I know some of you might not know me so I'd like to introduce myself. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine for 31 years, started this website in the late nineties and am its owner. My comments from a previous thread have been posted here, but I wanted to let you all know how concerned I am that recent events have caused you to feel unsafe. There are enough places in society where queer parents are made to feel unsafe. I don't want this to be one of them. I consider this an inclusive community and want everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual preference or gender identity to feel safe here. We moderate our conversations from this place, our UA supports it. I'd like to tell you what happened from my point of view as there are so many stories on the threads that are not true.
On June 1st, we put up a question of the day about a study on racism suggesting that whites experience racism. Adina, our assistant board administrator, and Cynthia, our board administrator and web director, talked out the possible controversy of the question, but thought it would provoke interesting conversation in a community that has always wanted to discuss racism. Some of the responses to this question were hateful and the mods (who are volunteers) scrambled to clean things up.
On June 2nd, Melanie Mayo, our web editor, posted a link on FB to an article on the site about a family with two moms. FB was OK for awhile, but then it got hateful. June 2nd was a Thursday, Melanie did not become aware of the direction things had gone until Sunday, June 5th and then by Monday she took down a lot of FB posts. We have not been in the habit of moderating the FB posts so were not expecting this. Then, as you well know, on June 15th an ad for Operation Blessing was put up as a thread in Adoptive and Foster Parenting, just like some kind of fox getting into the hen house.
This ad was put up by a new ad associate who works for the company that sells ads for us and she had no idea of the implications of her actions nor did she have the authority to speak for Mothering or MDC as she did in the thread. I don't mean to throw her under the bus, but she is a new, junior employee who made a mistake. She was in a hurry to put up an ad on her schedule and did not give us the notice before hand we require so that our Mothering staff could have reviewed it. We did not. We've all been talking with this gal and our ad team about how to make sure an ad of this nature never happens again.
The idea of putting an ad in a thread in general is also controversial and we are in the process of redefining this program with our ad reps. It was something they wanted to try and we are suggesting other alternatives. But, neither the woman who posted the thread about Operation Blessing or MDC is tolerant of homophobic behavior, hate speech or any of the other missions of this organization.
I am very sorry for the fear this must have caused you. What a panic you must have been in. The conversations you're having here are so rich and I hope you will continue them because I think the worst is over.
I'm not opposed to a formal apology, as some have suggested, but things move so fast here, that I'd prefer to address the threads specifically. I think it might be a good idea to put an announcement at the top of the forums that we are an inclusive community and I'm open to your suggestions as to what would make you all as queer parents feel safe.
Regarding the AIDS denialism attack that surfaces from time to time, it is because I have published articles in Mothering magazine about pregnant and breastfeeding moms who tested positive to HIV but had no symptoms of disease and who questioned the use of anti-viral drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding and even the diagnosis of HIV in itself as pregnancy is one of the conditions listed on the product insert that can cause a false positive HIV test.
I am accustomed in the magazine and online to publish articles about people who are making courageous and difficult decisions that may be alternative to what the mainstream culture is doing. We've published articles about those choosing to leave their sons intact as early as 1978, articles about people choosing to have homebirths, breastfeed older children, selectively vaccinate or not vaccinate at all, have children with same sex partners. Articles about freedom of choice regarding even HIV and AIDS treatment seems to me to fit right in the context of our historical coverage,
I'm happy to answer your specific questions about what happened and am open to your suggestions about what might make things better in future and make you all feel safe now.