The journey to parenthood is for most people an exciting and nerve wracking time, from the point when you decide to grow your family to when that little person arrives. For queers, we have often been engaged in building chosen families and queer kinship ties for many years. Our families often combine many of the people who we’ve grown with over the years and adding children into this mix adds new joys and challenges into the hows and whys of it all. Whether solo parenting, adding a child into a couple or into a larger poly family structure, we want to be seen and honoured for our choices. Children come to us in many ways, from birthing them, fostering, surrogacy, adoption and blending families. No matter how we bring children into our families, having respectful care along the way where our identities and family structures are honoured, is key.
In the group, Queer and Trans* Pregnancy and Parenting (QTPP) that is facilitated through the Strathcona Midwifery Collective, many important themes have been highlighted. The main issue that has come up again and again as lacking in some areas of our care is respect. This need is paramount in times of vulnerability, in ultrasound centres, adoption agencies, fertility clinics, in obstetric and midwifery clinics, in hospitals as well as in daycare facilities and in the eyes of the law.
Queer and trans rights activists and allies have done so much amazing work for years, to protect our rights and our dignity, but there is much still do to. Some ideas that have come out of the QTPP group are to create intro letters for radiology clinics, trainings for midwifery and obstetric clinics, to create childcare collectives, and groups specifically for trans dads and postpartum depression. If you want to get involved or have ideas for other projects, contact the QTPP folks through facebook or email!
As social structures slowly change to understand and accommodate us, we need to keep doing what we do best, grow radical families and kids, strengthen our community ties, support the diversity within our communities and access resources along the way!
Vancouver is brimming with queer spawn and it is our kids who will lead us into new community spaces, new ways of connecting and new ways of growing along side each other.
Some great places to meet like-minded folks along your parenting journey are:
Community and Facebook resources:
By Cora Beitel
Originally from Montreal, I studied midwifery at UBC and now practice in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. I have a fabulous 12 year old, born at home in Vancouver. My clinic, the Strathcona Midwifery Collective, serves a diverse population that includes many queer and transgender clients. Through my practice, I co-facilitate a Queer and Trans* Pregnancy and Parenting Group which is a social space aimed at building community and offering support to queer and transgender folks on the parenting journey. Within my midwifery work and community organizing I aim to promote respectful and celebratory care for all my clients and have been specifically working and learning alongside my trans clients and community for the past few years.