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Milestones in LGBT parenting history

From TV’s first gay dad in 1972 to ‘Kids Are All Right’ success

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October is LGBT History Month, so I want to celebrate with a look at some of the historical milestones—of laws, visibility and community—related to LGBT parents. This is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the 40-year history of out LGBT parents, but simply a brief list of a few LGBT parenting “firsts.” These items may show only part of the story, but I hope they will give readers a sense of the rich history of which we are part.

1972: “That Certain Summer,” the first television movie to depict a gay dad, airs on ABC, starring Martin Sheen as a dad who comes out to his teenage son, and Hal Holbrook as his partner. Scott Jacoby, who played the son, won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy.

1973: “Sandy and Madeleine’s Family” becomes the first U.S. documentary about a lesbian-headed family.

1973: A Colorado court issues the country’s first known opinion involving a transgender parent, upholding his right to retain child custody.

1974: A New Jersey superior court judge rules that a father’s sexual orientation is not in itself a reason to deny him child visitation, the first time a U.S. court has acknowledged the constitutional rights of gay fathers.

1974: Several lesbian mothers and friends in Seattle form the Lesbian Mothers National Defense Fund to help lesbian mothers in custody disputes.

1976: Washington, D.C. becomes first jurisdiction in the country to prohibit judges from making custody decisions based solely on sexual orientation.

1977: Lawyers Donna Hitchens and Roberta Achtenberg in San Francisco form the Lesbian Rights Project (LRP), which evolves into the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), still helping LGBT parents (and others) today.

1978: The Washington Supreme Court issues the country’s first custody ruling in favor of a lesbian couple (Sandy Schuster and Madeleine Isaacson of the 1973 film above).

1978: New York becomes the first state to say it will not reject adoption applicants solely because of “homosexuality.”

1979: A gay couple in California becomes the first in the country known to have jointly adopted a child.

1979: Jane Severance’s When Megan Went Away becomes the first picture book in the U.S. to show a lesbian relationship.

1982: The Sperm Bank of California begins operations, the first in the country to serve lesbian couples and single women.

1985: A court for the first time allows a non-biological mother to adopt the biological child of her female partner. The ruling, in Alaska, also allows the biological father to maintain a relationship with the child.

1988: A group of youth with LGBT parents meets at a conference organized by a precursor to the Family Equality Council, and begins the organizing that in 1999 leads to Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) as an independent national organization.

1989: Author Lesléa Newman self-publishes “Heather Has Two Mommies,” the first children’s book in the U.S. to show a lesbian couple planning and raising a child together.

1990: LGBT publisher Alyson Publications launches the Alyson Wonderland imprint for children’s titles. It publishes “Daddy’s Roommate,” by Michael Willhoite, the first children’s book to depict gay male parents, and mass produces “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

1997: New Jersey becomes the first state to allow same-sex couples to adopt jointly.

2008: Marcus Ewert publishes “10,000 Dresses,” the first children’s book to show a clearly transgender child.

2009: First explicit mention of same-sex parents in a presidential proclamation. In announcing Sept. 28 as Family Day, President Obama says, “Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.”

2010: “The Kids Are All Right,” starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, becomes the first major feature film to focus on an LGBT couple and their children.

2010: President Obama revises hospital visitation rules so patients may designate their own visitors, including same-sex partners.

2011: The U.S. State Department updates passport applications to say “Mother or Parent 1″ and “Father or Parent 2” instead of just “Mother” and “Father.”

(I have compiled these items from a number of sources; special recognition goes to Carlos Ball’s The Right to Be Parents and Jaime Campbell Naidoo’s Rainbow Family Collections.)

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), an award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.

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Real Estate

Make the most of the market and keep a positive perspective

Home sales are slowing and interest rates are rising

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Home sales are slowing as interest rates rise, but there are silver linings.

Over the course of the last year, what was once a red-hot housing market has experienced a cool-down. Home sales have been slowing, and interest rates are rising as the Federal Reserve continues to try and tame inflation and soaring prices. Rates are currently sitting at their highest point since late 2008, and are more than double their level a year ago. 

Any time interest rates rise and the market slows down, concern is understandable – but there are always silver linings, and viewing the market from a broader historical perspective is important. A few of those silver linings include:

• Interest rates remain historically low: Since the end of 2021, mortgage interest rates have jumped by more than 2 percentage points, climbing above 6% as of September 2022. As a result, mortgage payment amounts have also risen. It’s easy to look at rising interest rates and higher mortgage payments and worry – but when viewed in perspective over the course of the last several decades, rates are still very low. According to Freddie Mac, over the past half-century, rates have averaged nearly 8 percent, and in the early 1980s, even reached as high as 18 percent. When considered in that context, today’s housing market is still far healthier than at other points in recent history.

• Inventory is up: Another benefit of the current market is that inventory is up. For those interested in purchasing a home, this means that there is a wider variety to choose from, and time can be devoted to truly finding a home that checks all of the boxes, rather than simply rushing to make an offer on one of the few that are available.

• Offers are more likely to be accepted: The fact that more inventory exists in the current market allows buyers to potentially place a reasonable offer on a home and have it accepted. This is a stark contrast to the situation of a year ago, where buyers frequently had to rather worry about engaging in an ongoing bidding war where prices became inflated and offers were less likely to be accepted. 

Ultimately, conditions are much better in the real estate market now, even with slightly rising interest rates, than they were the last time the housing market went through a major correction. In fact, following the subprime mortgage crash of 2007 and the subsequent recession, home values dropped by nearly half in some markets. Millions of borrowers found themselves underwater on their mortgages, and many buyers were hesitant to make purchases in such a difficult and unpredictable market.  Currently, many expect that while home appreciation may decline slightly, it will likely remain above the historical average.

While the market may not be as robust as it was a year ago, there are still plenty of positives. A key aspect of making the most of any market is finding a real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you reach your goals. This can make all the difference between a smooth and successful experience, and a stressful one. At GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help you find the perfect agent for your needs.

At GayRealEstate.com – We’re Here for You

One thing is certain about the real estate market – over time, it will change and fluctuate. There will be ups and downs. At times it may be ideal for sellers, at other times, more ideal for buyers. Regardless of how the market shifts, however, one thing is constant – at GayRealEstate.com, we’re here for you. It is our passion to connect LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with excellent and experienced LGBTQ-friendly realtors who know and love their communities. We are committed to helping you achieve your real estate goals, whatever they may be. If we can help you, visit us at GayRealEstate.com today to get connected and get started. 

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Business

Maryland LGBT Chamber holds expo

Business event held in Columbia, Md.

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Maryland LGBT Business Expo. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

Over 35 Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce member businesses and organizations participated in the 2022 LGBT Business Expo in Columbia, Md. on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Panels and presentations at the event covered a variety of business topics, including:
We will also feature panel talks and presentations on a variety of business topics throughout the afternoon including: “Master Your Budget: 3 Simple Steps to go from Surviving to Thriving” presented by Financial Coach, Amy Scott; How we got our Rehoboth Beach cottage (without saving up for it)… And how YOU can too!!!” presented by the Retire on Real Estate author, K. Kai Anderson and “Why and How to get your small business LGBTQ Certified”, presented by NGLCC.

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Real Estate

Standing on both feet in the current real estate market

Interest rates are up and contingencies are back

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Buyers have more power than they’ve had in recent years.

Gone are the days of a home receiving 25 offers and going well over asking price by more than $250,000. One would think…

The housing market in our immediate area as well as most of the United States has changed from what we’ve seen during the earlier pandemic days. Here in the nation’s capital, we have seen a market that is more in keeping with what we have historically seen. The fall market this year has brought on a substantial amount of new inventory to the market, which is consistent with earlier market trends. We have seen the prices reduce a bit and we have seen days on market linger a bit. But what exactly is going on here?

RISING MORTGAGE RATES

For two years we saw a wild real estate market that was fueled by the need for more space, new space, fresh space, and insanely low interest rates. The lack of inventory in the market also assisted in allowing sellers to get substantial amounts of money over their asking price and left buyers giving everything away. Since then the landscape has changed. Due to higher than the “old normal” interest rates, the market has begun to correct itself a bit. I would like to point out that the interest rates are NOT the only reason for the market correcting itself, this is also due to the influx of inventory coming to the market. Buyers now have so many options to look at, things to consider, and time is truly back on their side in order to make a more sound and informed decision when it comes to home ownership.

Please don’t get it twisted — if a home is well photographed, well marketed, and well priced in addition to having a brilliantly charming Realtor at the open house — it will surely sell with several offers and over asking. That is just no longer the norm.

TIT-FOR-TAT NEGOTIATIONS 

Although we no longer live in a world where sellers can expect to receive $250,000 above asking, we also don’t live in a world where buyers can expect to offer 30-50 percent less than asking and expect for the results to be positive. Similar to dating – we are back to a more intimate handholding experience when it comes to both the home buying and selling experience. As a seller it is important to ensure that your home is in tip-top shape while pricing it properly. As a buyer you should ensure that you have a great pre-approval, provide an appropriate EMD and realize that now you can include CONTINGENCIES! Yes! Once again, you can actually have a home inspection, financing contingency and even a radon test if you are feeling frisky. Those are the most valuable changes in the market for buyers.

INFLATION OR INFLATEGATE?

While turning on the news might be grim these days between inflation, the stock market, and interest rates – home prices are still over 6 percent more expensive than this time last year. If you look at the job market for example, unemployment is at an all-time low. You are still getting paid every week and if your manager makes you angry enough you have the flexibility to quit one job and find another relatively quickly. This mindset combined with an increase in active home listings and decrease in demand – you will likely still say: “Let’s go buy a home.”

Justin Noble is a Realtor with Sotheby’s international Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware Beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin is a well-versed agent, highly regarded, and provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243,  [email protected] or BurnsandNoble.com.

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