Shelbi Day, a Southeast Portland mom of two, is the senior policy counsel at the Family Equality Council, a national group based out of New York that works to ensure full social and legal equality for approximately 3 million LGBTQ parents and their 6 million children nationwide.
Q: How does the Family Equality Council support LGBTQ parents?
A: We are working on the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, a federal bill that seeks to prohibit child welfare agencies that receive federal funding from discriminating against LGBTQ youth in their care and otherwise qualified prospective adoptive parents who are LGBTQ. We also work to prevent legislation, policies, and practices that discriminate against or exclude LGBTQ people and their families. Also our team works to connect LGBTQ parents through community-building opportunities.
Q: LGBTQ parents must be feeling very uneasy given the current administration’s anti-LGBTQ views. What legal protections should they take, if any?
A: Marriage is the law of the land, and Donald Trump cannot unilaterally take that away or rip our families apart. That said, we need to be vigilant in protecting marriage equality and securing legal recognition of our parent-child relationships. Same-sex parents should obtain a second parent adoption even if they are married and/or listed on the child’s birth certificate. In the current political environment, I cannot overstate the importance of doing so. We also recommend that LGBTQ couples do estate planning to ensure that their wishes are clear and respected. And parents should make sure their children’s legal documents, such as passports, social security cards and birth certificates, are up-to-date and accurately reflect their family.
Q: May 7 is International Family Equality Day. Does FEC have anything planned in Portland?
A: We’ve got one event scheduled for Friday, May 5 at the PSU Smith Memorial Student Union. For more details visit our events calendar at familyequality.org.
Q: What do you think is the biggest legal threat LGBTQ parents face right now?
A: Discriminatory bills that are disguised as religious liberty. These laws, which target LGBTQ people and apply in contexts ranging from adoption to public accommodations, are popping up at the state and federal level.
Q: Let’s focus on the positive for a moment. What are some recent successes that the FEC is celebrating?
A: Although we find ourselves in uncertain and unsettling times, we are encouraged by the unprecedented engagement of our families and others in the political process and grassroots activism. LGBTQ people and their allies are working across progressive and civil rights movements, coming together as a larger community to make their voices heard.
— Denise Castañon
At 17, Vineet Edupuganti’s résumé can be summed up in one word: WOW. The Oregon Episcopal School student was selected as one of 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. While he didn’t make it to the top 10, he won $25,000 in awards for his engineering project — a long-lasting biodegradable battery. Potential uses for Vineet’s work include a dissolvable power source for implanted medical devices or marine sensors used to mop up toxic spills. He’s still deciding where he’ll head to college to study materials science or electrical engineering. “Ultimately, my dream job would involve developing new and powerful technologies and taking them to market,” says Vineet. He’s also a classical pianist, varsity tennis player and has worked as a bilingual coordinator for the Voz Worker Center, which connects disenfranchised workers with local employers. And he’s started his own company to further develop his battery. Like we said: Wow. — D.C.
Getaway: By the seashore
Perhaps no Oregon coastal town is as quintessential as Seaside. Here is the wide beach of your kids’ dreams, perfect for sandcastles and kite-flying, with room for everyone to roam. Here too is the classic boardwalk, running 1.5 miles parallel to the beach, just begging for your kids to cruise down it on their bikes or skateboards or strollers. There’s taffy and fudge and t-shirts for sale, yes, but there’s more to Seaside than just these classic beachtown trappings.
Take the kids to the Funland Arcade (201 Broadway St.), which brims with classics like pinball, skeeball and bumper cars, and for a ride on the carousel that’s the centerpiece of the Seaside Mall. For a more nature-focused afternoon, launch a canoe into the Neawanna River from Broadway Park (rentals are at Cleanline Surf, 60 N. Roosevelt Dr.) or drop a crab trap off the 12th Street Bridge to see if you can catch your dinner. (Pro tip: Legend has it that you’ll have better crabbing luck in months that have an “r” in their name.) If you get skunked with the crabs, head to Bell Buoy, 1800 S. Roosevelt Dr., a seafood market and counter-service fish restaurant where the chowder is made with razor clams and the catch is always fresh. Finish up with “beach-inspired” scoops at Sea Star Gelato (8 N. Columbia St.) and bed down for the night at the Rivertide Suites, which has a “family beach bonfire and s’mores” package deal — the perfect end for an Oregon beach day. — Julia Silverman
Playlist: Surrender to Raffi
Things I never thought I would hear my husband say: “Is that a new Raffi CD? Awesome!” My husband and I quickly turned from Raffi scoffers to Raffi devotees, when we realized that playing the iconic children’s musician in the car transformed our kids from whining, howling gremlins to good-natured cherubs. When I popped the new album, Best of Raffi into our minivan’s CD player and the first track, Baby Beluga, (a 1980 flashback from Raffi’s 40-year career) started playing I was amazed that my 4-year-old daughter chimed right in. (It’s still a mystery as to how she learned the lyrics.) The 16-track CD includes other well-known, sing-along hits such as Bananaphone, Apples and Bananas and Day O (The Banana Boat Song). So, okay, Raffi has a thing for bananas, whatever. Just submit to the power of Raffi with this new album, and your time spent in the car with preschoolers will be so much more civilized. Available at Target and iTunes. — D.C.
Apps We Love: Civics Matters
One of the enduring lessons of the brutal 2016 presidential election season? Civics education — understanding the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy — is vitally important. Here are three great apps for teaching the next generation about how our nation really works.
Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride The British are coming, the British are coming! Ansel and Clair aren’t redcoats, though — they’re aliens sent to Earth to learn about the American Revolution. Through puzzles and memory games, kids can learn about life in the colonies, from the Boston Tea Party to the battle of Yorktown.
Presidents vs. Aliens More otherworldly visitors, this time in an app that quizzes players on each U.S. President, including events during his presidency. Players also need to be able to identify each president by his portrait, and that’s where the aliens come in. Get it right, and you can flick the president’s head at a gaggle of aliens to spin them off-screen.
Geography Drive USA Explore the nooks and crannies of all 50 states. Kids start off by choosing a car in which they’ll tool cross-country, visiting every state along the way. They’ll learn fun facts about each place they visit, then answer a quiz to earn enough money to buy more “gas” so they can keep driving. — J.S.
Top 5: Spring Wildflower Hikes
➊ Kids love the easy-peasy, 2-mile round trip jaunt across Rowena Plateau at the Tom McCall Nature Preserve in The Dalles. Look for lupine and bachelor’s buttons.
➋ The Camassia Natural Area Loop in West Linn is just 1.6 miles, mostly level, and is covered with masses of common Camas lillies, plus blue-eyed Marys. ➌ Wander through the peaceful trails at Tryon Creek State Park in SW Portland and look for delicate trillium blooms along the way. ➍ Super-hardy kids can conquer the steep climb to the top of Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge; the top is covered with yellow balsamroot. ➎ The Catherine Creek Trail near Stevenson, Wash., is home to more than 90 varieties of wildflowers. — J.S.
Love our every-other-month Bookshelf column picks from Kim Tano and Richard Corbett of Powell’s Books? Sign up for a subscription to BOOX to get two Powell’s curated picture books for kids ages 3 to 7 delivered to you every month — along with other goodies that fit with the month’s theme. $35.95 per month. Visit powells.com/boox for more info. — D.C.
Gear Guide: Teether Time
With her satisfying squeak and unique rubber texture, it’s no surprise you see Sophie the Giraffe peeking out of every diaper bag around town. But if Sophie’s not cutting it for your little one, here are a few options to help soothe sore gums when he’s getting his chompers.
Comotomo’s squishy Silicone Baby Teether is easy for your tyke to hold onto and can be used by babies as young as 3 months. $6.99. The Bull & the Bee, 1540 SE Bybee Blvd., and Eco Baby Gear, 7980 SE Stark.
Moms swear by the Chubby Gummy teether by ZoLi. The unique shape is especially helpful when those big bad molars come in. For babies 6 months and older. $12 for 2. At The Bull & the Bee.
Teething is no joke, but the Little Toader AppeTeethers Chicken Wing will lend some humor to a painful situation. The food-shaped, food-grade silicone teether provides a nice resistance against your babe’s gums. $5.99. At Child’s Play, 2305 NW Kearney. — D.C.
Pay Attention: Bond. School Bond.
The Portland Public School district is floating the largest bond in state history this month — $790 million for massive construction projects and safety hazard updates, including the replacement of Lincoln High School and a newly built middle school in Southeast Portland. Election day is May 16; plans for the bond, which has been in the works behind closed doors for months, were announced in early March, leaving the district with just two months to make their case to voters. One complicating factor? We’re still paying off the last voter-approved construction bond, which dates to 2012 and paid for big improvements at Grant, Roosevelt and Franklin High Schools, among other projects. The new ask would mean that homeowners would pay an addition $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value. In real terms, that means if your house is worth $250,000, you’d pay an extra $350 per year in property taxes. The bond proposal comes at a crossroads for Portland Public Schools. The school board recently hired a new superintendent, who will need to fill a number of key staffing positions, and rebuild trust after news broke in 2016 of lead in the water at virtually every public school in the city. If it passes, money from the bond would go to fix the lead problem, which extends to lead paint, asbestos, and radon in the district’s aging buildings. (If you’re among those who have complained that your kids still can’t drink from the water fountain at school, a “yes” vote will help fix that problem.) A few other metro area districts are also seeking bonding approval from voters this May, though generally for much smaller asks. — J.S.
Ask Dr. Corey: Tween too soon?
Q: My 7-year-old daughter seems to have body odor. Isn’t this very young for the onset of puberty? Should she start using deodorant already?
A: The onset of puberty in a child is stressful under the best of circum-stances! Those raging hormones can often lead to a certain amount of angst and friction between children, their parents and peers.
Naturally, then, it’s stressful to feel like those changes are coming too soon. However, puberty is an incredibly complex process and sometimes it is normal for parts of that process to start on the early side.
Generally puberty falls into two categories: adrenarche (pronounced ad-ren-ark-ee) and pubarche (pronounce pub-ark-ee). Adrenarche is marked by development of body hair and body odor. Pubarche is marked by breast development, enlargement and maturation of genitals, and ultimately, the onset of the menstrual cycle in girls.
Premature adrenarche is somewhat common in children, boys as well as girls. Generally speaking, so long as there is no signs of pubarche or rapid increase in height in a child of this age, there is usually nothing to worry about. If body odor is a source of stress for the child, deodorant can absolutely be used.
I would definitely recommend a visit with your child’s physician if you are concerned about premature adrenarche or premature pubarche, if only to make sure there is not something else going on that would require a visit with a pediatric endocrinologist (children’s hormone specialist).