Ebony Magazine Spotlights Black Same-Sex Couples Raising Kids in the South

Ebony, a monthly magazine that focuses on the African-American community, features the story of Iesha McConnell and Terry Treadwell, a couple raising three children together in North Carolina, in their October issue.

“We’re in love,” Terry, 45, told the magazine. “We work hard and worry about our children. We have the same struggles as everybody else.”

The couple met when Iesha’s sons were playing on one of Terry’s athletic teams. "About a year later, after we got to know each other, it eventually led to something," Iesha explains. The two had a commitment ceremony in September 2005, and they have watched their family expand.

The U.S. Census Bureau found that same-sex couples raising children are likely to live in the South and be African American like Iesha and Terry. According to Gary Gates, a demographer at the UCLA School of Law, black gay and lesbian parents raise children at two to three times the rate of their white counterparts. Research also shows that most black same-sex couples are economically disadvantaged (black women raising children in same-sex partnerships make an average of $26,000 a year).

Writer Rod McCullom (creator of Rod20.com and GLAAD National People of Color Media Institute participant) also points out that while six states and the District of Columbia have marriage equality, none in the South have marriage for all loving and committed couples. The lack of protections puts families like Iesha and Terry’s at risk. The parents, for example, cannot jointly adopt their children.

“We are a family, and we love each other deeply,” Terry adds. “We are making it work.”

We applaud Ebony for highlighting diverse stories about family. GLAAD encourages other media outlets to follow Ebony’s strong example of including stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color that spotlight the rich diversity of our community and the issues that affect our lives.

Be sure to pick up the October 2011 issue of Ebony (on stands now).