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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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Back to School: A Guide for LGBT Families
While the start of the school year can be a big relief for parents and a source of excitement for kids, it can also be a time of anxiety for LGBT families. Your child may be starting at a new school where students are less accepting of a family with gay dads, or new kids may be joining the class who have never met lesbian moms. And what about your fellow parents? Will they welcome you to class events and activities, or will you be stuck feeling like an outsider?
Thankfully, many schools are beginning to address the needs of LGBT-headed families, and there are plenty of resources out there to help you and your family have a successful school year. Here are a few steps you can take to make the transition back to school a lot smoother for you and your kids:
Did you know LGBT parents are more involved with their kids’ education than most parents? A recent study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 94% of gay dads, lesbian moms, and transgender parents attended back-to-school nights and parent-teacher conferences, compared to 77% of the general parent population. Attending events and participating in parent-teacher organizations can be a great way to connect with fellow parents, and your presence shows people that you all want the same thing: a quality education for your kids.
#LGBT parents are incredibly involved with their kids’ education. #GayParents Click To Tweet
Getting involved also means you may have opportunities to discuss your family situation and goals with educators and administrators. Many LGBT parents in the GLSEN study said that they felt invisible or ignored by their child’s school, so be heard! Talk to teachers and staff members about your questions and concerns, including:
- How are families like yours are included in class discussions?
- What types of books and resources are available to educate students on LGBT issues?
- How does the school handle anti-gay bullying?
Parent involvement is essential to a child’s success in school for any family, and for LGBT families, it can make a huge difference in how you and your child are treated by the school community.
In addition to being involved, you can set your family up for a successful school year by being proactive within your child’s classroom or school. Did you notice there weren’t any books about LGBT families in the school’s library? See if you can donate some! If the school doesn’t take donated books, provide some suggestions to administrators and librarians. There are many other ways being proactive helps, and a small step can make a big difference later on:
- Introduce your family to your kids’ teachers and talk to them about what your kids call you. For many teachers, this can help open communication.
- Support inclusion by encouraging your kids’ school to adopt neutral language on paperwork and letters home. Instead of “moms and dads,” ask them to say “parents.”
- Create support from other LGBT parents and organizations: other LGBT parents in your school may be navigating some of the same issues you are, and it’s important to reach out to other members of the community.
For gay dads or lesbian moms with younger kids, you can expect that your child’s classmates will have questions about your relationship and family. You’ll have to decide how open you want to be, but these questions can be a great opportunity to encourage tolerance and acceptance.
Questions about #LGBTFamilies can be a great opportunity to encourage tolerance and acceptance. Click To Tweet
No matter what you do, some people may continue to discriminate against families like yours. When this happens, the best thing you can do is build your child’s confidence and pride in your family. If your child comes home upset over bullying or an insensitive remark, make sure they know it’s not their fault, and give them the support and resources they need to understand why some people fear individuals and families who are different.
It’s also important to keep in mind that as kids grow up, their needs change, and they may feel the need to create space for themselves. Even kids who are proud of their gay dads or lesbian moms might go through phases where they don’t want their family identity to be so prevalent, and it’s important to maintain a balance between openness and involvement, and respecting your child’s desire for privacy.
Many obstacles facing #GayFamilies can be transformed into opportunities. #GayPride Click To Tweet
Challenges and Opportunities
Starting a new school year, especially if your kids are starting at a new school, can be difficult for any family, and LGBT parents may find themselves with even more challenges. At the same time, many of these obstacles can be transformed into opportunities to make the school year more successful for your family. Be sure to let us know if you have any tips for speaking to teachers and administrators, introducing yourself to other parents, and making your child’s school a more inclusive environment!