TV & Radio
자식원하는 준비된 부모 어린이 인권도 생각해야
JUNE 12, 2007 04:50
지난달 19일 결혼한 트랜스젠더 연예인 하리수가 네 명의 아이를 입양해 기르고 싶다는 뜻을 공식적으로 밝힌 후 인터넷에는 트랜스젠더의 입양권을 둘러싼 논쟁이 일고 있다. 하리수의 입양 의사를 보도한 인터넷 기사의 댓글과 포털사이트 게시판에는 연일 찬반논쟁이 줄을 잇고 있다.
본보 취재 결과 트랜스젠더 부부가 비공식적으로 입양을 한 사례는 국내에도 이미 있는 것으로 확인이 됐다. 국내 트랜스젠더 인구는 통상 1200여 명에서 많게는 4500여 명으로 추산되지만 지금까지 입양지정기관을 통해 공식적으로 입양에 성공한 트랜스젠더는 없다.
입양기관들 거부감 표시=현재 법적으로 트랜스젠더의 아이 입양에는 아무런 문제가 없다. 입양자격요건에 성적 소수자에 대한 제한 규정은 없을뿐더러 지난해 국내입양 활성화를 위해 정부가 입양 규정을 완화하면서는 독신자도 자녀 입양이 가능해졌다.
그러나 본보가 접촉한 20여 개의 국내 입양기관 모두는 아무리 다른 조건을 다 갖췄다 하더라도 트랜스젠더인 부모라면 입양이 어렵다는 반응을 보였다. 문의를 해 오면 자격요건에 대해 설명은 해 주지만 현실적으로 입양에 동의해 줄 수는 없다는 것.
한 입양기관 관계자는 입양기관은 특별한 가정이 아니라 입양아동이 보통의 아이들처럼 클 수 있는 평범한 가정을 찾는 것이라며 편견이라 할 수도 있겠지만 트랜스젠더 가정이나 동성애자 가정이 일반적인 성장환경이 아닌 것은 사실이지 않으냐고 말했다.
뜨거운 감자로 떠오를 듯=국내 입양기관들의 거부감 표시에 대해 전문가들도 의견이 엇갈린다.
익명을 요구한 복수의 정신과 의사들은 트랜스젠더의 입양은 성적 소수자의 인권 외에도 어린이의 인권을 생각해야 한다며 반대했다.
반면 김붕년 서울대 소아정신과 교수는 폭력을 행사하고 아이를 돌보지 않는 등 부모로서의 자세를 갖추지 못한 (비트랜스젠더) 부모보다는 아이를 간절히 원하고 사랑해 줄 준비가 돼 있는 트랜스젠더 부모가 더 좋은 부모가 될 수 있다고 주장했다.
논쟁이 계속되는 가운데 트랜스젠더를 비롯한 한국의 성적 소수자들은 자녀와 가정을 가질 권리를 포함해 사회적, 법적 권익을 보호받기 위한 움직임을 점차 키워가고 있다.
민주노동당은 이번 대선 공약으로 동성애자의 혼인, 입양 등 가족구성권을 보장하는 법안 발의와 함께 성소수자 인권보호를 위한 기본계획 수립을 내세울 예정이어서 이를 둘러싼 논쟁은 앞으로 더 뜨거워질 전망이다.
Adoption by Transgenders?
JUNE 12, 2007 04:50
Ha Ri-soo, a newly wed transgender entertainer, expressed her will to “adopt four children,” causing a heated debate on the right to adoption by transgenders. Mixed reactions are posted on bulletin boards of portal sites.
The Dong-A Ilbo found that some transgender couples have unofficially adopted children in Korea. The country’s transgender population is estimated at 1,200 to 4,500. But none of them have adopted a child through an official channel.
Opposition from Adoption Agencies-
Adoption by transgender couples is totally legal in Korea. There are no regulations on sexual orientation in the qualifications for adoptive parents. Also, a single can adopt a child, as the government eased regulations on adoption last year in an attempt to facilitate domestic adoption.
However, all of some 20 domestic adoption agencies that the Dong-A Ilbo talked to said, “Transgender couples have difficulty adopting a child, even if their qualifications are perfect.” They added that they can offer explanations about qualifications to inquiring transgender couples but cannot agree on their adoption.
An adoption agency official said, “Agencies look for ‘ordinary families’ where adoptees can live a normal life just like other children, rather than ‘special families.’ Some might call it prejudice, but it is true that transgendered or same-sex parents are not ordinary parents.”
A Potential Hot-Button Issue-
Experts offer mixed reactions to the opposition from adoption agencies.
On condition of anonymity, some psychiatrists shared the agencies’ stance, saying, “Adoption by transgendered parents is not just about the human rights of sexual minorities, but about the human rights of adopted children.”
However, pediatric psychiatry professor Kim Boong-nyun at Seoul National University argues, “Transgender parents who are eager to have a child and ready to love them could be better than those (non-transgender parents) who do not qualify as good parents, using violence on children and neglecting them.”
Amid heated debate, the country’s sexual minorities, including transgenders, are increasingly seeking protection of their social and legal rights, including the right to have children and a family.
The Democratic Labor Party plans to include the submission of bill about protecting homosexuals’ right to marriage, adoption, and having a family, and the establishment of basic plans for human rights protection for sexual minorities in its presidential election pledge, which could lead to a more heated debate.
After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics
Outgoing PM seizes early opportunity to convert free of dilemmas of public role
Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Friday June 22, 2007
His spiritual awakening goes back at least 30 years, to his time as an undergraduate at Oxford, but due to political considerations Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism has been a long time coming.
He has been attending Catholic mass, often with his family but also occasionally alone, since long before he became prime minister. His wife, Cherie, is a lifelong and practising Catholic, and in accordance with church rules their children have been brought up as Catholics and were sent to church schools.
More than 10 years ago Mr Blair was slipping into Westminster cathedral and occasionally taking communion, until the late Cardinal Basil Hume told him to stop because it was causing comment as he was not a Catholic - an injunction that bemused him at the time.
Since then he has regularly attended services conducted by Canon Timothy Russ, parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Great Missenden, the nearest Catholic church to Chequers.
He is also known to have had discussions with priests such as Father Timothy Radcliffe, former head of the worldwide Dominican order, now at Oxford, and with Father Michael Seed, who has shephered a number of high-profile figures, including Ann Widdecome and, allegedly, Alan Clark, towards conversion. Fr Seed, an engaging if indiscreet figure, has claimed to have paid regular backdoor visits to Downing Street to talk religion, if not necessarily to advise the prime minister.
So why has it taken so long? Almost certainly because of Mr Blair's sensitivity about the place of Catholicism in British public - and particularly its constitutional - life. The only positions specifically barred to Catholics are marriage to the sovereign or heir to the throne, or becoming sovereign themselves, a legacy of the Act of Settlement that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the deposition of the last Catholic monarch, James II; there has never been a Catholic prime minister.
In the last 40 years Catholics have entered many senior positions in British public life, generally without comment except among the wilder fringes of Protestant Calvinism: in the civil service, the Foreign Office and industry, as MPs and ministers in Conservative and Labour cabinets. The current director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is a Catholic and, briefly, four years ago, with Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Iain Duncan Smith, leader of the Tories, so were the alternative prime ministers.
But the motives of Catholic politicians have traditionally been regarded with suspicion by non-Catholics, both here and in the US, based on the allegation that they take their orders from the Vatican rather than the electorate. Catholic political leaders have always denied it - but the recent antics of some bishops in the US during the 2004 presidential campaign when they threatened to deny John Kerry communion because of his support for abortion rights and, recently, Cardinal Keith O'Brien's warning that he would do the same in Scotland, have tended to confirm old suspicions.
A number of potentially divisive moral issues would have been much more difficult if Mr Blair had been known to be a Catholic, even though his personal beliefs have not necessarily intruded into the government's decisions.
Ministers have enacted civil partnerships for gay couples and this year faced down demands, particularly from the Catholic church, for exemption from equality provisions enabling gay couples to adopt children, even though the prime minister favoured compromise.
Equally, the government has not attempted to limit abortion rights - an issue regarded as long settled in Britain except by some mainly Catholic groups - or pushed for reduced time limits, even though the church regards abortion as a sin. And it has permitted stem cell research without conceding to Catholic opposition.
Mr Blair, like President George Bush, ignored the condemnations and warnings of the Pope and all other church leaders over the war in Iraq.
He has been keen to expand the number of faith schools and church-supported academies, in the face of strong opposition from secular groups, but here again seemingly not for reasons of religious indoctrination but because of their parental popularity.
The criticism of Ruth Kelly when she was education secretary because of her membership of the lay sect Opus Dei - at a time when the novel The Da Vinci Code had made the group more widely known - also showed that the old prejudice could still be deployed. Mr Blair probably thought he could do without the extra hassle.
He has kept his personal religious views largely out of his political life. Ostentatious religiosity does not go down well in Britain. He dropped his wish to end a prime ministerial broadcast on the eve of the Iraq invasion with the words: "God bless" on the advice of Alastair Campbell, who famously told him "We don't do God".
Explainer: Becoming a Catholic
The path to purification
Converting to Catholicism is not a straightforward or easy process, as Tony Blair will have realised. It takes time - though how long depends on the candidate's readiness and aptitude - and is based on the church's assessment of their sincerity and commitment. The process is described in a 44-page document called the Rite of Christian Initiation.
When there was a rush of conversions from Anglicanism in the early 1990s, after the Church of England's decision to ordain women priests, there was considerable murmuring among lifelong Catholics that the conversion of defectors such as John Gummer and Ann Widdecombe had been too easily sanctioned by Cardinal Basil Hume, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales.
That is unlikely to be the case with Mr Blair since his conversion is clearly the result of a long period of consideration and is not due to a particular grievance.
Adults wishing to convert undergo a period of doctrinal and spiritual preparation with a priestly adviser to become catechumens, preparing for admission to the church. They are no longer required to make an abjuration of previous heresy but they do make a profession of faith and belief that they "consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts."
The rite says candidates are to receive help and attention, so that "with a purified and clearer intention they may cooperate with God's grace."
The process takes several stages of indeterminate duration: after the period of evangelisation there follows acceptance into the order of catechumens, then election, when the church ratifies candidates' readiness. A "period of purification and enlightenment" follows, usually on the eve of Easter, followed by the sacraments of initiation and then catechesis as the candidates are allowed to participate fully in the sacraments, such as communion.
Although conversions usually take place during the Easter period and in public ceremonies, this need not necessarily be the case if there are special circumstances - which the church could probably find for a former prime minister.