Choosing Children

August 27, 2010

Twenty-five years ago, I was 25 years old and just starting law school at the University of Utah. I was parenting my daughter Emily, who was 4 years old with her mom, and my former partner, Lori. While it was uncommon for LGBT friends in our circle to be planning for parenthood, it did not occur to Lori or me that we were at the forefront of what would be termed the “gayby boom.”

Lori had been a single parent raising the then 1-year-old Emily when we met. We were just living our lives unaware of a sea-change that was just beginning when it came to issues of parenting and our community. While we were living that life, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Deborah “Chas” Chasnoff and her then life and work partner, Kim Klausner, were in the midst of writing, producing, and directing their groundbreaking film documenting this burgeoning movement. Choosing Children captured on celluloid the choice a growing number of lesbians and gay men were making, a choice that seemed both counter-intuitive and revolutionary: to become parents.

Up until this generation, most LGBT folks were parents because they had been in earlier heterosexual marriages or relationships and then divorced and come out, or vice-versa. In doing so many of them faced hostility from family and former spouses and countless numbers lost or gave up any hope for custody of their children.

Beginning in the early 1980s, a new kind of parenting began emerging. Led by lesbians, often in biological partnership with gay men, women began choosing to have children as lesbian-identified parents. Now, 25 short years later, the groundbreaking idea that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender folks can also be parents seems, well, not so groundbreaking. In fact, it is now so commonplace that doing so is viewed by some in our community as assimilationist and pedestrian. Gotta love the march of progress.

But of course, what the fight for the right to be both LGBT and a parent is really about is the right to live a fulfilled and authentic life according to what gives joy and satisfaction to each of us. And in 1985 becoming a parent often meant rejection from both one’s family of origin and one’s chosen family in the lesbian or gay community. It also meant maintaining a pretense of heterosexuality or absolute legal vulnerability because almost every state prohibited openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from adopting, and few if any states provided any parental protections. It was a time of very little community or institutional support for you as a parent or for your child as the son or daughter of a queer parent.
Emily will be 30 next year. She is smart, lovely, creative, open-hearted, and generous. I can hardly believe I have a daughter who is near 30 years old. But then I also can hardly believe the progress we have made in the short time my oldest has been alive. Seeing Choosing Children again was inspiring for many reasons but most of all, it made me really stop and appreciate how far we have come and how much we owe those who blazed this trail uncertain of the terrain ahead of them. Filmmakers Chas and Kim, the parents featured in the film, our own founder Donna Hitchens—who provided legal expertise and commentary—did not intend to be pioneers, but they were, and we are all much better off because of the choices they made.

So please join us for the upcoming Choosing Children 25th Anniversary Screening and Reception, a film that is now a crucial and transformative story of our movement. Our evening together promises to be a celebration of how far we have come and a promise to not end our quest until every family is valued and safe.

Choosing Children 25th Anniversary Screening and Reception

What: Choosing Children 25th anniversary celebration to raise funds to permanently preserve this historical film on DVD
When: 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2010 (Program begins at 7 p.m.)
Where: Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $25 (regular admission); $10 (student admission)
Learn more!


Join Us for a Vigil in Honor of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

November 19, 2009

Please join us on Sunday, November 22, 2009, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm for a candlelight vigil at the intersection of Castro and Market Street. Please bring candles and join us in standing against hate and condemning the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado.

Brief statements will be made by LGBT and Latino community leaders.

A candlelight vigil will also be held in Oakland at the same time. It will be held at the Intersection of MacArthur blvd, Lakeshore, and Grand Ave in Oakland, CA. Click here for more information.

Kate Kendell in San Diego This Weekend!

November 6, 2009

SDCCI’ll be in San Diego this weekend and would love to see you!

I’ll be with the San Diego Democratic Club (SDDC) on Saturday for a reception and presentation about the state of the LGBT movement including the latest events impacting our civil rights struggle.

I hope you’ll bring your friends and family.

Saturday, November 7, 2009
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Noel-Baza Fine Art
2165 India Street (at Ivy), Little Italy
San Diego, CA

Wine & Hors d’oeuvres

$15 Suggested Contribution
All proceeds shared by the SDDC & NCLR

RSVP to Kate Lyon at 619.248.1079 or

For additional information contact Joann Mockbee, Media & Marketing Chair, at 619.200.8194 or

See you this weekend,
kate signature

NCLR 4th Annual Men’s Event Tonight!

September 14, 2009

Kate and the NCLR crew will be having a grand old time with some of our favorite supporters tonight. Please join us!

NCLR and EQCA 4th Annual Men’s Eventbarber chair
Monday, September 14, 2009
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Barber Lounge
854 Folsom Street (between 4th & 5th)
San Francisco, California
Click here for map

Shave and a haircut, two bits! What better way to show your support? We hope you’ll join us for our annual Men’s Event you’re guaranteed to have a good time. See all your old friends and meet some new. Come hear all the latest from Kate and Geoff.

Suggested donation: $100, payable at the door. Any donation amount gratefully accepted.

Event: Leonard Peltier All-Day Parole Vigil

July 28, 2009

Six-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Leonard Peltier has been called the Native American Nelson Mandela and is the most well-known American Indian political prisoner. Leonard was imprisoned in 1975 in a sham trial that was part of the US Government’s COINTELPRO efforts in the 1970s against the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Leonard first full parole hearing was held in 1993, at which time his case was continued for a 15-year reconsideration. Mr. Peltier has recently applied for and been granted a parole hearing. The hearing is scheduled for July 28, 2009 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

On that day, the American Indian Movement of San Francisco will hold a sunrise prayer in support of Leonard and an all-day vigil as we await word of his freedom.

Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held in prison for over three decades. This is the best opportunity Leonard will see during his entire period of incarceration to a fair review of his case before the US Parole Commission.

Please join with us in solidarity with Leonard, his family and relations, friends and supporters from around the world on this day.

There will be special invited speakers, and the media and press are welcome to cover the event.

In the meantime, please continue to call the White House comment line and ask that President Obama support Leonard’s parole.

For more information on Leonard’s case, please visit the following websites: