Pride Month brings to mind how much lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and two-spirit families have accomplished, how far they’ve come, and how much there is to be celebrated.
But, of course, it’s not all rainbows for LGBTQ+ parents and prospective parents who live in places where rainbow crosswalks are vandalized, where they are threatened or even assaulted, and where support for their families often comes as an afterthought to straight families.
Same sex parents in BC were the first in Canada to be able to adopt children together, but even today they still have to jump through a tremendous amount of hoops to do so.
The legalization of same sex marriage in Canada has helped, of course, but even that has not ended the poor treatment and bigotry some parents, and their children, face.
It is easier to parent as a LGBTQ+ person these days, but it definitely isn’t easy.
So while there is plenty to celebrate this month, and at Pride festivals throughout the Lower Mainland later this summer, there is also room for improvement when it comes to welcoming and embracing LGBTQ+ parents into our parenting communities.
The Pacific Post Partum Society helps families who are experiencing postpartum mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, issues dealt with by many parents, including lesbian mothers, bi fathers, and anyone else in the LGBTQ+ community.
The early days of parenting bring on added stressors for everyone, from lack of sleep to social isolation. Gay fathers may be dealing with the sudden arrival of their adopted or surrogate child, as well as a lack of resources to help them adjust. Trans parents may deal with the hormonal fallout from childbirth, along with a lack of support from their own families.
LGBTQ+ parents need help, support, and a place to share their story, just like every other parent. Luckily, there are places in Vancouver and throughout the region where they can do just that.
There is a local Facebook group, Queer Families of Vancouver, for those who want to connect online.
Qmunity in Vancouver hosts Rainbow Families, a group for LGBTQ parents and kids, which meets at different events and locations in the Lower Mainland on the first Saturday of every month.
And there is the Pacific Post Partum Society, for everyone struggling with being a new parent. There is the support line, which runs from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Vancouver area number is 604-255-7999, and the toll-free number is 855-255-7999.
PPPSS offers telephone support for dads, non-birthing parents, family members and anyone dealing with stress after the birth or adoption of a baby.
PPPSS also offers support groups for mothers, and partner sessions are available periodically. Please call 604-255-7999 for more information.
Hopefully, in the future we can all take pride in the support we give to LGBTQ+ families in our communities.