Friday, February 20th, 2015
Choosing the right pediatrician to care for your newborn can be nerve-racking for any parent who wants to make sure they pick a nurturing and thorough doctor.
Like many parents, one couple in Michigan interviewed a number of pediatricians before the birth of their daughter, Bay. Months before she was born, Krista and Jami Contreras decided on Dr. Vesna Roi, and six days after birth, they arrived at the doctor’s office for Bay’s first appointment.
But much to their surprise, the parents were turned away for one reason: they are a lesbian couple.
After spending time in “much prayer,” Dr. Roi concluded that she would not be the best fit for Bay. Another doctor at the practice actually delivered the unexpected news. He offered to take Bay on as his patient, but that did not make the situation any less shocking for the Contreras.
“I was completely dumbfounded,” said Krista, Bay’s biological mother. “We just looked at each other and said, ‘Did we hear that correctly?’” Jami, put it more simply and accurately when she said, “You’re discriminating against a baby? It’s just wrong.”
Months later, Dr. Roi sent a handwritten letter to the parents. The letter did not directly state that she made her decision based on their sexual orientation, but she did explain that she did not judge the couple’s “free choice.”
Krista and Jami did not immediately reach out to the media about their experience, but they finally chose to speak out so that others are aware that instances like this still happen.
Although Dr. Roi’s actions may be discriminatory, they are not illegal. “Currently, 22 states have laws that prohibit doctors from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation. Michigan is not one of these states,” reports USA Today. Also, there is currently no federal law protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.
This is not the first time a child has been refused something because of a parent’s sexual orientation. Just last month, Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard’s visit with a private preschool was canceled once the administration learned that they were a married couple raising children.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Stuffed puppy with stethoscope via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 14th, 2013
Jeanne Manford, whose advocacy for her gay son launched a decades-long crusade for gay rights, died last week at age 92. The organization she founded Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, is one of the best known and most prominent gay advocacy organization for relatives of gay and lesbian people. More from the obituary published by The Washington Post:
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Mrs. Manford, who died Jan. 8 at her daughter’s home in Daly City, Calif., was widely considered the mother of a movement. Her death, from undisclosed causes, was announced by PFLAG. She was 92.
Mrs. Manford had no background in social activism when she embarked on the mission on behalf of her son. She was born Jean Sobelson on Dec. 4, 1920, in Queens. (She later changed her first name to Jeanne.) She graduated from Queens College in 1964 and spent her career as a schoolteacher in New York City public schools.
She compensated for her lack of organizing experience with her love for her son. In interviews with national media, and in countless conversations with parents, she recalled the moment when she learned that her son was gay.
“I love you the same,” she recalled telling him. “This doesn’t make any difference.” Morty was so taken aback, she once told CNN, that it took him “a while” to accept her acceptance.
Morty Manford witnessed the 1969 riots after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, an event that became a catalyst for the gay rights movement. He became a prominent organizer in his own right and was noted for his role in the events at the Hilton. His alleged attacker was later acquitted because of what the judge described as “incongruities” in testimony.
After the attack on her son, the New York Post published a letter to the editor from Mrs. Manford. “I have a homosexual son and I love him,” she was reported to have written.
Morty invited his mother to march alongside him in the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, which is described as a predecessor to the New York City Gay Pride Parade. She did, carrying a sign that read: “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children.”
The response, she later recalled, was overwhelming. She was said to have thought that the profuse cheering was for the man marching behind her — child-care guru Benjamin Spock. In fact, it was for her.