Houston Couple Wed After 11 Year Courtship, Married By Former Houston Rocket Joe Stephens
HOUSTON — FEB 17 — The most romantic day of the year, one Houston couple announced their life-long love to one another by proudly saying their “I do’s”. While surrounded by their family and close friends, they made a commitment that will forever change their Valentines Day. It will now be their anniversary.
Kevin Michael Hartman and Larry Dean Barnes Jr. officially made the leap into marriage after eleven years of dating. Kevin Hartman, originally From Saint Petersburg, Florida and Larry Barnes, a native Houstonian, are in the early planning stages for a ceremony and reception to take place this summer.
International Recording Artist LeAnn Rimes Launches Limited ‘LovE, LovE and more LovE’ Product Line In Time For Valentines Day.
(Los Angeles) — As one of the worlds most accomplished singer-songwriters, LeAnn Rimes champions lovE on a daily basis; often times through beautiful harmonies, sometimes through blogging. The multiple Grammy-winning Artist has stepped up her message of LovE today, releasing a limited collection of LovE, Love and more LovE!
Beyond the stage lights and the glamour of dazzling millions of fans worldwide with music, LeAnn Rimes connects with readers by curating Soul Of Everly, a safe space on the web that strives to help awaken and heal the spirit through connection, community, joy, and LovE.
With the most loved day of the year only 13 days away, Rime’s exclusive ‘LovE’ collection hits home as the perfect gift. This is the first time Rime’s has offered products to readers and fans of Soul of Everly.
“I am THRILLED to be opening the Soul Of EverLe store.”-Rimes
The collection ‘LovE, LovE and more LovE’ is described as ‘limited,’ and is the first of its kind for Rimes. The t-shirts and hoodies and available in multiple sizes, and show the word ‘LovE’ written down the shirt with a red block behind the design.
“My soul has been calling me open up my creativity in many new ways,” Rimes shares with her readers on Thursday afternoon. “The store like the blog is a reflection of life, ever-evolving and blossoming.”
Men Having Babies executive director, Ron Poole-Dayan, talks his nonprofit, surrogacy, and … well … babies!
Beginning Friday, March 2nd, and going through the weekend, the now-national nonprofit, Men Having Babies, is bringing their traveling conference to Austin. The nonprofit hosts these expos in numerous cities from San Francisco to NYC to Brussels and beyond. MHB not only assists in the process of educating and helping gay male couples start families through surrogacy, but also aids them in the financing of their family-planning. Now here in Texas for their current expo, MHB executive director, Ron Poole-Dayan answered some of our questions about their organization, what they do, how they started, and what couples seeking to start families can expect from MHB.
Let’s start by learning a bit more about how MHB came about to begin with
The origins of the organizations date back to 2005 when I asked the LGBT Center in New York City to create a monthly workshop for men who are interested in biological parenting. We began having monthly meetings, which we still have to this day, where we invited in people who could answer our questions. Over time a few men joined me to help facilitate the meetings, and that later became our first board. We organized our first modest seminar and someone suggested calling it “Men Having Babies.”
In 2012, we left the NYC LGBT Center and created an independent nonprofit organization, primarily since we wanted to create a financial assistance program, which was beyond the Center’s mission. Over time we started having larger events, and also in new locations: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Barcelona, Chicago, Dallas, Tel Aviv, Brussels, and this year adding Austin and Miami. The program has evolved to a two-day format with many more sessions, speakers, and topics. Now we are consistently attracting packed auditoriums, and many of the attendees fly from far away to attend the conferences. Our membership now includes over 6500 future and current gay parents worldwide.
What’s the main draw to surrogacy v. adoption?
I have my own insights, but actually just recently a study came out by a team from several universities (including Columbia from NY and Cambridge from the UK) about “Gay fathers’ motivations for and feelings about surrogacy as a path to parenthood.” In fact, MHB assisted in recruiting a large part of the parents who participated in the study. The short answer is that, “most fathers chose surrogacy because they considered adoption to be a less desirable and/or accessible path to parenthood.”
Adoption may be considered as less desirable due to the challenges associated with the process (often private adoptions where the birth mother gets to choose the adoptive parents, subjecting us to scrutiny and approval by agencies or even teen mothers from middle America), or with the more difficult parenting challenges associated with older or special needs adopted children. And of course there is the universal desire for genetic offspring. In short: gay men choose surrogacy over adoption, if they can afford it, for the same reasons heterosexual parents (who can even more easily adopt) choose biological parenting over adoption.
Having said this, it is important to stress that MHB does not advocate for surrogacy over adoption. In fact, some of our conferences — including the Austin one — feature adoption agencies alongside surrogacy resources. We just want to help the men make an informed decision about their path, and empower them to take that path in the most effective, mindful and affordable way.
We are gay parents and surrogates who got together to make the dream of parenthood a wider reality to more gay men — and in the process we believe we make society a better place for all of us.
What’s the success rate of MHB, as far as couples who actually make it to the finish line?
We know from feedback that many of our members become parents, but we do not track every single conference attendee — so we do not have the statistics. In general, I can tell you that once people actually embark on the journey — namely engage an IVF clinic to make embryos and an agency to match them with a surrogate — the vast majority have children. Indeed, surrogacy, while expensive, has higher success rates than adoption, and even heterosexual reproduction. We use technology that was developed for infertile people, with medically optimized gestational carriers and egg donors. It works and it is safe.
You are a father of a child of surrogacy, I’m told. What was this process like for you and your family
We did it many years ago, our twins are 17-years-old. We just assumed it should be possible, and luckily knew someone who knew someone that helped us find a lawyer in Boston who knew how to find a surrogate. We had very little guidance and resources, which is why I felt so strongly that something like MHB is needed.
How did MHB begin helping with the financial side of surrogacy?
As mentioned, our concern about the fact that surrogacy is beyond the [financial] reach of most people was a major motivation for establishing the organization. We knew that if we truly wanted to make a difference, we had to help people financially achieve the dream of having a family. We wanted to give this opportunity to people who would otherwise not be able to afford surrogacy.
The first thing we did was to create the “Surrogacy Advisor”— a directory and ratings table for agencies and clinics populated by hundreds of actual reviews from parents who went through the process. The goal was to promote transparency and affordability by empowering prospective parents with unbiased reviews and statistical data on satisfaction levels, success measures, and real cost figures. This allowed future parents to save thousands of dollars by identifying affordable, effective providers they would otherwise not have heard about.
But the major achievement is the creation of the Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP), which for the last four years has gotten to the point that it annually provides dozens of prospective parents with over a million dollars worth of cash grants, discounts, and free services from more than fifty leading service providers.
Do you think that the importance of your nonprofit has increased in the recent political climate?
Of course. And, in particular, helping gay men form their families would contribute not just to their happiness, but it also drives much social change. Gay men with kids are extremely visible and help many people see us for who we are, human beings who want happiness like everyone else. And the surrogates who help us are all effective social change agents, as they become outspoken about equality — often in small middle-America communities.
If you could tell everyone in the world one thing about the services MHB offers or something that you feel they just really need to know, what would that be?
Due to biological and social constraints, gay men as a category face the most obstacles in their quest for parenting, not the least of which is financial. Until MHB was established, there was not a single organization to assist gay men, who are not considered “infertile” even though they need substantial third party assistance in order to become parents. At MHB, we believe that when done correctly, surrogacy can be a positive, affirmative, and all-around empowering arrangement for everyone involved – and we are very active in creating ethical and practical guidelines to facilitate this. We are gay parents and surrogates who got together to make the dream of parenthood a wider reality to more gay men — and in the process we believe we make society a better place for all of us.
If you’re going to be in the Austin area this weekend, you can register for the expo and conference here.
It’s a “YES” for the Wilcox-Peranio engagement as the couple announced via social media over the weekend!
HOUSTON — FEB 13 — FACE Awards, About Magazine’s Creative Director, Lance Wilcox and his partner, prominent Hue Salon Stylist, Justin Peranio have announced their ‘long-awaited’ engagement.
“Perfect end to a perfect trip with a perfect man! I’m proud and unbelievably blessed to be engaged to Lance Wilcox” – Justin Peranio
The couple, who have been together since October 2014, made the announcement on Facebook over the weekend from Jaco, Costa Rica. The status update has garnered over 600 likes.
“Perfect end to a perfect trip with a perfect man! I’m proud and unbelievably blessed to be engaged to Lance Wilcox,” Peranio wrote in his post. The pair was on vacation in South America when Wilcox saw the opportunity to propose.
“We were on the balcony of our condo in Costa Rica,” Peranio says; explaining when the ‘question’ was popped. “He had a black ring box in his hand, and he knelt down and said ‘would you like to go on more adventures together,’ and of course I said yes!”
“Of course he said yes before I even got to ask him the question,” Wilcox says. “But thats what I love about him, nothing goes according to plan.”
With every LGBT engagement and wedding being unique, it’s up to each couple to interpret the traditions of marriage to suit their celebration. With Wilcox and Peranio, both have agreed to a ‘long’ engagement allowing time to plan their perfect day. “LGBT weddings are so new, it’s exciting that we can create a wedding that we want, and not have a book of etiquette to follow.” Wilcox said.
An official wedding date has not been set yet. Stay tuned.