Biological Parenting in the LGBTQ Community
Everyday equality is what we do at Triangle Community Center. As the marriage equality movement celebrates its biggest victory yet in the Obergefell Supreme Court holding, it is time for Triangle Community Center to restate its mission to our community: the work for LGBTQ rights is not yet done. Our work for equality is ongoing. What we do in the name of everyday equality is not always about legislative or legal battles. It is about helping the people who need it, and building up a community that is currently underserved and needs care and guidance in their day-to-day lives. It is about supporting new families. One of the ways we support new families is through our partners at Gay Parents to Be in partnership with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut.
All of us at TCC strongly believe in the partnership that’s been forged with Gay Parents to Be. Educating the LGBTQ community about the services that Gay Parents to Be offers is an honorable and gratifying mission. The work we do together educates our community about parenting options they have available to them. Gay Parents to Be has led informational panels on biological parenting, also assisting transgender clients with biological parenting. Gay Parents to Be has its own case management program, one that understands and affirms the LGBTQ community; providing legal assistance and referrals, access to networks on how to raise and sustain a happy and healthy family. Giving people the means to lead their everyday lives on equal footing when compared to the lives of their heterosexual peers.
Growing up, I came to expect a typical answer when asking my friends where their families were from. I often heard, “my parents were both raised in the city, but they decided to move here to Connecticut when they were ready to build a family.” In this way, I grew to expect that Fairfield County is a wholesome and nurturing place to raise children, unlike the raucous streets of our nation’s largest city. However, like a large portion of Fairfield County’s children, I was also raised catholic. Among the many teachings I learned, I was also taught that there was only one way to build a family. As I began to mature, I soon realized that my identity did not fit the requirements outlined by my religion for fatherhood. I was heartbroken, as I had always envisioned myself as one day having my own family. I remember the year this realization came to me—in 2004, when the marriage equality movement had just started to become a common reference in the media, when there was still little understanding of LGBTQ identities and even less understanding of our families.
Eleven years later, many in our community now realize the idea taught to us by our culture and our religious institutions—that there is only one acceptable way by which a person can have a family—is untrue. Not only is our love and marital bond as strong as any other person’s or couple’s might be, but we have many options when it comes to building a family. The ability to have biological children is among these options, and that’s why our partnership with Gay Parents to Be is so important. Everyday equality means that LGBTQ families are treated with dignity and respect, and that prospective parents have access to all options when planning a family.