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A Foster Family Story

A Foster Family Story
by PFP parent Leigh Braden

On September 21, 2017 I attended a foster parent recruitment meeting at the William Way Center co-hosted by the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and Philly Family Pride.

This meeting was held to recruit potential foster parents from the LGBTQ community who would provide loving homes to LGBTQ youth. I attended as a representative of A Second Chance Inc., an organization I work with that specializes in kinship care.

The organizers of the meeting had asked a panel of folks to speak about their experiences and share resources with the group – a foster care agency, LGBTQ foster parents and an 18-year old LGBT-identified youth named Frank.

The room fell silent to hear this soft-spoken, sweet, sad kid talk about how hard it had been for him in foster care, how he came to America from Indonesia fleeing persecution for being gay and how he had no family and wanted to be in a family.

He talked about his love for music and how he had to sell his keyboard when he went into care and how he missed feeling comfortable and affirmed. I could feel tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I approached Frank after the meeting and asked if we could have lunch together suggesting that maybe I could help him with this situation and find hiim a better home.

Frank agreed and that same week we met. He told me more of his story and how he was in an accelerated high school program in Indonesia and graduated from school early, about the circumstances he lived in while in Indonesia and the kind of fear and discrimination he felt as a sexual minority.

His father died when he was 4 years old and his mother plummeted into poverty and could not take care of her children any more. We talk for a long time. By the end of the lunch, I knew that we were the foster family that Frank needed. I knew that we could give him an affirming home.

My wife Sophie and I talked to our 8 year-old son who loved the idea of having a big brother. We had Frank over for dinner and the decision was made to offer to be his foster family. He said yes and I sprang into action.

We were certified in a month to be foster parents for Frank. This is very fast, but as a person who works in the field I knew exactly what we needed to do and how to get it done quickly.

Frank moved into our home October 27, 2017.

He has integrated into our family and we care about him.  He is neither soft-spoken nor sad anymore. He is a teenager, which is fun and frustrating all at the same time.

Frank is applying to colleges for the fall of 2018. I am teaching him how to drive, and Sophie and I are learning how to parent a teenager. Every day Frank sits at the piano in our home and makes beautiful music. We have high hopes for him and his future.

If you live in Pennsylvania and are interested in becoming a foster parent for LGBTQ youth, contact Leigh at


Transgender Day of Visibility

On Thursday, March 30, Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring March 31st Transgender Day of Visibility in the city.

“WHEREAS, One million Americans are transgender and have bravely overcome significant hardships to build vibrant and thriving communities, often in the face of systemic and interpersonal prejudice, discrimination, and violence; and

WHEREAS, We cannot simply celebrate visibility without also recognizing that it does not always equal justice; still far too many Trans people, in particular Trans women of color, continue to face profound threats to their safety and wellbeing; and

WHEREAS, Already this year we know of eight Trans women of color who were murdered — Jaquarrius Holland, 18 years old; Ciara McElveen, 21 years old; Chyna Gibson, 31 years old; Keke Collier, 24 years old; JoJo Striker, 23 years old; Mesha Caldwell, 41 years old; Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28 years old; and Alphonza Watson, 38 years old — for each Trans person killed or lost this year and in years past we mourn, we honor, and we say their names; and

WHEREAS, We also celebrate the beauty and resilience of Trans people through history and of those who are with us today, and we recognize that Trans people have contributed and continue to contribute in myriad ways to the betterment of our society and our city, often working at the forefront of social justice activism and human rights work; and

WHEREAS, Trans people, and in particular Trans women of color including Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, and Marsha P. Johnson, were instrumental in the creation of the modern gay rights movement in the United States, from the 1965 Dewey lunch counter protests in Philadelphia to the Stonewall riots in 1969 to the creation of radical new civil rights organizations;…”

Read the full resolution here. (PDF)

Thanks to the hard work of Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs, Councilwoman Helen Gym and City Council to speak out, advocate, and support this resolution.

Transgender Day of Visibility is another step towards ensuring the equal protection, safety, and full dignity of our transgender friends and neighbors.

Here is a transgender and gender nonconforming reading list of books for all ages.

Pictured is the group at the City Council press conference on March 30th after the passage of the resolution.


Black History Month Books for Kids

While learning about the history of black and brown people shouldn’t just be relegated to one month a year, PFP wanted to take this opportunity to offer some book lists, an upcoming event and a couple of new books for Black History Month.
First, be sure to check out The 25th Annual African-American Children’s Book Fair this Saturday, February 4th at the Community College of Philadelphia from 1-4pm. The fair is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for African American children’s books in the country. On average, over 3,500 people from across the nation attend.

lilliansNow for some relevant book lists:

Brown Sugar & Spice Books Elementary School Collection

Free Library of Philadelphia: Black Lives Matter, Elementary School

Free Library of Philadelphia: Martin Luther King, Books for Children

GoodReads Civil Rights Books for Children

GoodReads Picture Books for Black History Month

See below for a couple of books that are new. If you have other favorites, please join our Facebook group and make your suggestions to this list on there.

March 2March by John Lewis
March, a graphic novel trilogy, is a vivid first-hand account of Georgia Congressman John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

youngestmarcherThe Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson
Audrey was just 9 years old in 1963, during the civil rights protests in Birmingham, Ala., but that didn’t stop her from standing up and speaking out against racial segregation. Learn how her confidence and bravery made a difference.

Finally, if you plan to purchase these books, please consider doing so locally at bookstores such as Bindlestiff or Big Blue Marble. If you order on Amazon, please select Philadelphia Family Pride as your Amazon Smile organization. Thank you!

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