Pride in pictures

Pride in Pictures: We will always be her moms

Pride in Pictures, Tanya Layton
Photo: Tanya Layton

For our second annual Pride in Pictures, LGBTQ Nation asked readers to submit a meaningful photo of themselves at Pride.

We have absolutely loved seeing your joy, your glitter, your fabulous outfits, and of course, your pride. Now, we’re spending the summer sharing some of our favorite photos and stories with all of you.

Related: Pride in Pictures: Marching for LGBTQ youth

Name: 

Tanya Layton

Location:

Saint Pete, Florida, 2021

What makes this photo special to you?

My wife does not have any legal parental rights to our daughter.

We chose to bring her into this world together. We went through all of the steps including psychological evaluations… together. My wife, Becky, attended all of my prenatal appointments, took care of me through gestational diabetes, and was there when Lexi was born. It’s important to add that we were both terrified that because we did not have marriage rights at the time, Becky would not be able to be there for the birth. Furthermore, we worried that she would not be able to make health decisions on my behalf if there was an emergency. Luckily, we had amazing doctors and nurses who saw us as a family unit. This is not the case for everyone.

When it came time to fill out the birth certificate, my name was the only one that could be written. I could have written any random guy I wanted as the father but I could not write down the name of Lexi’s other true mother. Truth be told, we considered begging a family member to be listed as the father. Our fear was that if something happened to me, Lexi would not go to Becky. Why? Because gay people could not adopt in Florida. Many people said, “Couldn’t Becky just pretend to be straight if something happens to you?” Unfortunately, those people are missing the point. We don’t have any desire to deny who we are and lie to the courts. As a straight person, do you want to claim to be gay? It’s absurd and fraudulent.

Once marriage equality passed, Becky and I got married. This occurred in 2015. We hoped that this would mean Becky could be added to Lexi’s birth certificate and that she’d finally be viewed as Lexi’s, legal mom. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We had the option of hiring an attorney to guide us through the legal paperwork for step-parent adoption but as you can imagine, that’s costly and to be frank it’s humiliating to think you’d have to pay money to adopt your own child. Another reminder that you, as an LGBT person are not equal in the eyes of the law.

We have friends that were married in 2015, had a child afterward, and still had to go through the courts for one parent to adopt the child. To make matters worse, she’s listed as the father on the birth certificate.

Though we are very thankful for the rights we’ve been granted, we still have a long way to go to be equal humans, under the eyes of the law. That being said, no matter what our daughter’s birth certificate says, no matter what barriers are placed in front of us…we are both and will always be, her moms! #LoveIsLove

Pride in Pictures, Tanya Layton
Tanya Layton

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