Whether you are already a parent or are thinking about starting your own family, the unique challenges of raising children in the LGBTQ community can be overwhelming.
This Saturday, April 26, Rainbow Families DC (RFDC) will be presenting their 2014 Family Conference, “Creating Our Families, Building Our Community, Celebrating Our Strength”. The conference will bring together hundreds of parents, families, prospective parents, expert panelists, service providers, businesses, schools and others interested in connecting with the RFDC community.
Though some services have been offered to LGBTQ families over the years, RFDC was officially established in 2006 as a primary source for parents all over the D.C. metro area to connect with other families like theirs and receive the guidance necessary to traverse the road of out parenting.
“When we were exploring starting a family there were few resources available for folks outside of the beltway and creating our own families was still a bit uncommon even within the gay community,” says Renee Bradley, Vice President of RFDC. “Our first involvement was for us as future moms to find support and information from people going through similar experiences. As our children grew, the importance shifted to providing them with opportunities to see other families similar to theirs with two moms or two dads.”
Bradley and her partner Katherine became active life members in 2006. In 2008 she joined the board as the Co-chair for the Program Committee, and now she currently sits as the Vice President of the board.
“Being the only gay-led family in preschool, church, elementary school, and community activities has been a very positive experience for us, and defiantly challenged me to become more of an advocate for all ‘non-traditional’ families,” says Bradley. “It is still a bit rare to run into other families like ours and, so we have to pay more attention to creating those experiences.”
The conference workshops are designed to help prospective parents plan ahead, help current parents evaluate schools, as well as address common LGBTQ family concerns, including legal and financial advice, the event and research fair are sure to have something useful for every attendee.
“The conference team has worked hard to organize a full day of speakers, workshops, discussion groups, and social networking opportunities, all designed to provide information and resources on a variety of topic areas of importance to LGBT parents and prospective parents,” says Bradley. “The conference also includes a fun and nurturing day of activities for children two years and up called Kids Camp. Children in middle school and high school will attend an age appropriate program lead by COLAGE, geared to identify how the world ‘sees’ LGBT families and how they wish what the world saw was different.”
This year’s keynote speaker is the Emmy Award-winning and always funny Judy Gold, who is sure to not only offer some great insight but also share stories of her own hilarious journey through parenthood.
RFDC provides many activities like the Family Conference. Throughout the year members can participate in everything from playgroups, picnics, retreats, and even a Winter Family Dance. Their services reach beyond the beltway and deep into Maryland and Virginia to reach as many families as possible.
This year’s presenting are CT Fertility and Pink and Blue Surrogacy and Fertility.
Though online registration has already closed, on-site tickets will be available at $50 for RFDC members and $60 for non-members. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at Georgetown Day High School, 4200 Davenport St NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. For more information visit http://www.rainbowfamiliesdc.org.