being raised by a biological parent living with a same-sex partner and those adopted by gay couples.
Nationally, an estimated 1 in 4 same-sex-couple households reports having children younger than 18 living in the home, according to Gary J. Gates, a researcher who co-authored the Atlas.
Cultural norms "In general, same-sex couples and their kids live where other people have kids," Gates said. Because of cultural norms, minority same-sex couples are more likely to have children than their white counterparts, which may partially explain why gay couples in Texas a state with a large Hispanic population are more likely to have children, Gates said.
Houston lawyer Mitchell Katine, who together with his partner is raising two adopted children, sees a dichotomy in Texas between the conservative political climate and what is happening socially. "I have to realize that a lot of people don't understand how two men who love each other" can also want children, said Katine, who defended two gay Houston men whose case led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring the state's sodomy law unconstitutional. "As the children get older and they start asking more questions, I'm expecting that we'll have a few questions that mommy-and-daddy families don't get," Katine said. "I don't think they're going to be difficult to answer, but I do expect that my children are going to have a few extra bumps in the road."
Two baby booms Children with gay parents mostly fall into two groups: those with parents in previous heterosexual relationships and those with parents who formed families either through reproduction technologies, such as artificial insemination, or through adoption.
In recent decades there have been two baby booms among gays or "gayby booms" said Beth Teper, executive director of the San Francisco-based COLAGE, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. The first happened in the 1980s when lesbians began using those reproduction techno- logies. The second boom came in the 1990s when more gay men began adopting children.
Judges' willingness to approve adoptions by gay couples varies across Texas, and many gay couples don't risk going through Harris County's conservative courts. Katine adopted his children through a San Antonio judge, as did Joe and Stephen Milano, partners of 15 years who are raising two adopted children, Ruben, 5, and Alex, 3.
What bothers Stephen Milano the most about the gay-adoption debate is the "idea that gay people are somehow morally deficient and are, therefore, incapable of raising children. Or gay people are not stable and cannot, therefore, provide stable, loving homes that children need."
The families of gay people, many times, "lack the luxury to be as complicated or as dysfunctional as other families," said Abigail Garner, 34, an advocate for children of gay parents and the author of Families Like Mine. She also runs familieslikemine.com.
There's pressure to be perfect because the consequences a parent might face losing custody of a child can be real, Garner said.
Even a decade ago, the children of gay parents may never have expected their family to fit the "mainstream American family image," said Ramona Faith Oswald, an associate professor of family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Legislative battles in recent years have propelled same-sex issues into the national consciousness, and "kids are listening and making their own sense of it," Oswald said.
Chloe Tippet, 15, who is being raised by two lesbians, has overheard the issue of gay marriage at Bellaire High School.
She said she once heard a female classmate question a boy's sexuality because he said he supports same-sex marriage.
"I guess some people think that anybody who thinks that gays and lesbians should have rights must be a gay or lesbian person, and it's kind of silly," she said.
"Sometimes, people will ask me, they'll see Mom and Karen together and they'll be like, 'Are your parents gay?' " Chloe said. She answers, "Well, yeah, they are."
Chloe doesn't argue about it. All she asks is that they respect her mother's choice. That usually ends the questions.
"I don't make them carry my flags for me," Michele DeChant, 49, said of Chloe and Tristan, 18, her children from a previous marriage. "You don't have to be the poster child for gay parents. They'll have their own battles to fight."
No evidence of unfitness To April Gonzalez, her father's partner of 11 years, Wes Karnes,has been "just like a regular mother" while her own biological father, Mike Gonzalez, has been a typical dad, she said.
"In other people's bigoted minds, having gay parents I'm not a normal person. I can't be raised as a normal child. There's going to be something mentally wrong with me, or they're going to turn me gay," said April, 17, a University of Houston freshman. "I'm just the same as everybody else."
The American Psychological Association takes the position that there is no empirical evidence that gay adults are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation.
A review of research suggests that the development, adjustment and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents are not markedly different from those of children with heterosexual parents, according to the association.
Taunted about parents When April was younger and the family lived in the Port Arthur area, her two dads kept quiet about their relationship.
There were moments living in small-town East Texas when April didn't want Wes coming along when her father picked her up from a friend's house. And in middle school, she was taunted by classmates about her parents' sexuality.
The stress "didn't come from us being gay and living our lives as a family. The stress came from other people telling her she has a faggot for a father," Mike Gonzalez said.
Living in Houston in recent years has been great, he said. Mike has been active in a gay softball league, and the family became active in the Houston Gay and Lesbian Parents group.
April, who graduated from high school a year early in May, said that in retrospect, having two fathers has "made me a stronger and more mature person."
"for gays and lesbians to raise families"
Yeah, right. Families. I dont know what to call it but I sure wont call it that.
There's probably not a turkey baster to be found with 20 miles of these freaks of nature.
"There's only two things that come from Texas...."
I think it's a crying shame that a child has to be involved in the deperate attempt of a homosexual to prove to themselves that he or she is "just like everyone else" by raising a family.
and the Steers are leaving!!!!
My wife and I and another couple went to a restaurant once and I could tell that both my wife and my friend's wife were drooling over the waiter. Just to get them fired up I said to both of them "He lives in Montrose" and they both said "No way!"
So Tims's wife tells him we're new in town and if he knew of any interesting things to do. He said, "Well, I live in Montrose and..."
Should change name to something more serious, like Baha LaMahaBah.
First Katrina evacuees... now this!
Houston is dooooooomed!
Even worse were the lesbian parents (not from Texas) who the media championed who concocted to try to raise a deaf daughter of their own genes.
They deliberately tried to conceive a deaf child. That ranks as child abuse in my book.
You left off the Texans.
I could've told you Houston was doomed after we elected 12 YEARS of Clinton cronies to office as mayor.
Houston has a gay softball league?
i like latrina toiletta
My wife and I used to eat at the Black Eyed Pea on West Gray, just north of the Montrose area. Our favorite game was "spot who's straight".
I would like to know exactly how the brother contributed sperm. Did he contribute through a sperm bank? Did he contribute sperm but not the natural way of doing so? Did he have the "hots" for his sister's lesbian lover and contribute in the way most of us are familiar with?
Yep, the baby is the flesh and blood of both parents this way.
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