Part of being a vibrant inclusive faith community is creating affirming space not only for LGBTQ people but for our families as well. More than a quarter of same-sex households include children, with studies showing 28.7% of families overall raising children, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. Among African-Americans, the number is even higher, with 34% raising children.
Take a look at your children’s programs and consider how welcoming they are to children from households other than ones headed by a mother and father. Many children are being raised by two mothers, two fathers, a single parent, a grandparent or parents, or in foster care. It can mean the world to kids to hear their kind of family affirmed in church, childcare, or in educational programs. Consider the following:
- How childcare providers and teachers talk about what a family is;
- Whether your paperwork to register children assumes a mother and father or offers space for alternatives (i.e. leaving a space of parents/guardians, rather than specifying the gender and type of parent);
- If your teaching materials include different types of families;
- How comfortable the leaders of your children’s’ programs are with children with LGBTQ parents; and
- If your library includes books that reflect diverse families.
Here are just a few suggestions if you are looking for inclusive materials:
- LGBTQ Families/Parenting Materials from Keshet;
- Our Whole Lives, a curriculum from the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association for people from kindergarten to adults that addresses issues of sexuality and gender; and
- LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum from GLSEN, , while secular in focus, these lessons can be adapted.
If you are looking for some children’s books to add to your collection or to read to children, here are just a couple of suggestions:
- My Dad is a Clown / Mi papá es un payaso, by José Carlos Andrés and illustrated by Natalia Hernandez, a bilingual book about a boy with two dads
- Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy, Papa and Me, by Leslea Newman, two classics about children with same sex parents
- Home at Last by Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka, about an adopted child with two fathers
- Mommies’ Family by Nancy Garden about a girl with two moms who responds when a classmate says no one has two mothers
- They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez, which invites kids to explore pronouns
- The Purim Superhero by Elizabeth Kushner about a boy with two dads deciding what to wear for the Jewish holiday
In a future post, we’ll look at welcoming transgender children and the kids of transgender parents.