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:
- 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.