For Pride 2022, Equality for Children, a volunteer-led Irish not-for-profit, is launching a podcast series about raising children as LGBTQ+ parents and families in Ireland.
Despite the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2015, LGBTQ+ families in Ireland still face a variety of struggles, especially concerning the legal parenthood of children. This is where Equality for Children comes in, campaigning for the equality of LGBTQ+ families.
The podcast will feature both LGBTQ+ parents and allies, as well as a variety of guests who have personal experience with raising families in Ireland.
The CEO of Equality for Children, Ranae von Meding, who also hosts the podcast, shared, “Much work remains to be done to ensure true equality for all LGBTQ+ families in Ireland. Until the most vulnerable of all are protected, our children, we cannot say we live in an equal Ireland.”
In the just-released first episode, von Meding speaks to two LGBTQ+ parents and members of Equality for Children’s Board of Directors, Georoid Kenny Moore and Elaine Cohalan.
“It just really spoke to me, because I know that my kids are treated differently to those kids next door,” Moore said of his decision to get involved, originally through LGBT Ireland.
LGBT Ireland played a role in Cohalan’s joining Equality for Children as well, through her wife signing her up to get involved with efforts to address the issues faced by LGBTQ+ parents and families. “We decided that we were going to club together as parents and form some kind of campaign or organisation around the issue, and really focus on the issue as being an inequality for children of LGBT families,” Cohalan said.
Von Meding and her guests speak, through Moore’s experience, about the system of laws in Ireland around gay men having a child through surrogacy, including how the biological father has no automatic legal status regarding the child. Laws complicate and limit the position of the non-biological father even further.
For Cohalan, she and her wife’s choice of donor affected their legal relationships to their child. Despite the passage of the Children and Family Relationships Act, Cohalan and her wife were told they would very likely not both be able to be their child’s legal parents.
von Meding briefly explains the Act. Essentially, while it allows for some same-sex couples to both be the legal parents of a child, it requires the situation and process of the child’s conception and birth to fit relatively specific criteria. The podcast notes that this leaves many Irish LGBTQ+ families, including those of Cohalan and Moore, still in the same situation of having only one legal parent for their children.
Amnesty specifications within the act additionally mean that there are now differences between the legal statuses of children within the same family. “It was designed to fix a problem but, I mean, it’s actually caused significantly more problems for the people who were excluded,” Moore said.
The podcast then turns to Equality for Children’s current and upcoming work in lobbying and politics. Cohalan shares that Equality for Children has worked with other organisations concerned with assisted human reproduction issues to advocate for collectively agreed-upon solutions. One result of their work is a commissioned report on the gaps left by the CFRA regarding who can be a legal parent and solutions to those gaps.
Finally, von Meding and her guests speak about Equality for Children’s currently circulating petition, asking for the government to accept and implement the report. They note ways people can help Equality for Children beyond signing and sharing the petition – namely by volunteering and talking to politicians. They then finish the podcast’s first episode by talking about the implications of the inequities they battle, and about their favourite parts of parenting.
To listen to the podcast, look for Equality for Children: The Podcast wherever you get your podcasts and learn more about the organisation on their website.
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