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Building Community as LGBT Families

Nearly a decade ago, when my partner and I first began to look into what our options were for starting a family, I was looking to connect with other LGBTQ families. I wanted to hear first hand experiences, get advice from parents who had walked this road, and connect with other prospective parents. Other LGBTQ families weren’t easy to find in the smaller city we resided in at the time, so I sought out community online.

Thanks to message boards I was able to connect with other families. From there I discovered a community of bloggers and started my own blog. I loved reading along with other families’ stories and sharing a bit of our own journey. These virtual friends were my tribe as I battled infertility, grieved losses, rejoiced in a long-awaited pregnancy and welcomed our first child into the world. Many of these friendships grew so strong and important that we made plans to meet face to face and introduce our families to each other, sometimes traveling significant distances to see the kids that we had dreamed about together all those years ago now playing together. Blogging for LGBTQ Families has been a lifeline for me.

Now, we live in Philadelphia, a much larger city, in a very LGBTQ friendly neighborhood with our six year old and three year old. We are surrounded by other LGBTQ families and our children have never known anything but a community of friends and neighbors made of all different types of families. I know how valuable that is to both us as parents, and our children as they come to understand the world we live in. This is one of the main reasons I serve on the board of Philadelphia Family Pride.

I know how lucky I was to begin my parenthood journey in the age of the internet…but I still had to search for and build my community. Philadelphia Family Pride helps build and nurture the community of LGBTQ families in Philly through social events and valuable educational resources for prospective parents and families. Our annual Family Matters Conference includes workshops on legal issues, financial planning, planning for parenthood, and social justice. We look forward to spending time with our friends at some of our favorite social events like camping, the aquarium, Smith Playground, the summer picnic or hiking. PFP really has been a treasure to our family.

Just recently I sat on a panel for one of our Maybe Baby group classes, and I was struck, looking around the room at the group of prospective parents. How amazing would it have been when we were researching parenthood to attend a class where we could talk to foster parents, reproductive technology specialists, parents that used known and anonymous donors, surrogacy agency representatives and other people trying to figure out how to build their families – all in one room! I love being a part of an organization that connects LGBTQ families with resources and each other.

Social Media and Our Kids

Today we are hosting a guest post by Amy Williams a social worker who specializes in helping parents understand how to navigate technology and the digital life that their tweens and teens are immersed in. This issue is fresh in our minds after last year’s conference theme was “Our Families and the Future” and there were many discussions about social media and their impact on our children’s futures. I hope our members find this infographic helpful. -Sandra Telep, Vice-Chair

Social media has been popular among teens for quite a few years now, but for LGBT teens and children of LGBT parents, the issues run deeper than that – one message copied and spread without their consent could reveal their orientation in front of their peers before they’re ready, and that’s a big problem. Unfortunately, many teens are exposed to shaming and gender stereotypes on social media everyday, and aren’t aware of the dangers until something goes badly wrong – but those who care are constantly looking for new ways of improving their privacy.

If your teen is worried about how they’ll be treated at school – which is perfectly understandable, given their increased chance of being bullied – you may want to keep a closer eye on what they’re saying and help them understand how a message they post without thinking could wind up hurting them. Effective monitoring software can help you keep an eye on what’s going on until they’re ready to handle it on their own.



Top Five Reasons You Should be at the 2014 Family Matters Conference

vdaygroupEach year for the past five years, Philadelphia Family Pride has hosted the Family Matters Conference for LGBT parents and prospective parents who are looking to learn, connect and share. It’s one of our most popular events and has become a valuable community resource. If you haven’t registered yet, here is why you should:

1. Topic: This year’s conference theme is “Our Families and the Future” and workshops will span subjects like social media, family planning and marriage. There’s something for everyone! Read more about the day’s schedule and programming.

2. Childcare: Participating in conferences can be challenging when you have young kids – that’s why PFP includes childcare in the cost of registration! Now you can focus on the discussion and your kids can have fun.

3. Location: This year the conference is at The Philadelphia School in Center City – this central location ensures no one has to travel too far to attend.

4. Sponsors: We’ve got a great list of sponsors that are helping make all this available to the community at a low price! ($20/adult for PFP members and $30/adult for non-members) If this is out of your reach, scholarships are available. Be sure to stop by the sponsor tables to thank them for making this event possible!

5. Community: Meet and connect with other parents and prospective parents that have gone/are going through a similar journey to yours.

This year’s conference is shaping up to be fantastic and we look forward to seeing you there! Register now!

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