At the 2019 Family Matters Conference, there were several incidents where presenters and volunteers used gendered language that was harmful to our attendees and members of our community. We take these incidents seriously, and are committed to making our events as welcoming and affirming as possible for all who attend.
The PFP board apologizes for any harm these incidents caused. We are an organization made up of LGBTQ parents of all genders, and we are sincerely sorry for alienating members of our community.
For future conferences, we will be asking all conference volunteers to abide by Community Guidelines that will explicitly ask that volunteers and speakers use gender expansive language at the conference to be inclusive of the wide range of gender identities of attendees. Additionally, we are exploring options to train conference volunteers in inclusive language so that incidents like this do not happen again.
We continue to welcome feedback on the conference at this link.
In response to a post on our Facebook group, we looked up the PA state code and figured out that the ubiquitous Emergency Contact Consent Form that you fill out for your kids everywhere that says "Mother" and "Father" isn't required by law to say that. So we made a new form for you to use. Download it here.
There are more than 440,000 children in our foster care system nationwide, with over 120,000 of them waiting for a permanent family. More than 20,000 youth “age out” of care each year without any family and with limited support and resources. To address this problem, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) was recently introduced in Congress - by Rep. John Lewis in the House and Sen. Gillibrand in the Senate.
ECDF is a federal bill that promotes the best interests of children by increasing the number of foster and adoptive homes available to all foster children and improving services to LGBTQ and religious minority foster children. ECDF does so by prohibiting federally funded child welfare service providers from discriminating against children, families, and individuals based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status.
ECDF bans conversion therapy for children receiving or participating in federally funded child welfare programs or services. It promotes the well-being, safety and permanency of, and culturally competent care for, the 1 in 5 foster children who identify as LGBTQ and suffer greater rates of mistreatment and worse outcomes than non-LGBTQ foster youth. It does so by increasing access to best practices, resources, and technical assistance to states, tribes, and service providers, and by requiring data collection on LGBTQ foster youth and parents.
PFP Director Stephanie Haynes recently had an opinion piece printed in the Philly Inquirer on the topic and the Philly Gay News covered the introduction of the bill on June 20th.
PFP is a proud member of the coalition supporting ECDF led by Family Equality. Director Stephanie Haynes and board member Tariem Burroughs recently got to speak to Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey about the bill (pictured) and look forward to meeting with other local members of Congress to ask for their support.
Contact your member of Congress to ask for their support by clicking here.
PFP held our 2nd Annual PFP Picnic and Arts Festival in conjunction with the Mayor's Office of LGBT Affairs and the Mt. Airy Art Garage on Saturday, June 22nd from 11am-5pm at the Lovett Library Park in Mt. Airy. Over 300 people attended, making this our biggest event of the year (so far)!
Families enjoyed spreading blankets on the grass to enjoy the beautiful weather, story time by Icon Ebony Fierce (pictured below, photo by Kelly Burkhardt), a family yoga class, drumming with the legendary Jan Jeffries and music by Chana Rothman.
We also had a juggler, a balloon artist, a face painter and crafts with a local Girl Scout Troop. Mayor Jim Kennely stopped by to say hello as well as Councilmember Helen Gym and State Representative Chris Rabb.
Many thanks to the organizations who had resource tables at the event, including ACLU of PA, PFLAG Philadelphia, Sisterspace, Philadelphia Midwife Collective, Attic Youth Center, GALAEI, WOAR, FSP Against Bullying and the Mt. Airy CDC. Big Blue Marble Bookstore also had a table and did a brisk business selling books about and for LGBTQ families.
The picnic was covered by 6ABC, Philadelphia Tribune featuring board member Angel Brice and the Philadelphia Gay News. Be sure to pick up a paper copy of the PGN this weekend/next week; there's a full page spread of photos from the picnic!
On Sunday, June 9th, over 125 people marched with PFP's contingent in the biggest ever Philly Pride Parade where we unveiled our new organizational logo... see above! Watch for our new web site coming soon this summer.
The parade was filmed by 6ABC with gay dad and weatherman Adam Joseph commentating from the booth (pictured, right). The parade will air on 6ABC at 1pm on Sunday, June 30th as part of their coverage of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
PFP is grateful to board member and comic book author Jadzia Axelrod for her work designing this new logo for us. If you'd like a tshirt, we have limited adult sizes available, but we do have a full complement of youth, toddler and onesie sizes. Please email Stephanie Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll help get one or more to you. (Tshirts are $10; onesies are $5.)
Thanks also to NEST Philly for hosting us as we gathered for the parade and to Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym for marching with us.
Working with the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, PFP has held eight information sessions over the past couple of years to help recruit LGBTQ adults and other affirming communities to become foster parents, especially for LGBTQ youth.
Our next two recruitment events are set for Monday, March 11th at the Lovett Library in Mt. Airy and on Thursday, April 18th at the William Way Center in Center City. Both will be held from 6-8pm. Representatives from DHS and foster care agencies will be present with information on requirements, training and licensing process. In addition, we’ll have a panel of current LGBTQ foster parents and former foster youth speak about their experiences and answer questions from the audience.
PFP board member Leigh Braden is putting together a support group for LGBTQ foster parents that will start meeting later this year. If you are a licensed foster parent, please fill out this questionnaire to give us your input on how you’d like the group to run, when it will meet, etc.
In an effort to improve the foster care system as a whole, PFP is proud to sponsor a Speaker Series this spring on Best Practices for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care. At the first session, an audience of about 100 people heard from a panel of LGBTQ foster youth. (Pictured)
The next speaker in the series will be Shauna Lucadamo, the LGBTQ Affairs Project Manager from Allegheny County DHS. That talk is scheduled for Thursday, March 14th from 2:00-3:30pm at the University of the Sciences. CLE and CEU credits are available. Register at this link.
PFP Executive Director Stephanie Haynes serves on the Philadelphia Youth Residential Placement Task Force and has attended several meetings this spring to help the group come up with recommendations on ways to improve the safety and education of youth in placement as well as alternatives. Stephanie’s role is to ensure the needs and voices of LGBTQ youth are included in the discussion and the solutions offered.
There’s no new update yet, but in case you missed it in 2018, PFP is represented by the ACLU as an intervenor in the Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia lawsuit involving Catholic Social Services. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard the plaintiff’s appeal in November of 2018. We are awaiting their ruling.
Finally, PFP is working with the national LGBTQ family group Family Equality Council to respond to the Trump Administration’s directive from HHS to a foster care agency in South Carolina, allowing them to discriminate based on religion when serving foster parents.
In response to that directive, PFP has assisted FEC in getting Pennsylvania members of Congress to sign on to letters to HHS Secretary Azar opposing this move. Sen. Casey signed the letter from Senators and Reps. Dean and Scanlon signed the House letter.
Now the House Ways and Means Committee is going to be holding hearings about the actions of HHS. Philadelphia Congressmen Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle are on the committee, so want to make sure they get written testimony from Philadelphians on the importance of an inclusive, non-discriminatory foster care system. PFP will be submitting testimony, but if you have a positive or negative story to share about your experience, please share it with FEC here.
June 08, 2018
PHILADELPHIA – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in federal court today to intervene in a pending lawsuit brought by Catholic Social Services (CSS) against the city of Philadelphia over its policy barring agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples. The ACLU represents the Support Center for Child Advocates, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation and services to children in the foster care system, and Philadelphia Family Pride (PFP), a membership organization of LGBTQ parents and prospective parents.
Earlier this year, the city ended its practice of referring foster children to CSS because the agency refuses to license qualified same-sex couples to be foster parents or to place children with same-sex couples, which prompted CSS to respond with its lawsuit in the federal district court. The ACLU’s motion to intervene argues that the children and families served by Child Advocates and PFP would be harmed if CSS is successful in its lawsuit and asks the court for permission to participate in the lawsuit.
“The heart of this case is what is in the best interests of children,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Loving, supportive same-sex couples are willing to open their homes to kids in need, but CSS’s policy gives them one less avenue to make that happen. It would be a tremendous loss for our children if agencies were permitted to turn away good families based on failure to meet religious criteria.”
A motion to intervene allows someone who could be directly impacted by its outcome to join the lawsuit as a party. If the court grants the motion, the ACLU will be able to argue in court on behalf of Child Advocates and PFP to explain why a ruling in favor of CSS would harm children in the foster care system and prospective families who seek to care for them.
“Children in foster care in Philadelphia need every possible family that is ready, willing, and able to care for them,” said Frank Cervone, executive director of the Support Center for Child Advocates. “The Support Center for Child Advocates is entering the case to advocate for the best interests of all of Philadelphia’s children. We are in this for the kids. They need a voice in this dispute.”
CSS has asked the court for a preliminary injunction directing the city to continue to refer kids to CSS while the litigation proceeds. A hearing on CSS’s request for a preliminary injunction is currently scheduled for June 18.
“When families make the decision to open their hearts and homes to a child in need, they should not have to face discrimination by the child placing agencies,” said Stephanie Haynes, executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride. “Families that are prepared to help a child should be welcomed and supported, not turned away based on an agency’s religious disapproval.”
“When governments contract with private agencies to provide public child welfare services and pay them taxpayer dollars to do it, they may not permit them to turn away qualified families based on religious objections to those families,” said Leslie Cooper of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “That would violate the constitution.”
The Support Center for Child Advocates and Philadelphia Family Pride are represented by Leslie Cooper of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, Mary Catherine Roper and Molly Tack-Hooper of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Fred T. Magaziner and Catherine V. Wigglesworth of Dechert LLP, and Frank P. Cervone of the Support Center for Child Advocates.
A copy of the motion filed today by the ACLU is available at this link.
by Lee Carpenter
wedding cakeThis week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That’s the famous “gay wedding cake” case, in which a very religious baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a Colorado same-sex couple.The couple filed a complaint with the state agency responsible for enforcing Colorado’s LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination law. They won, and the baker appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that his right to the free exercise of his religion had been violated by the state.
So the baker won. And unfortunately, that’s led to a lot of folks on both sides claiming that all of America’s haters now have a “license to discriminate” as long as they cloak their animosity towards us in religious clothing.
That’s just not true. In fact, this ruling resolved none of the major issues in the case.
We didn’t know before this opinion whether a religious baker could refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. We still don’t.
We didn’t know whether baking a cake is the kind of artistic expression that makes it protected by the First Amendment. We still don’t know the answer to that either, because the Supreme Court didn’t rule on those things.
All the opinion said was that in this case, some officials sounded like they were being disrespectful and dismissive of the baker’s religious belief, and that that was unacceptable.
All of the big issues in this case will have to be resolved at some point, but for now, the Court has decided that this isn’t the right case to make big, bold pronouncements about how the balance between religion and LGBT civil rights gets resolved.
So for now, go about your business, and go to whatever business you like.
Lee Carpenter is a Temple University Law School Professor. She and her partner Tiffany Palmer live in Mt. Airy with their 11 year-old kid.
Lots going on in June 2018 in Philadelphia to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. We’ve included both events that we are organizing (the picnic on the 23rd!) and others that are in the community that we are planning to attend. Hope you can make it to some or all of them!
Pride Month Kickoff and Pride in the Plaza Celebration – Thursday, June 7th 5-8pm
Join the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs as we celebrate Pride Month with a City Hall flag raising ceremony and kickoff party on June 7th!
The official City of Philadelphia flag raising with the Mayor and City Council will occur from 5-6 pm followed by a huge party in the City Hall courtyard 6-8pm featuring food trucks, live performances, DJs, dancing as well as HIV testing, voter registration and legal expungement services!
Family Festival Pride Celebration at the Please Touch Museum – Saturday, June 9th, 9am
The Please Touch Museum is holding their first ever Pride event. Meet up with other PFP families at the torch in the main hall at 9am. RSVP on the Facebook event so we know to look for you! Families needing financial assistance to attend should reach out to email@example.com for discounted tickets.
20th Annual Philadelphia Dyke March – Saturday, June 9th, 3pm
Rally: Kicking it off at 3:00 pm at Kahn Park (11th and Pine streets); Free iced coffee will be available thanks to our friends at Good Karma!
March: Step off and take to the damn streets promptly at 4:00 pm!
After march: Chill in the park and have some free water ice as Philly’s Dyke performers rock the mic for the rest of the day! As always, PDM brings you electrifying speakers and performers, awesome entertainment and of course an opportunity to take over Philly’s streets!
Philly Pride Run 5k and 1.5 miler – Sunday, June 10th, 10:30am
Celebrate Philly Pride 2018 with Philly’s inaugural Philly Pride Run 5K Race AND the original 1.5 miler Fun Run down the historic Pride Parade route in Center City Philadelphia! Click the link for more details. The 1.5 mile race leads the Pride Parade!
Philly Pride Parade & Festival – Sunday, June 10th, 10am-4pm
March with PFP in the Philly Pride parade. Meet up in the area of 13th and Locust at 10:30am. March steps off at 11:30am. Look for the PFP banner and be sure to RSVP on the Facebook event or email us so we know to look for you. The parade route is 1.3 miles long and ends at Penn’s Landing (where you can take public transit or walk back to the beginning or continue into the festival.)
PFP will also again host the Family Zone at the Pride Festival at Penn’s Landing with crafts, books and blocks for kids and a place to rest for adults. Volunteer with PFP to get free admission to the festival! This year’s headline entertainer is Margaret Cho! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Drag Queen Story Time – Tuesday, June 12th, 4:30pm
Join the Free Library of Philadelphia for one of their many Pride events in June for a drag queen story time at the Fumo Library in South Philly with Brittany Lynn. See the full list of Free Library Events around the city for Pride.
Intergenerational Panel – Wednesday, June 19th, 6pm
This is not to be missed! Hosted at the main branch of the Free Library in the Skyline room, this event will be a discussion on LGBTQIA+ community, history, identity, and what Pride means to folx from a multitude of generations. See the list of other Pride Month events from the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs.
Family Pride Picnic and Arts Festival – Saturday, June 23rd, 11am-4pm, Lovett Park
Join hosts Philly Family Pride, Mt. Airy Art Garage and the Mayor’s Office for LGBT Affairs for a picnic and arts festival in the newly renovated Lovett Park on Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy as we celebrate pride with crafts, entertainers, FOOD TRUCKS, games, art and more. Special guests include Mayor Kenney, LGBT Affairs Director Amber Hikes, members of City Council and more to be announced. Rain date June 30th. More.
Phillies Pride Night – Thursday, June 28th, 7pm
This year’s Pride Night at Citizen’s Bank Park will take place in a game vs. the Washington Nationals and is sponsored by Giant Food Stores. The first 1,500 fans who purchase tickets to this event will receive a coupon for a Phillies rainbow flag. Click the link above for tickets. PFP families who want to sit together/meet up should email email@example.com. Tickets are discounted $4 when using promo code PRIDE.
Philadelphia Family Pride denounces the hateful rhetoric targeting our families in Representative Daryl
Metcalfe’s letter to Governor Tom Wolf in January 2018.
Rep. Metcalfe’s demand, signed on to by 24 of his colleagues, that birth certificates issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania be changed to specify “Mother” and “Father” instead of the current “Parent/Parent” language serves no practical purpose other than to discriminate against families such as those that comprise Philadelphia Family Pride and other families around the commonwealth.
Birth certificates play a central role in identifying and recognizing who has the legal rights to make decisions for a child and U.S. Supreme Court decisions clearly establish that same-sex couples have equal rights with respect to their children’s birth certificates as opposite-sex couples. Insisting that gendered terminology be used to describe those parents is a waste of the Commonwealth’s time and resources.
Our families are diverse and varied, and the birth certificates of their children should reflect that what matters to our children is the love and support that are what truly makes a family, not the gender of their parents. Philadelphia Family Pride calls on Governor Wolf and other representatives to speak out against these attacks on our families and our children and applauds the steps already taken to ensure that our families are recognized on these important legal documents.
You can find your state representatives here.
Contact Gov. Wolf here.