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 email@example.com.
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.
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.Now 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 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.
The 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!
Philadelphia Family Pride, a local nonprofit group for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, grandparents and their children, expanded the board of directors for 2017 from 10 to 16 members at a meeting in late December. The new board was elected at the group’s annual New Year’s Day Brunch at Congregation Mishkan Shalom on January 2. The new board held its first meeting on January 29 and discussed goals and plans for the year.
Kelly Durand is in her second year as Board Chair. Vice-Chair Sandra Telep in her fourth year in that role
All of the 2016 board members carried over into 2017 including Gina Cline, who will now be the group’s Secretary, Sandy DiBerardino who will remain as Treasurer and commitee chairs Gregory Hedler (Membership) and Paula Estornell (Education and Advocacy). Other board members staying on will be in “Member at Large” slots, including Bryan Berchok, Gregory Yorgey-Girdy, Joel Nichols and Nijah Newton-Famous.
The board has six new members for this year: Phyllis Chamberlain, Events Planning Committee Chair, Terinae Holland, Fundraising Committee Chair and Members at Large Adam Podowitz-Thomas, Angel Brice, Ruby Augustus and Tariem Burroughs.
“With 100% retention from 2016 and more people interested in joining the board, we wanted to expand the number of board members. This will also allow PFP to hold more events and reach more LGBTQ parent communities in 2017,” commented Board Chair Kelly Durand.
For more information and a schedule of upcoming events, please visit www.phillyfamilypride.org and look for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Welcome to all the folks visiting Philadelphia this week for Creating Change 2017! If you brought your kids, Philly Family Pride, the regional LGBTQ parents group, has a few tips for you on where to take the little (and not so little) ones. All are LGBTQ-parent friendly. First we’ll go through 5 indoor places for those under five and then five places for the older kids.
Feel free to email PFP director Stephanie Haynes with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 places for under the under 5 set
It’s chilly, so we’re starting with three indoor places to keep warm and have fun.
Philadelphia Family Pride’s annual membership meeting will take place as part of our January 2nd Potluck Brunch on Monday, Jan. 2nd, from 11am-2pm at Mishkan Shalom, located at 4101 Freeland Ave. in Philadelphia.
The annual meeting will consist of informal conversations about plans for 2017 and election of board members for the new year.
As required in our bylaws, this email serves as notice for the annual meeting as well as the seven day notice required before the board can vote to make the following changes to the bylaws.
In an effort to expand the amount of work PFP can take on, the current PFP board is proposing to amend the bylaws and expand the number of seats on the board of directors from the current 10 members to 16 members for 2017 and beyond.
All 10 board members from 2016 are interested in staying on for 2017. The returning board members are:
– Bryan Berchok
– Gina Cline
– Gregory Hedler
– Gregory Yorgey-Girdy
– Joel Nichols
– Kelly Durand
– Nijah Newton-Famous
– Paula Estornell
– Sandra Telep and
– Sandy DiBerardino
The new board members nominated for 2017 are:
– Adam Podowitz-Thomas
– Angel Brice
– Phyllis Chamberlain
– Ruby Augustus
– Tariem Burroughs and
– Terinae Holland
Note that while we are adding all six of the new board positions as “members at large” our plans are to pair people with committee chair positions to spread the responsibilities and knowledge of the organization.
Here are the details of the four proposed changes. (Find our current bylaws here.)
1. The last sentence of Article IV, Section 1 currently reads: “…The board shall have ten directors, directly elected in the following positions:”We propose changing that sentence to: “The board shall have sixteen directors, directly elected in the following positions:”
2. In the same section Article IV, Section 1, change “Member at Large (2)” to “Member at Large (8)”.
3. The last sentence of Article IV, Section 5 reads “Members at Large will be elected on a single ballot and all members will be eligible to vote for two candidates for that position. ”We propose changing that to read “…vote for eight candidates for that position.”
4. Article IV, Section 6 (Quorum) says that “At least five board members must be present for quorum to permit business transactions to take place and motions to pass.”We propose changing that to read “At least nine board members must be present for quorum…”
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the Jan. 2nd brunch!Kelly
Chair, Board of Directors
Philadelphia Family Pride
Philadelphia Family Pride will hold our 7th Annual Family Matters Conference for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and our kids of all ages on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in the McNeil Science and Technology Center at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia near Clark Park.
Thank you to those who have already registered. If you haven’t already but plan to attend, please register now!
The deadline to register kids is Friday, October 21.
What’s going on for kids that day? Let’s start with the little kids.
For those 0-6 years old, we just confirmed that St. Mary’s Nursery School in West Philly will be providing their staff to play with those age groups on site at the conference.
In addition to crafts, games, blocks and some outside time, there will also be a music class appropriate for all – babies to school kids – from 12-12:45pm courtesy of the folks from Rhythm Babies.
For kids, tweens and teens 7-18 years old, we are very excited to welcome staff from COLAGE, well known for their programming during Family Week in Provincetown.
The day of programs provides opportunities for creativity, recreation and deep discussion while providing a safe environment to connect with other youth about challenges and joys they experience being part of an LGBTQ family.
COLAGE has found in over 20 years of providing youth programming, that regardless of a youth’s interests, personality, or experiences, they will have a positive and powerful experience connecting with each other through their programming.
Read more about what COLAGE has planned for the day here.
The end of the day, from 3-4pm, we will hold the COLAGE Panel: Voices of People in LGBTQ Families. This is an opportunity to hear and learn from our COLAGEr panel about their experiences growing up in an LGBTQ+ family or with a parent coming out.
Everyone is welcome and will have an opportunity to ask questions,and create dialogue around the topics that are discussed during the day’s workshops. This is always a powerful COLAGE program so we encourage you to stay, ask questions, and listen.
Thank you and don’t forget to register by October 21!
The following list was compiled by PFP board member and Free Library of Philadelphia employee Joel Nichols.
Let us know in the comments if there are other books you’d put on this list!
In addition to Amazon, please check your local bookstore such as Bindlestiff Books in West Philly, Big Blue Marble Book Store in Mt. Airy or Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room in Center City.
Story of Ferdinand: Leaf, Munro 1936
Little Blue and Little Yellow: Lionni, Leo 1962
Where the Wild Things Are: Sendak, Maurice 1963
A Color of His Own: Lionni, Leo 1975
The Paper Bag Princess: Munsch, Robert 1980
Tacky the Penguin: Lester, Helen 1990
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed: Chodos-Irvine, Margaret 2003
The Family Book: Todd Parr 2003
The Sissy Duckling: Fierstein, Harvey 2005
Rosie Revere Engineer: Beaty, Andrea 2005
10,000 Dresses: Ewert, Marcus 2008 (Some disagreement on our board over this book. What do you think?)
My Princess Boy: Kilodavis, Cheryl 2009
Cinnamon Baby: Winstanley, Nicola 2011
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild: Brown, Peter 2013
Wild: Hughes, Emily 2013
Not every princess: Bone, Jeffrey and Lisa 2014
This Day in June: Pitman, Gayle E. 2014
Jacob’s New Dress: Hoffman, Ian and Sarah 2014
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress: Baldacchino, Christine 2014
Happy in Our Skin: Manushkin, Fran 2015
Red: a Crayon’s Story: Hall, Michael 2015
Worm Loves Worm: Austrian, J.J. 2016
You know PFP’s Family Matters Conference is coming up on Saturday, October 29 at the University of the Sciences in West Philly, but you might not know about these seven exciting things about this year’s event. (Seven since it’s our seventh annual…)
1. Staceyann Chin is our keynote speaker! Haven’t heard of her? She’s a lesbian activist and poet, Jamaican immigrant, single mom and author who’s been featured in the New York Times, on Oprah and is currently starring in her one-woman show in DC “Motherstruck!”
Along with her daughter, she started a series of “Living Room Protests” on YouTube addressing social issues of the day.
2. A staffperson from COLAGE will be there to runprogramming for kids, tweens and teens from 7 to 18 years old. They run the popular programming at Family Week in Provincetown.
(We also will have child care and activities for babies, toddlers and little kids 0-6.)
3. Workshops on everything from Queer Parenting 101 to Connecting with Your Kids toHow to be a Trans Ally to Social Justice and the Family. See the full list.
4. Info for prospective parents on your journey to parenthood, wherever you are in the process. Experts and professionals also will be on hand to talk about babymaking and adoption options.
5. The Treat Yourself space will be an option for adults again this year, with an added bonus of Yogibo bean bags for relaxing.
6. Mealtime this year will be in the USciences dining hall and is an all-you-can-eat brunch with options for vegan and gluten-free diets. This is included in the price of registration.
7. The event is very affordable, especially if you sign up by October 1 for our early registration fee. Adults who are PFP members are $20 each. Non-members are just $30. After Oct. 1, it’s $30/adult for PFP members and $40 for non-members. All kids 18 and under are free. Child care and brunch are included.
Register now at this link and please help us spread the word by sharing this blog post.
Welcome to all the #LGBTDNC delegates visiting Philadelphia this week. If you brought your kids, Philly Family Pride, the regional LGBTQ parents group, has a few tips for you on where to take the little (and not so little) ones. All are LGBT-parent friendly. First we’ll go through 5 indoor places under and then five places for the older kids.
Feel free to email PFP director Stephanie Haynes with questions at email@example.com.
5 places for under the under 5 set
It’s HOT, so we’re starting with three indoor places to beat the heat and have fun.