WorldPride Human Rights Conference

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LGBTQ Parents as Activists in Canada …

LGBTQ Parents as Activists in Canada
Canada is a global leader in LGBTQ parenting equity issues – but we aren’t done. In this presentation, Andy Inkster draws connections to equity struggles based in reproductive justice originated by women of colour in the US.
In a context of global societal homophobia and transphobia, parenting is one of the flashpoints for homophobic repression.
Through intersectional analysis and work, LGBTQ family activists here in Canada can work with LGBTQ parents on a global level - whether in partnership with LGBTQ family activists and advocates globally, or with LGBTQ parents who are newcomers to Canada.




Andy Inkster (Toronto, Canada) is the Health Promoter for the LGBTQ Parenting Network and a trans parent to one child. Andy has been working on community initiatives to support queer and trans parents for over a decade.

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  • LGBTQ Parents as Activists in Canada This panel will draw together activists from around Canada to speak about how their activism and advocacy work is informed by their experiences as queer parents. The panel will focus on activism and advocacy issues related to LGBTQ parenting. Central to the conversation amongst LGBTQ family activists in Canada are issues around family formation and recent legislative changes. Recent changes to Canadian legislation that mandate and explicitly favour openness in adoption, and increased regulation of assisted human reproduction, have had and will continue to have broad implications for LGBTQ parents and our communities. Other issues faced by activists include ongoing support for the children of our communities, particularly outside of major urban centres. Parent activists are also engaging with schools as both the central site of socialization for our children, and as social structures that shape Canadian society and can play a pivotal role in eliminating homophobia, heterocentrism, and cissexism.
    Andy Inkster (Toronto, Canada) is the Health Promoter for the LGBTQ Parenting Network and a trans parent to one child. Andy has been working on community initiatives to support queer and trans parents for over a decade.


    Andy Inkster, MA is the Health Promoter for the LGBTQ Parenting Network, Sherbourne Health Centre. In his work, Andy creates resources and develops educational and community-building opportunities for LGBTQ parents and prospective parents. He is one of the co-facilitators of Queer & Trans Family Planning(s), a family planning course developed in partnership between The 519 Church Street Community Centre and the LGBTQ Parenting Network. A queer and trans parent himself, Andy has been involved in queer and trans family planning work since 2005 as a member of the Trans Fathers 2B working group.
  • Other ideas?
  • Other ideas?
  • History of LGBTQ parenting – despite media attention on the “new” LGBTQ families, our communities have always included parents.
  • Alison Wearing’s book “Confessions of a a Fairy’s Daughter” – growing up with a gay dad discusses many of these themes.
    In the book, which is a memoir of Wearing’s 1980s childhood, the story is told from her perspective, that of her mother, and that of her father, her father is married to her mother and coming out in his own time and his own way.
    Their family lives in Peterborough, Ontario, about a three hour drive from Toronto, and her father moves between the small-town of Peterborough life and the life of a gay man in Toronto.

    His coming out journey is supported by Gay Fathers of Toronto – a group which is still in existence.
  • The changes at the level of policy and procedure at CAS have come about through activism and advocacy work by LGBTQ parenting organizations and individuals.
  • Pregnancy, assisted human reproduction, and fertility preservation remains controversial for trans people

    A central issue with AHR has been and remains access – both financial since most AHR is not covered by public or private insurance, and rural/urban divides – in urban centres, people have many options, and those who live rurally may have none
  • This is an example of a grass roots organization – while GFT isn’t currently involved in activism or advocacy work, their main function is supporting their members, carrying out this work is itself an act of activism.
  • Based on principles of social justice
  • Handout for the family planning courses
  • We’ll move on now to where we are going and the value systems that our efforts //must// be based on.

  • RJ is fundamentally a movement begun by women of colour, in the United States, in the context of extensive discussion by white women about access to abortion.
  • All of these are part of reproductive justice – we must work intersectionally. In reproductive justice, intersectional work is not an added challenge or an extra complication – it is at the heart of the RJ framework
  • This is for a variety of complicated reasons, including: - Trans youth may not think of their sexual behaviour as putting them at risk of pregnancy
    Lesbian or queer women who have sex with men may be less likely to use oral contraception or Nuvaring or similar
    Gay/bi/queer male youth may be under pressure to prove their heterosexuality
    Finally, heterosexual sexual behaviour may be about proving they aren’t LGBTQ
  • This is for a variety of complicated reasons, including: - Trans youth may not think of their sexual behaviour as putting them at risk of pregnancy
    Lesbian or queer women who have sex with men may be less likely to use oral contraception or Nuvaring or similar
    Gay/bi/queer male youth may be under pressure to prove their heterosexuality
    Finally, heterosexual sexual behaviour may be about proving they aren’t LGBTQ
  • The reality is in smaller centres, the LGBTQ programming may be run by the local AIDS service organization or the local youth or women’s organization – there aren’t specific LGBTQ services.
    One area that is emerging is access to webinars.
    Organizing with individuals across urban/rural divides.
  • The word entitlement gets a bad rap.

Transcript

  • 1. LGBTQ Parents as Activists & Advocates in Canada WorldPride Human Rights Conference June 25 2014 Andy Inkster, MA Health Promoter, LGBTQ Parenting Network Sherbourne Health Centre, Toronto 333 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Ontario M5A 2S5 • (416) 324-4100 ext. 5276 • ainkster@sherbourne.on.ca 1
  • 2. Overview  History of LGBTQ parenting in Canada  Where are we now?  Where are we going? 2
  • 3. Why this matters:  Canada is a global leader in LGBTQ parenting equity issues – but we aren’t done  Drawing connections to equity struggles based in reproductive justice  In a context of global societal homophobia and transphobia, parenting is one of the flashpoints for homophobic repression 3
  • 4. Global & Local Context  Toronto District School Board  Russia – restrictions and limitations placed on parents  United States  Activists and advocacy groups advocating for same sex marriage on the basis of benefit to children  Opposition to same sex marriage on the same basis  *This Week* UN Human Rights Council Resolution enshrining heteropatriarchal family 4
  • 5. History of LGBTQ Parenting in Canada Challenges for parents coming out  Lesbians and queer women often lost custody of their kids  Trans people routinely lost custody and were pathologized  Gay men struggled with coming out (or not to) 5
  • 6. 6 Alison Wearing Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing up with a gay dad
  • 7. Adoption Children’s Aid Society – Toronto  1994: 20 years of having a lesbian and gay inclusion policy  2014: open to working with trans families – and continuing to develop expertise 7
  • 8. Assisted Human Reproduction  1980s LBQ cis women begin accessing donor insemination  2000s GBQ cis men begin accessing donor egg and surrogacy  2000s trans people begin accessing fertility preservation and treatment options 8
  • 9. Gay Fathers of Toronto Peer support group since 1978 9 Run by and for gay/bi men who are fathers, this group meets every two weeks. The goal of the group is to support gay and bisexual men who are fathers who may be coming out, or who may not be. http://www.gayfathers-toronto.com/ info@gayfathers-toronto.com
  • 10. The 519 Church Street Community Centre Queer Parenting Programs Toronto 10 Since the 1980’s has provided family support programs and space for LGBTQ children and families. Queer Parenting Programs honours and celebrate our sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, family configurations, origin stories and cultures. More information: http://www.the519.org/programsservices/familyandchildren/queerparentingprogra ms
  • 11. LGBTQ Parenting Network Sherbourne Health Centre Toronto 11 The LGBTQ Parenting Network supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer parents, prospective parents, and their families through training, research, resource development, and community organizing. www.LGBTQParentingNetwork.ca
  • 12. Ten Oaks Project Ottawa 12 The Ten Oaks Project engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, queer) communities through programs and activities rooted in play. Camp Ten Oaks sleep-away camp for children and youth ages 8-17. Project Acorn radical community-building space for youth aged 16-24. More information: http://www.tenoaksproject.org/
  • 13. Resources Brochures, booklets, & info sheets from LGBTQ Parenting Network:  LGBT Adoption in Ontario (booklet)  Assisted Human Reproduction Guidebook lgbtqpn.ca/resources  Features resources from LGBTQ PN and other organizations 13
  • 14. Resources Posters  Who’s in your family tree?  International Family Visibility Day 14
  • 15. 15 Joint programs of Queer Parenting Programs at The 519 Church Street Community Centre and the LGBTQ Parenting Network at Sherbourne Health Centre. Dykes Planning Tykes This course emphasizes donor insemination, adoption, and co-parenting for lesbian, bi, and queer-identified women. 12 week & Weekend Intensive Daddies & Papas 2B Emphasizes adoption, surrogacy, and co-parenting for gay, bi, and queer-identified men. 12 week Queer & Trans Family Planning(s) Depends on participant interest and need. Weekend Family Planning Courses
  • 16. Support Still trying – LGBTQ Fertility Support Group - LGBTQ people often inhabit a grey zone – neither infertile, nor fertile - Infertility is very stressful - (in)fertility support groups and resources tend to be heterocentric and cisnormative - This group meets monthly in Toronto 16
  • 17. Where are we going? Reproductive Justice Poly parents Youth Queer Rural / Urban Trans Race Class Newcomers Sex Workers Kinky parents Disability Intersectionality
  • 18. Reproductive Justice The right to:  not have children  have children  to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments 18
  • 19. Abortion rights & Abortion access Sex education & Contraception Reproductive technology Pregnancy & birth care Adoption Legal right to parent Safe housing & neighbourhoods Safety from police & social services Intersectional Reproductive Justice
  • 20. Pregnancy involvement rates are higher among LGBTQ youth than among straight cisgender youth How can we support LGBTQ youth parents? How can we support those who choose not to parent? 20 Intersections - age
  • 21. US: parenting rates are higher among racialized LGBTQ people than white LGBTQ people. How can we mobilize around LGBTQ parenting work around antiracism? 21 Intersections - race
  • 22. US: Parenting rates are higher among same-sex couples in more rural states. How do we engage with those who live in small towns or rural communities? 22 Intersections - urbanity
  • 23. US: LGBTQ families are more likely to be poor than other families. How can we work across class? How can we reduce inequality? 23 Intersections - Class
  • 24. In order to advocate for themselves, LGBTQ people must feel entitled to a better world. How can we help LGBTQ people in feel entitled? 24 Entitlement
  • 25. Andy Inkster Health Promoter LGBTQ Parenting Network Sherbourne Health Centre 333 Sherbourne Street Toronto, ON M5A 2S5 www.LGBTQParentingNetwork.ca 25 (416) 324-4100 ext. 5276 ainkster@sherbourne.on.ca /LGBTQPN @LGBTQPN