Back to school time is quickly approaching, and although school may look different this year for many families, the typical stressors of this time will likely be exacerbated by the pandemic. Many parents are concerned about the safety risks involved in sending their children back to school.
According to a report by the University of Michigan School of Medicine, about one third of public school parents in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio reported being unsure or planning not to send at least one of their children to school for in-person instruction. Parents of color were less likely to report they would send all of their children to school compared to parents identifying as white/non-Hispanic, and parents from lower-income households were the least likely to report that they would send all of their children to school than any other subset of parents .
The School District of Philadelphia recently announced a proposal whereby most K-12 students would participate in a hybrid model - the same group of students staying together with the same teacher for the entire school day and assigned to two days of face-to-face instruction, supplemented by three days of online learning .
Although the majority of staff and parents/guardians surveyed by the district reported feeling comfortable returning to school if all of the schools proposed safety measures were implemented, concerns remain for ensuring school cleanliness throughout the entire day, safety for students with asthma and other chronic conditions, and childcare needs for staff .
As of last night, the district remains in a deadlock as to whether this plan will actually take place, as six hours of criticism from parents, school principals, and teachers resulted in a delay on the school board’s vote on the plan. The issue continues to be fraught with fierce debate, with Superintendent William Hite, city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farely, and the American Academy of Pediatrics urging schools to reopen in some capacity for the sake of the healthy development and well-being of the district’s most vulnerable learners. Parents and teachers cited concerns of maintaining proper sanitation in schools ridden by asbestos and other safety issues as some of the key reasons for their opposition to reopen .
The layers of complex uncertainties and concerns regarding sending children back to school this fall will certainly add to the typical stressors of this time of year.
Schooling challenges for Lgbtq+ led families
As if back-to-school time during a pandemic didn’t add enough anxiety to back-to-school time, starting a new school year is often much more stressful for LGBTQ+ parents than heterosexual parent families. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education (GLSEN) network’s report on experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender parents and their children in K-12 schools found that more than two thirds (66%) of parents reported that they ever worried about their child’s safety at school. Over half (57%) of parents reported worrying that their child would have problems in school because of having an LGBT parent, and almost half (48%) reported that they worried about their child’s ability make friends at school .
Children of LGBTQ+ families do in fact experience mistreatment at school, with anxiety and levels of mistreatment increasing into and through adolescence. Teenagers of LGBTQ+ parents have reported peers using derogatory language and engaging in forms of violence against them due to their parents’ sexual orientation or gender identity . Lack of inclusion and representation are also concerning for schooling children of LGBTQ+ parents. Many LGBTQ+ parents do not feel supported at school, and therefore are hesitant to involve themselves in school activities. Additionally, most American schools do not include diverse family structures within their curricula and few textbooks include LGBTQ+ issues .
Although the prospect of home learning may appear to mitigate these effects, more time online also means more opportunities for cyberbullying. Research suggests that teens who are “different” are at higher risk for bullying, including cyberbullying. According to GLSEN, 48.7% of LGBTQ+ students report experiencing electronic harassment, including bullying via text messages and/or social media . Although research is limited on rates of cyberbullying for children of LGBTQ+ parents, even students who deny overt bullying experience microaggressions related to their parents’ sexual or gender identity, including verbal insults or social snubbing . This can certainly be exacerbated online, where anonymity allows for the opportunity to harass and bully youth with lower chances of consequences than bullying at school. Luckily, many organizations are fighting for better schooling experiences for LGBTQ+ parents and their children, as well as LGBTQ+ youth, by providing guides and resources to help parents find the best school fit for their children in addition to providing trainings for educators and administrators on how to make their schools more LGBTQ+ inclusive. We have compiled some of this information below which we hope you find helpful. We have also included some books and videos that represent a variety of LGBTQ+ families.
Be on the look out for upcoming information about PFP's virtual book fair with Big Blue Marble Bookstore!
Washington Post - Queer families and back to school
The Next Family - Tips for LGBTQ+ parents on picking a school
Lesbian moms - How to talk to teachers about your family
Lesbian moms - Back to school (LGBT parents spoof)
Queer Kid Stuff Just 4 Grown Ups - 5 tips for making your classroom queer-inclusive
Human Rights Campaign - Learning about school policies
Human Rights Campaign - How to exercise your rights
Human Rights Campaign - School resources for parents
Human Rights Campaign - Cyber bullying resources
BOOKS AND VIDEOS
7 LGBT books for kids
LGBT family books for adults
Books about raising children as an LGBTQ+ parent
Mombian - Books, music, and more
Pop'n'Olly - LGBTQ+ edutainment for kids
Welcoming Schools - Great LGBTQ inclusive picture and middle grade books
- Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Legal, medical, and societal advances have allowed for enormous expansions of options to build families led by LGBTQ+ parents. The prospect of becoming a parent, a gift unavailable to the LGBTQ+ community for centuries, is both exciting and overwhelming. Through my time here at PFP organizing and helping to facilitate our summer series of prospective parenting classes, I have learned just how complex this process can be physically, legally, and financially. Gaps in family planning between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ people are narrowing, with 48% of LGBTQ+ millennials (18-35) reporting a plan to grow their families compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ+ millennials. However, young LGBTQ+ individuals are relying even more on methods outside of intercourse for building their families than previous generations of LGBTQ+ folks, with 63% looking to foster care, adoption, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) to grow their families . These methods often include complex legal, physical, financial, and socio-emotional challenges that are distinct and challenging compared to conceiving via intercourse. Additionally, some of these methods, such as private adoption and ART, are financially impossible for many LGBTQ+ folks, who face poverty and gaps in health care at a rate much higher than their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts .
The endeavor can be even harder for LGBTQ+ folks of color, as evidenced by a 2018 study outlining the experiences of queer women of color within the family formation space. Qualitative interviews of 13 self-identified parents of color who used donor insemination to conceive their children reported feelings of hopelessness while interacting with sperm banks, citing a lack of anonymous donors of their racial identity to choose from. Many were also concerned about transracial adoption and anonymous donors, citing concerns for their potential child’s future racial and cultural identity development. Most parents chose donor insemination by a known donor over adoption or anonymous donor insemination for this reason, citing cultural beliefs about knowing one’s origins . Transgender parents also report barriers to family building, citing unique challenges such as feelings of being rushed into making decisions about physical transitioning without receiving sufficient information and options for preserving fertility or reproductive organs . Thus, the most important strategy for combating these challenges appears to be preparation, information, and support. The more knowledge acquired about the complexities and nuances surrounding building a family as an LGBTQ+ prospective parent including costs, affirming providers, methods, and legal considerations can help make the process smoother and more positive. Please see our recordings of our virtual prospective parenting classes on our Facebook page (also linked below) which will hopefully aid in providing some of the vital information needed to make your family planning process as positive as possible. Additionally, we have compiled resources below regarding building your family as a member of the LGBTQ+ community which we hope you find helpful.
- Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Gender roles within LGBTQ+ led families tend to model much more variation than the heteronormative structures largely represented within U.S. culture. A common myth about LGBTQ+ parenting includes the false narrative that children without distinct cisgender male and female parental role models will experience detriments to their development, particularly within gender identity and sexual orientation. Of course, this is far from the truth, as evidenced in several bodies of literature. A 2010 study examining differences in psychosocial development and gender identity between children in lesbian parent families compared to children in heterosexual parent families found no differences in psychosocial adjustment between the two child groups. Furthermore, they found that children with lesbian parents felt less parental pressure to conform to gender stereotypes and were less likely to view their own gender as superior than those with heterosexual parents . Additional evidence has shown no differences in knowledge of gender stereotypes or preference for current or future activities based on parental sexual orientation . It is suggested that divisions of labor have more influence on gender-based occupational aspirations of children than the gender roles or expressions of their parents. In a study examining these influences, children whose parents practiced equal divisions of labor within the household and had more liberal attitudes about gender were shown to be more flexible in their own career aspirations and gender stereotypes than children whose parents practiced unequal divisions of labor and conservative views of gender roles, regardless of parental sexual orientation .
These behavioral patterns appear to hold true regardless of same-sex parent family make up, as evidenced by a 2018 study which observed gender-typed behaviors related to toy preferences in preschool children. In this study, researchers found no significant differences in gender-typed behaviors between sons of lesbian mothers, daughters of lesbian mothers, sons of gay fathers, or daughters of gay fathers, and that, on average, self-reports and observations of gendered behavior in each of these groups were more likely to reflect gender conformity than gender nonconformity. This held true into and through middle childhood, as evidenced by similar observations in the same children five years following the initial assessment, suggesting that factors outside of parental sexual orientation, such as age and gender, have greater influence on gender development in children of homosexual parent couples . Although the studies mentioned above focus on effects of parental sexuality on gender development, there is also no evidence to suggest that having a transgender parent has an effect on a child’s gender identity, sexual orientation development, or any other developmental milestones . Clearly, children are more drawn to social representations and parental and societal attitudes about gender and gender roles as models for their own behavior than the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of their parents. Additionally, it appears that children with parents who identify outside of the hetero-cisgender space are actually less distressed about their gender because of the flexibility their parents have demonstrated in attitudes toward gender identity and roles. Thus, the literature surrounding the influence of having LGBTQ+ parents on a child’s gender identity development and understanding of gender roles suggests that there is much more involved in these processes than the simple reality of having a LGBTQ+ parent. We have compiled the following resources which explore navigating gender in LGBTQ+ led families in addition to suggesting strategies for discussing gender with your children.
Lesbian Moms - What do your kids call you?
Queer Kid Stuff - NO MORE GENDER ROLES!
Queer Kid Stuff - What do you call queer parents?
Queer Kid Stuff Just 4 Grown-Ups - How 3 queer parents handle kids and gender
New York Times - How same-sex couples divide chores, and what it reveals about modern parenting
Harpers Bazaar - I live with a woman – we’re not immune to emotional labor: How LGBTQ couples navigate gender roles at home
Parents.com - Explaining nonbinary: How to talk to kids about gender
Post Written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Reproductive technology and legal advances have allowed for a growing number of LGBTQ+ folks to create and build families. As of 2016, about 37% of those who identify as LGBT have parented children, and the proportion of same-sex couples with adopted children more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 from 10% to 21%. Although these strides have brought the gift of parenthood to our members and friends, being an LGBTQ+ parent brings unique challenges, many of which have been underrepresented in the media and understudied in scientific literature. Arguably, one of the most challenging aspects of queer parenting is the choice of disclosure of sexual and gender identities to children, family, school, and the greater community. Disclosure can have significant implications for children’s experiences among family and peers, particularly when the family identity is challenged. However, early communication with children about their family identity has shown to help children prepare for questions they may face from peers and others, and has been described as an ongoing conversation rather than a specific moment of “coming out". Each person’s coming out experience is unique to themselves and their family situation, and as such we have compiled a list of resources by LGBTQ+ parents and children of LGBTQ+ parents on the topic of coming out which may help facilitate the conversation across various settings and circumstances.
Gays with Kids - Coming out to your kids
COLAGE - What to do when your parent comes out
Ask the Therapist - How should I introduce my boyfriend to my daughter?
Ask the Therapist - My son wants a mommy, how do I respond?
Rainbow Relatives: Real-World Stories and Advice on How to Talk to Kids About LGBTQ+ Families and Friends
LGBT Parents - Telling your kids about your family
Stonybrook Medicine - Gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents information guide
The Body is Not an Apology - Talking to children about the trans* experience
New York Times - My mom never tried to hide the fact that we are a family
Queer Mamas of Color - All the ways people make families
Queerspawn Resource Page
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Philadelphia is set to enter the “green” phase of reopening on July 3 following over three months of economic closure due to COVID-19. Although many businesses will reopen and summer activities will begin or resume, it is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 has not disappeared, and specific action will be required to ensure sustained declines in transmission and avoid rapid reclosure. The COVID-19 resource page on the Philadelphia Family Pride website is now updated with COVID-19 related resources within Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, in addition to information on virtual programming and social-distance friendly summer activities for families with children of all ages. In addition to the newly shared resources, we would like to share some information on two key efforts for expanding and sustaining reopening goals, which will require everyone’s cooperation to be successful – masking and contact tracing.
Regular use of masks in public spaces has become common practice over the last few months. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 15 states plus Washington D.C. in which masks are required in any essential business, a trend which will likely continue as the states reopen. Although rules behind masking may seem arbitrary at times, emerging research continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of masking in preventing transmission of COVID-19, which will prove a key strategy for sustaining economic reopening. A recent study out of the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health evaluating the effectiveness of masking based on state mandates for public use found a significant decline in daily COVID-19 grown rate after orders were enacted requiring community masking. These effects increased over time, with an estimated 230,000 - 450,000 COVID-19 cases possibly averted because of masking mandates made between March 31 and May 22. Of the 20 states that required essential employee masking, but not community-wide masking, changes in county-level COVID-19 grown rates were small and insignificant, thus suggesting that community-wide masking policies are the only effective mask-based measures for slowing transmission. Thus, sustaining reopening plans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will require all of us to adhere closely and conservatively with masking policies.
contact tracing: what to expect if you get the call
In addition to consistent masking, another key reopening strategy will include active participation in contact tracing. Many of you have likely heard some buzz around Contact Tracing, an emerging effort to identify and track individuals who may have encountered someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to joining the PFP team, I spent some time volunteering with Penn Medicine’s Public Health COVID-19 Response Team, and wanted to share my experience so folks know what to expect if they receive a call.
Contact tracing involves two arms of efforts, one - identifying and interviewing positive “cases” on where and to whom they’ve been in contact within the two weeks prior to becoming ill, and two - calling potentially exposed “contacts” to inform them of their exposure and give guidance on how to slow the spread of transmission. If you test positive for the virus following testing at a Penn Medicine facility or drive-thru center, or are identified as a contact, here are some explanations to common questions I have experienced through my work as a tracer. Please note, this guide is based on my personal experience with Penn Medicine and although many contact tracers follow similar operations, your experience may be different based on where you (or the positive case) got tested.
To reiterate, none of your information is shared outside of the contact tracing system and the Department of Public Health. Through the work contact tracers have done so far, we have saved lives and stopped the spread of disease, likely a piece of why Philadelphia’s case rates continue to decline. However, none of that work is possible without the trust and cooperation of the people we are calling. I hope this clarification will ease confusion regarding contact tracing and help you be more prepared if someone calls you. For more information, please see Penn Today’s recent article regarding contact tracing.
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Happy Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a celebration and remembrance of the announcement that the last of the enslaved people in the confederacy were free, over two years following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous day occurred on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, alongside 2,000 Union troops, arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and issued order No. 3, establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, and thus freeing the remaining 250,000 enslaved individuals in the state. The day became known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Of course, the announcement of freedom and order No. 3 did not result in instant prosperity for the newly freed individuals, who continued to endure violence and forced labor at the hands of white people despite their legal independence. However, Juneteenth provided a day for the Black people of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to rally around, celebrating resilience and hope in the face of over 200 years of enslavement. As Black people presently continue to strive for equality and true liberation 155 years following order No.3, Juneteenth remains a day of vibrant celebration throughout the United States.
Although originating in Texas, migrations of Black people throughout the United States spread celebrations across the country. Today, parades and festivals are held annually in many major cities, and the momentous day is celebrated with family reunions, visits to African American historical museums and sites, readings and discussions of historical literature, and many more activities. You can find ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Philadelphia with your family here.
This year marks the first year that Juneteenth is recognized as a city-wide holiday in Philadelphia and is observed statewide in Pennsylvania. Many workplaces are participating by pausing work for the day to reflect upon and explore anti-racist media and materials. I have compiled some great resources, including those specifically geared to parenting. I hope you find the materials informative and helpful.
Additionally, PFP is co-sponsoring the Philly Queer March for Black Lives this Sunday, June 21st at 1:30pm starting at Love Park. This event will connect members of local Black and LGBTQ+ communities and their allies to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia. We will center and celebrate the intersection of Black and LGBTQ+ communities by recommitting to the fundamental principles guiding the first “Pride” and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Speakers will share personal perspectives and emphasize the importance of equality and visibility for all, specifically highlighting our Black and Brown siblings. Please see the Facebook event page for more information.
SAFETY NOTE: This is a peaceful event, is unpermitted and will *not* be coordinated with law enforcement. Social distancing, wearing masks and taking other COVID-19 health and safety precautions is essential at this event.
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Help us welcome Taylor Goldberg (she/her/hers) to the Philadelphia Family Pride team as a summer intern through the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program (BTGCHIP). BTGCHIP is an interdisciplinary program for graduate-level trainees in healthcare and social services which aims to deliver health-related support to marginalized populations across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
As the realities of COVID-19 have forced the program to run remotely, Taylor will serve as an organizational support for Philadelphia Family Pride from home four days a week, spending one day per week with other BTGCHIP students in curricular sessions focused on improving healthcare delivery for vulnerable populations.
Taylor is a rising second-year student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in Healthcare Social Work. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Temple University in 2017 and served as a Clinical Research Assistant in the Division of Rheumatology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia prior to attending graduate school. Her interests include adolescent medicine, reproductive health, long term management of chronic disease, interdisciplinary medical care, and the intersections of mental and physical health. She has been a lifelong ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and is excited to learn more about the unique challenges in parenting and prospective parenting within this group.
Taylor grew up in Willow Grove, PA and currently lives in South Philadelphia with her two friends and a very demanding (but cute) cat. She enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, cooking, traveling, and visiting her favorite Philadelphia restaurants. She comes from a family of Philadelphia Eagles fans and never misses a game. She is looking forward to a great summer with Philadelphia Family Pride!
The board and leadership of Philadelphia Family Pride writes today to say, emphatically, that Black Lives Matter. We (re)affirm that the on-going, systematic, state-sanctioned violence against Black people by this country is a crime that cannot continue and that an end to white supremacy is long, long overdue.
As an organization dedicated to LGBTQ families, we feel called to remind our community that the history of LGBTQ rights is filled with “violent” protests, property destruction, riots, and many other responses to the unjust oppression of a people. This is not the time to worry about methods. It has been 520 years since the first African people were kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas. 520 years of state-sanctioned genocide in one form or another, from enslavement to the prison industrial complex. The Boston Tea party was a property destroying protest; the Boston Massacre started with rocks thrown at soldiers. We celebrate those riots as acts of patriotism and bravery – and they were just fighting about taxes and voting rights. How can any reaction to 520 years of violence be seen as anything but justified?
To those in our community who may say that racism is not the work of an LGBTQ organization, we remind you that we are a vibrant multi-racial community. And that, sadly, our community is not immune to racism and white supremacy. Much of the work for LGBTQ liberation has been (and continues to be) led by people of color, only for those people and their critical work to be erased. If we as an LGBTQ community do not stand against racism, we abandon ourselves, our families, our history, our community.
To those of us who are not Black – we will be re-posting reading lists and other resources for educating ourselves and our children and taking appropriate action on our Facebook page. The first and most tangible way to support this fight is to provide resources to those on the front lines. Consider supporting the following grassroots organizations:
Philly Community Bail Fund https://www.phillybailout.com/
Black Lives Matter, Philly Chapter: http://www.blmphilly.com/donate/
Black & Brown Workers Cooperative: http://blackandbrownworkerscoop.org/
Black Visions Collective: https://secure.everyaction.com/4omQDAR0oUiUagTu0EG-Ig2
Reclaim The Block: https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2
Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate
We at PFP are working hard to respond to the needs of our members during the stay at home order in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Online drag queen story times, parent meetups and parenting talks have happened already, but we want to hear from you!.
Please fill out this short survey - https://forms.gle/zSMZC5H7UiELn44SA
It's a new year and PFP has a new idea! We are going to collect your favorite easy, weeknight dinner recipes and compile them into PFP's first ever cookbook! The book will be a fundraiser for the group and available in both PDF and print versions. (PFP members who submit a recipe will receive a free copy.)
So, what are your favorite easy, weeknight recipes? We are hoping for a wide range of dietary needs too: vegan, gluten free, etc..
Submit your recipes at this link - as many as you'd like! We will compile as many as we can and will credit each family whose recipes are used for publication.