10 Facts About LGBT Families

(ref: All Children Matter study, http://children-matter.org )

Here are some of the findings about LGBT families that come from a research study authored by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, Center for American Progress, COLAGE, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and the National Association of Social Workers in October, 2011.

  1. Roughly 2 million children are being raised in Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) families.
  2. Children raised by same-gender couples are twice as likely to live in poverty.
  3. Same-gender parents raising children are more racially and ethnically diverse than mixed gender couples. 59% of same-gender parents are white versus 73% for mixed-gender parents.
  4. Same-gender couples in the South are more likely to raise children than same-gender couples elsewhere in the county. (Interestingly, the same states with the most restrictive laws against LGBT people also seem to have the most number of same-gender couples raising kids.)
  5. Children raised by same-gender parents are just as happy, healthy and well-adjusted as children raised by mixed-gender parents. 30 years of research in this area come from authorities including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Welfare League of America.
  6. 14,000 foster children are being raised by Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual foster parents. (Transgender was not tracked in this number)
  7. A child living with two parents of the same gender can be assured that his/her relationship with both of his/her parents will be recognized by the law in fewer than half of the United States. A LGBT parent not legally recognized as a parent can lose (or never have) custody or visitation rights.
  8. LGBT families are largely excluded from tax credits and deductions designed to help ease the financial costs of raising children. In one case study, a same-gender family of five (two parents and three kids) paid $1,490 more in federal taxes than a mixed-gender family of five.
  9. Even for legally married same-gender parents, a surviving parent is not eligible for Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance which is administered by the Social Security Administration. This is interesting in that the United States government ordinarily relies on a state’s determination of parental and marital status in providing benefits.
  10. On a positive note, LGBT families (with both parents being U.S. citizens) have equal access to federal food assistance programs and public housing assistance due to a more inclusive definition of “family” for these programs.

Please consider reading and signing The Defense of All Families Pledge.

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37 Rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

(ref: UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/crc/)

Image from a card handmade in Rwanda

"Wishes come true" - a card handmade in Rwanda

NOTE: October 24th is United Nations Day

The United Nations  Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. On November 20th, 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not.

The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too. All UN members except the United States and Somalia have ratified CRC. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (California) is urging United States ratification.

  1. Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.
  2. All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognized by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.
  3. Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
  4. Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child. Continue reading

12 Regular Kids That Did Heroic Things Around The World

(ref: The Doggy Dung Disaster by Garth Sundem)

  1. Haruko Maruno, Japan (12 yrs old)
    Invented a way to use an empty milk carton as a more environmentally-friendly doggy “poop scoop”.
  2. Omar Castillo Gallegos, Mexico (8 yrs old)
    Walked 800 miles to a rainforest in order to save it.
  3. Henry Cilly, USA (3rd grader)
    Got a construction company to care about turtles.
  4. Harshit Agrawal, India (10 yrs old)
    Made cloth bags out of old clothes and got people to use them instead of using plastic bags.
  5. Amy Beal, Australia (12 yrs old)
    Saved a dying river and its wildlife by educating and organizing other kids about water conservation.
  6. Aika Tsubota, Japan (10 yrs old)
    Created a comic book about the Earth and its environment that is now used as a text book in science classes.
  7. Santosh Yadov, India (16 yrs old)
    Started training herself and became the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest.
  8. Farliz Calle, Columbia (15 yrs old)
    Started the Children’s Peace Movement and despite death threats, mobilized 2.7 million young people to vote for “survival, peace, family, and freedom from abuse”.
  9. Ivan Sekulovic & Petrit Selimi, Serbia (15 yrs old)
    A Serbian and an Albanian boy formed a group of 600 kids to counter hatred.
  10. Melika Sanders, USA (15 yrs old)
    In 1996, Melika organized a peaceful sit-in to successfully stop Selma, Alabama schools from using color as a basis for separating students into remedial and advanced level classes. She then organized a campaign to get a corrupt mayor voted out of office.
  11. Jean-Dominic Leversque-Rene, Canada (10 yrs old)
    After getting cancer from a pesticide used to keep golf course lawns green, he convinced local government to get golf courses to significantly reduce their use of the pesticide. He extended his protest throughout Canada and the United States. Jean-Dominic won both his cause and his own fight over cancer.
  12. Iqbal Masih, Pakistan (12 yrs old)
    From the age of 4, Iqbal worked as slave labor in a carpet factory. After escaping at the age of 10, Iqbal told his story to help the world learn about the world’s 250 million child workers. He was shot and killed at the age of 12 in Pakistan.

Learn more about The Doggy Dung Disaster and the stories of these and other kids who have made a heroic difference in the world.