Celebrity LGBT par­ents

Pride Life Magazine - - SPONSORED FEATURE -

Even the most lib­eral of gay rights ac­tivists must have raised a cu­ri­ous eye­brow when El­ton John’s first son Zachary was de­liv­ered on Christ­mas Day 2010. Surely this only hap­pens in soap op­eras and on sit­coms?

For a cou­ple who made a no­to­ri­ous fly-on­the-wall doc­u­men­tary to­gether called Tantrums and Tiaras, about El­ton John’s petu­lant be­hav­iour, it wasn’t just the Daily Mail who ques­tioned the im­mac­u­late tim­ing of what many saw as the ul­ti­mate de­signer ac­ces­sory. How­ever, al­most six years (and a sec­ond son later) all ev­i­dence seems to sug­gest that El­ton and his hus­band David are both dot­ing and hands-on fa­thers to two beau­ti­ful boys.

The cou­ple’s re­mark­able quest to be­come par­ents fa­mously be­gan when they un­suc­cess­fully tried to adopt a 14-months-old Ukrainian child called Lev in 2009. The cou­ple found the baby boy in an or­phan­age near Donetsk and El­ton an­nounced their wish to adopt the child, ex­plain­ing that Lev “has stolen my heart”. How­ever, Ukrainian laws pre­vent gay men from adopt­ing, while El­ton’s age (he was 62 at the time) was also cited in the le­gal pro­ceed­ings. The heart­bro­ken cou­ple vowed to sup­port the boy fi­nan­cially and re­main guardian an­gels to him as he grew up. Last year, it seems the cou­ple lived up to that prom­ise.

Fol­low­ing the un­suc­cess­ful adop­tion at­tempt, Lev was taken in by his grand­mother, Yu­lia. While liv­ing in the south-east­ern city of Mar­i­upol, they found them­selves in a po­ten­tial war zone, with Rus­sian-backed sep­a­ratists threat­en­ing to at­tack the city. Yu­lia ap­par­ently

sent a des­per­ate mes­sage to the singer, who is be­lieved to have con­tacted Pinchuk (the daugh­ter of for­mer Ukrainian pres­i­dent Leonid Kuchma), who he knows through her work with the Aids char­ity she founded there in 2003. The foun­da­tion ar­ranged for the cou­ple to be evac­u­ated to the coun­try’s cap­i­tal Kiev, some 500 miles away from the trou­ble.

Fol­low­ing the failed adop­tion, the cou­ple found a sur­ro­gate mother in the United States and “both con­trib­uted” to the con­cep­tion of Zachary – the mix­ing of se­men spec­i­mens is not cur­rently al­lowed in the UK. As part of the sur­ro­gacy pro­gramme, the se­men was then used to fer­tilise a pre­vi­ously cho­sen egg. Their sec­ond son Eli­jah was born to the same sur­ro­gate mother and shar­ing the same anonymous egg donor, on 11 Jan­uary 2013, nar­rowly miss­ing Christ­mas but still a Capri­corn. In a move that greatly ag­grieved Ger­maine Greer, the cou­ple kept the iden­tity of the sur­ro­gate a se­cret, list­ing David Fur­nish as the “mother” on the birth cer­tifi­cate. The highly re­spected ac­tivist, aca­demic and Celebrity Big Brother con­tes­tant felt the de­ci­sion was dam­ag­ing to the con­cept of moth­er­hood, while she also crit­i­cised the idea of IVF. In­ci­den­tally, re­gard­less of what the birth cer­tifi­cate says, the cou­ple are known as “Daddy” and “Papa” by their boys.

Of course, Greer isn’t the first per­son to fall out with El­ton John over IVF and gay par­ent­ing in gen­eral. In March of this year, the openly gay Ital­ian fash­ion moguls Dolce and Gab­bana caused a storm of con­tro­versy by claim­ing they didn’t agree with de­signer ba­bies. “The only fam­ily is a tra­di­tional one,” Domenico Dolce stated in Ital­ian mag­a­zine Panorama, go­ing on to say that pro­cre­ation should be an act of love. “You are

“El­ton and David’s re­mark­able quest to be­come par­ents be­gan when they un­suc­cess­fully tried to ADopt A 14-montHs-olD Ukrainian child called Lev in 2009”



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