Equality by definition means “the state of being equal”. One way or another we all have struggled to be equal. Whether it’s at home, at school, at work, asking for equal attention, equal pay, equal understanding and or equal rights. We will always have to fight to be equal for something in this world.
In Australia, after 13 years of campaigning for marriage equality, the LGBTIQ community has finally won their right to same-sex marriage. So, what generally happens after marriage? At some point, most of us want to start planning a family.
Many LGBTIQ couples have children and or have decided they want to have children. Rainbow Families, a 100% volunteer organization, is aimed to provide a supportive network to families within the LGBTIQ community.
Rainbow families help build communities, they hold events and plan regular meetings to foster friendship both for children and parents alike. Children’s early years are the best time to be around like-minded families. In a relaxed and friendly environment, they share experiences, seek advice, ask questions and offer support to one another.
Above all, they offer experiences to build connections that will help children to talk, open up and relate to others.
Can you tell us a little bit about how and why Rainbow Families came about?
Rainbow Families has its origins in two separate New South Wales same-sex parenting social groups:
Rainbow Babies and Kids which supported predominantly lesbian mums and
Gay Dads NSW which supported predominantly gay dads in New South Wales.
Prior to 2016 both of these non-incorporated groups were working independently to provide social support to lesbian mothers and gay dads in NSW. In late 2014, Ms Nadine Sharpe stepped down from her role as Rainbow Babies and Kids coordinator and passed the mantle of co-ordinator to Ms Justine Maguire-Scarvelli.
Motivated by a dream of providing sustainability of the organisation and good governance of future community events, Ms Maguire–Scarvelli floated the idea of a committee structure for the group, to further drive the development of Rainbow Babies and Kids. Maguire–Scarvelli believed the change would enable greater opportunities for Rainbow Babies and Kids to serve the community in the future.
Interested people began to show interest in joining the committee and over the coming months, a team grew. This committee was convened by its chair, Justine Maguire-Scarvelli, and Scott Brunelle became co-chair. Scott had been coordinating educational and social events for the Gay Dads in NSW since early 2011.
In late 2015, the committee again expanded and added same-sex parents with experience in Advocacy, Fundraising, Psychology, Marketing, Media and Social Work and Education.
More details on our website
What advice can you give to LGBTIQ couples who are planning to have a child?
If having a child is what you really want to do then you need to work hard to achieve this goal. It isn’t straightforward for a LGBTIQ person to have a child and there is no perfect way to create a family. It takes drive and determination. You need to research all of the options and then work hard to achieve your goal.
The Making Rainbow Families Seminar is a great place to get all the information you need to start your journey.
So far, what has been the greatest achievement Rainbow Families has received?
The greatest award Rainbow Families has received is the LGBTIQ Honour Award. More details here.
- Being instrumental winning marriage equality
- The Love Makes A Family Report into discrimination
- Running Australia’s first LGBTIQ Antenatal Class
What should the Kiddi-Community expect from you?
Information for and about LGBTIQ parents and their families on:
- Current advocacy work or concerns for Rainbow Families
- Upcoming education campaigns for Rainbow Families
- Eventsthat are being hosted by Rainbow Families.
If I was a genie and could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for? (and why?…)
- Equality for LGBTIQ families. There are still so many areas of discrimination for LGBTIQ parents, particularly for trans and gender diverse parents.
- Education and training for all early childhood educators and teachers on how to be respectful and inclusive of LGBTIQ families.
- Safe Schools or a similar program to be reintroduced to school curriculum.
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