HospitalIt all started back in 2006. My son was a year-and-a-half old and I knew that he'd be our only child. I was fine with this—I'd only ever wanted one child. What I wasn't prepared for was the desire to be pregnant again. My pregnancy wasn't perfect. It had its ups and downs, but overall it was amazing. The concept of having a life in you, sustaining that life with yours; it's simply incredible. For us though, it wasn't going to happen again. But did it have to be the end? I saw online, the word "surrogate." I wondered what that meant and did a lot of research about it. I found out that I'd have no genetic ties (as a gestational surrogate) to the baby. I could do that. It's not like I wanted a baby, I just enjoyed the pregnancy part. I wasn't going to be using my uterus for anything else now, why not give someone else a chance at the wonderful gift a baby can bring? I talked it over with my fiancée and he was supportive. He knows that when I do things, I make sure to do my "homework". He fully trusted my decision. So I contacted an agency. Sadly, it wasn't my time yet. My son was still nursing and I planned on self-weaning, so I had to wait. I would soon learn that "hurry up and wait" is a common term in the surrogacy world.

My son was done nursing about a year later, so I contacted the agency again. They were more than happy to help me and I got started on everything I needed to do. I filled out lots of paperwork, flew down to the clinic to be examined and tested, and had psychological testing done. After I was cleared, they gave me profiles of potential intended parents (IP's) to check out. Here comes the hard part. In the surrogacy world, there are many different people who need the use of a surrogate. Which one would I choose? While I didn't have a particular type in mind, I seem to gravitate towards gay men more than others, or maybe it was the agency and the profiles they were showing me? Either way, I was just fine with it. I picked out a set of IP's and we set up a match meeting. We met and we both loved each other- I wanted to help them. Unfortunately, it's never that easy. In surrogacy there are so many ways for things to go wrong. In our case, the embryos were just never good enough to continue growing. Three unsuccessful transfers later, we parted ways. The agency decided to part ways with me too. It wasn't me, they said, it was that no IP's wanted me. I felt like damaged goods. It took some time to get over what happened. It took me talking to others and understanding genetics a little better. I had to realize that it wasn't me. I was not the problem, it was the embryos. I decided to move forward.

At this point, I wanted to help more than ever. I tried signing up with a few different agencies but they all turned me down because of my past. Three failed transfers are not good for the reputation, even when they know it's not your fault. I can't blame them- IP's put a lot of money into this process and they want something that works. I decided to post an ad on a surrogacy forum. It worked. I met and was matched with a wonderful couple. Their situation was a little different. They wanted to co-parent, a gay man and his best friend (a woman). They were both so sweet and caring; I knew their baby would be loved. Life seems to like to throw me curve balls though and once again, we had a failed transfer. It was embryo quality striking again, but this time it was due to age. We all knew it might happen, but when you are in surrogacy, you always hope for the best. We only had that one transfer and the intended mother (best friend) decided not to move forward. After a few months of thinking about it, although the intended father wanted to move forward with an egg donor, he also decided this wasn't the right time for him.

So, I was at a loss again. I had to decide if I truly wanted to continue or just stop. A lot of surrogates in my shoes would have given up. That's definitely a lot of loss to take and it really does start to hurt your self-esteem. You second guess yourself and your body. I knew it wasn't me though. My body was fine. I knew I could do it. I placed another ad and received some emails from different agencies and people. Nothing seemed like the right fit. One day I received the email I'd been waiting for. It was from two gay men who were married and had decided that they wanted a baby together. Their email was funny and sarcastic, just my type of humor. They were perfect. We all met for lunch, to get to know each other a little better and we decided to work together. I knew this time would be different. And it was.

Our relationship was amazing. It was like we'd been friends for forever. We all decided working with an agency was the best and quickest option to get things moving along. And we did things fast! From match meeting to transfer was a quick four months, and only that long because the egg donor contract took a little longer than it should have. The guys decided that the best course of action was to get the embryos genetically tested. Why waste money on multiple transfers when you can know fairly quickly which ones will most likely work and which ones won't? It was brilliant. We transferred one beautiful boy embryo and after 5 long years of failure, I was pregnant.

Some women go into surrogacy knowing that they want a "business" type relationship, some women want a friendship. I was the latter. My guys didn't fail me. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't hear from them. A simple hi, a joke or talking about life in general- we talked all the time. I was always keeping them updated about the progress of the pregnancy and they were able to come up to a few appointments throughout the 9 months. I got to visit them for an ultrasound and baby showers. We had fun getting to know each other and getting to know their son.

At 40 weeks and four days, they got to meet their son. He was like a perfect puzzle piece to fit in their family. They took to fatherhood well and enjoyed every moment. It was the best feeling ever for me. I'm proud I was able to help them with their dream, and they also helped me with mine. We still talk, not daily, but as often as they can. I see updates on Facebook about their son and I've been to visit a few times. His first birthday has come and gone and he is growing up to be the happiest toddler. Being able to see their family and know that I played a part in that happiness is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Now I'm excited to be on the path to help create another family.

 

Article orignally pubished at The Handsome Father. Republished with permssion.

Join the NOH8 Campaign in FRESNO, CA on SATURDAY, JULY 19TH for an OPEN PHOTO SHOOT !

HOSTED AT:

HOLIDAY INN FRESNO - AIRPORT
VALLEY CENTER BUILDING
5090 EAST CLINTON WAY
FRESNO, CA 93727

2:00PM - 5:00PM

 

* COME CAMERA READY *
* WEAR WHITE *
* POSE & MAKE A STATEMENT! *

NOH8 Posing Fees/Costs:

SOLO PHOTOS .......... $40.00
COUPLE & GROUP PHOTOS ......... $25.00 per person

The NOH8 Campaign accepts cash and major credit cards only. Fees cover services & processing for oneretouched digital print only (made available through www.NOH8Campaign.com) and do not include physical prints.

Scheduled to begin at 2:00PM and end at 5:00PM, the open photo shoot will take place in the Valley Center Building at the Holiday Inn Fresno - Airport. A special thanks goes out to the team at Holiday Inn Fresno - Airport for graciously providing us the space to set up!

You do not need to RSVP to attend (though Facebook RSVP's help give us an idea of how many supporters to prepare for); the photos are first come, first served and we move quickly! Anyone taking a photo is asked to wear a plain white shirt to match the look of the signature NOH8 photos.

When you arrive, you will receive a numbered model release to fill out, followed by having your NOH8 tattoo applied. We will call numbers throughout the day, and your corresponding release number will signal your time to line up to have your photo taken.

We always do our best to make sure that everyone in line by the end of the photo shoot (5:00PM) has a chance to pose for their photo - and up to this point, we haven't ever had to turn anyone away!

Celebrity Photographer & NOH8 Co-Founder Adam Bouska will be working around the clock to photograph 5-10 frames for each person that comes through. The final selection he chooses will be retouched and made available to you in approximately 8 weeks through the website (timeline subject to change): www.NOH8Campaign.com

INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING? E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact information and make sure to note which shoot you'd like to volunteer for!

supreme-court-rainbow-250x250A quick flash back, it is just over the one year anniversary of the Windsor and Prop 8 decisions from the US Supreme Court, as well as the 11 year anniversary of the Lawrence v. Texas case.

And they were all very close calls, a fact that’s easy to forget now, looking back.

Keen News Service reports:

Kennedy’s words in both Lawrence and Windsor have been repeated in numerous court decisions since. And the powerful influence of words and decisions has almost obscured the fact that they were narrow victories.

In Lawrence, Kennedy wrote for just five of the six justices who considered sodomy laws to be unconstitutional; while Justice Sandra Day O’Connor provided a sixth vote in concurrence with the judgment, she did not join Kennedy’s opinion to the extent that it overruled the 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (which had upheld state sodomy laws). O’Connor said she would simply strike Texas’ law on equal protection grounds. (“Moral disapproval of this group, like a bare desire to harm the group, is an interest that is insufficient to satisfy rational basis review under the Equal Protection Clause.”)

In Windsor, Kennedy wrote for just five justices. One of those five, Elena Kagan, had been on the bench for only two and a half years and apparently had to recuse herself from a similar DOMA challenge that had reached the high court sooner because she likely discussed it while serving as Solicitor General. If the court had taken that first case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the court likely would have rendered a tie vote and DOMA would still be in effect in most states.

gayblooddrive
There is a constant need for blood & donors are essential in maintaining an adequate supply. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay & bisexual men from donating blood. On July 11th, a nationwide blood drive will take place to bring attention to the ban & help save lives. Gay & bisexual men will show their willingness to contribute by bringing allies to donate in their place. This grassroots effort to create change cannot happen without YOU.  You may donate as an ally (Non MSM person) on your own, even if you do not have a Gay or Bisexual friend or family member to bring with you.

In Fresno, the event is happening 8am to 6pm at:
Central California Blood Center
4343 W Herndon Ave, Fresno, CA 93722

Make an appointment to donate: http://goo.gl/138f9a

RSVP on their Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/234349656774312/
Sign up to get involved: http://gayblooddrive.com/

Appointments are STRONGLY encouraged.  If you choose to attend without an appointment, you may have a wait.

This event is also happening in Visalia, please read more at: https://www.facebook.com/events/863234793704615/

The Gay Youth CornerIt has been quite some time since I wrote a blog article, and seeing that certain *cough* other authors have beaten me to the Indiana ruling that found my home state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, I thought I ought to write something before Scott revokes my access to the blog. Nice to see you guys again!

So we all know that the LGBT movement would be nowhere near where it is today if it wasn’t for the advent of the Internet. Not only has the Internet decreased the ignorance in society surrounding LGBTs, such as the myth that only gays get AIDS, but it has also provided an outlet for LGBT individuals to express themselves and get support from people who are in the same situation. The Gay Youth Corner, or the GYC for short, was established for that very purpose.

The GYC was originally established quite some time ago. I discovered it when I was eleven years of age and first accepting the fact that I was gay. (That was five years ago) I left the GYC after religion (*collective groan*) had me convinced that such activities as conversing with other homosexuals would send me to straight Hell. (and, I was pretty sure I was too young for the site anyway) Fast Forward a few years. I had returned to the GYC to discover that the site’s features had been reduced to a few mere chatrooms. I couldn’t login with my original account. Not too long afterwards, the website was shut down with promises of a revamp… that was in 2012.

Now, two years after the first promise of a revamp, it looks like the GYC miiiiggght be returning… again… maybe… hopefully. They revamped their greeting page (thegyc.com) and posted a new profile picture on their Facebook page:

Posted June 21st, 2014

Previous members of the original GYC have been very frustrated with the stalled development of the GYC, mainly because most of them will be too old to join when (if?) the GYC reopens. However, one must imagine the large legal hurdles the owner of the GYC must make to ensure that the GYC is a safe site to use. One can only imagine how much illegal activity could take place on a website like the GYC, not only regarding pedophiles, but also other teenagers who might use the GYC for certain sexual advances. (Which is still illegal in many jurisdictions, from my knowledge) Also, as a fellow web developer, these things take a lot of work. Seriously, when I develop, it takes me at least two hours just to plan the initial layout of the website.

Only time will tell whether or not the GYC is released to the public. I really do hope it does, but it isn’t foolish to assume that the GYC might die like many other great web projects on the big hunk o’ wires we call the Internet.

My name is Prometheus. I am a closeted teenager, LGBT and Secularist activist. I live in the great (questionably) red state of Indiana. (a.k.a. Cornland) I am proud to be an LGBT person. Thank you for reading my article. Please comment and share with your friend!

-Prometheus

a.k.a. Zion Moulder, Kendallville, Indiana

Oh God, I hope no one from my family comes across this!

Our Pride Shop selection

We're proud to announce that our online store is now available!  You can pick out any item and have it delivered right to your door!  The same great prices you've seen us offer during pride and other events.  Please browse our store.  You can always find it in the future on our site menu, listed as "Store".

Thank you for supporting Gay Fresno, all funds raised go to helping our all volunteer organization.

dadt9You thought DADT had been repealed? Well it was – but not for transgender troops. Towleroad.com reports:

In the military, coming out as transgender still disqualifies you for service, a subject that USA Today tackles in a new article on the issue: “I was at the Pentagon when Secretary Hagel was saying we’re here to celebrate LGBT service,” says a transgender Army sergeant who joined the Army as a woman. The sergeant spoke on condition of anonymity to stay in the service. “I’m kind of looking around for the rest of Ts,” the soldier says, referring to transgender troops. Other troops could celebrate marriage equality, the sergeant says, but not the transsexuals… Because of the current DADT policy, it is unknown how many transgender troops are serving in the military. About 700,000 Americans (0.3% of the total population) are transgender, according to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Like their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, many transgender soldiers have served (and continue to serve) the country admirably in the US Military. And like gays and lesbians, they should be allowed to do so openly.

 

ode-192x250The makers of the Oxford Dictionary say the passage of marriage equality in the UK is ushering in a change in the dictionary definition of the word. Gay Star News reports:

The world’s most renowned dictionary of the English language has said the definition of ‘marriage’ will change to include gay people. The home of the Oxford English Dictionary, England, has recently passed a law allowing same-sex couples to get married. While the definition and the law did not change simultaneously, the brains behind the words say they will monitor how the word marriage changes over the next year.

However:

‘It’s worth pointing out that, as the OED is distinct from other dictionaries in being a historical record of the language, meanings of the past will remain, even while language changes and new ones are added.’

So foes of marriage equality need not fear – it’s still the same old word you’ve always known – just with some new additions.

rFamily-Flyer

In the midst of court cases and media battles, one group has taken a step out of the political mayhem and prepared a week of family friendly activities for the LGBT community.  What makes this event unique is that it is centered on LGBT families, including their extended families, children, and friends.  R Family Vacations, along with their partner Family Equality Council, presents Families on the West Coast. This writer is quite pleased that the event-coordinators have chosen a venue right here in the Central Valley – The Wonder Valley Ranch Resort.

Wonder Valley Ranch Resort offers a number of family-friendly activities and is located just a short distance from several beautiful parks and natural areas.  Pine Flat Lake is just a stone’s throw from the resort, but with a little more effort you can find yourself chugging along in the Sierra Foothills through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  The Resorts activities list are many (swimming, yoga, paintball, and more), but the one that tourists and locals always love is horseback riding.  With a variety of horses and scenic bridle trails, a rider is guaranteed a fun-filled, peaceful ride through the countryside. R Family Vacations could not have chosen a better place to hold their event.

For more information on the event, costs, and registration, contact Gregg Kaminsky at R Family Vacations by phone at 917-522-0985 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.You may also visit their website at http://www.rfamilyvacations.com/

James Obergefell has lived with the love of his life for 20 years before they married two weeks ago.

They also hoped to be buried next to each other, to spend eternity together, but the state of Ohio and his spouse's relatives won't let him – because he married another man, John Arthur.

Last week, the two men sued Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Cincinnati doctor responsible for approving death certificates. Obergefell and Arthur asked a judge to overturn existing Ohio law – which doesn't recognize same-sex marriage – to allow Obergefell to be listed as surviving spouse on Arthur's death certificate and for it to show that Arthur's marital status at death as married.