So my DP and I are in the beginning phases of TTC... charting, sifting through donors, trying to get all the legalities in the area figured out...
Every book I read about lesbian parenting says that I'll find that straight soon-to-be or current moms will be more of my community than any other. I have tried to find lesbian parenting support groups, activity groups, etc but haven't found any as of yet. (I am not opposed to starting one after we have a kiddo, but clearly it would be odd to start one now lol). It would be really nice to have a group of gay or lesbian friends who are in the same boat as me. I do know 2 other couples who are interested in TTC, but that won't be for another 2-3 years. If I wanted to find a new group of bar or softball friends, I'd be good to go. Parenting or family groups... not so much.
My questions is- what is your experience in the gay and/or lesbian community with parenting, TTC, finding similar families, etc.? What are resources you utilized? What should I expect?
This is a good question. And now that I'm 18 months into being a parent, I can tell you that the books are right. What I've found is that my identity as a parent has superseded my queer identity. As a result, I've connected much more with other parents who share our gentle parenting philosophies, regardless of sexuality.
And so far, all of the ones we've met have been straight. We did initially try to find other queer parents with whom to connect but couldn't find any that on our same parenting wavelength. I know they're out there and I hope we find them eventually but I've really been surprised at how fulfilling our friendships with a few straight parents--and a couple of queer friends who are very baby-friendly--have been.
As a sidenote, you may lose some friends as well. A few queer friends we thought were solid just stopped calling or showing up or being interested at all in our lives once we had our son.
I saw this in new posts. I'm not LGBT, but I belong to a wonderful church where many of the congregants are LGBT folks with children. I have no idea if any "open and affirming" churches exist in your area or whether you would ever go to one, but they can be a really great resource. I'm UCC and I know that the UCC has a list of open and affirming churches on its website. I also know that there's a lesbian family meetup group (or something similar) in my city.
In my experience, a lot of our LGBT friends do not have children and we do not call/ spend time with them very often because my daughter consumes my life. Anyways, we have tried to find new LGBT parents but we didn't "click" with any of them personally; now, most of our new friends are straight moms with young children.
I think your access to LGBTQ families depends on where you live and what community supports/programs are available. In my experience, it hasn't been enough to just have an LGBTQ identity to build and sustain a relationship on with other LGBTQ parents.
As a queer person, my connection to the LGBTQ community has been primarily through community involvement and activism. Most of my friends - parents and non-parents alike - have that in common. We know lots of LGBTQ parents and have met many through various activities and programs. The ones that we connect with, and have developed friendships with, have the similar worldviews as us. We're pretty lefty, and there's a lot of picket-fence-dykes in our community. We just have nothing in common with these people.
Furthermore, our first two kids were adopted. We often really clicked with our fellow LGBTQ adoptive parents who had older kids with learning disabilities/behavioural challenges. Age of the children was also really important to sustaining these relationships. At first, our age was a challenge as we're 20 years younger than some of the amazing women we've become friends with. We never really found a community with parents who were divorced and came out later in life as LGBTQ or with LGBTQ people who had biological children. Now that we're about to have a baby, I'm sure that will all change.
Like other posters have mentioned, when you become a parent, your parent identity often supersedes your queer identity. There's nothing inherently gay about your children and the things they're involved in (ie, swim lessons, schools, baseball, art classes). Since you spend a lot of time supporting and chauffeuring your children, much of the social interaction you have is around these sorts of activities. You end up finding and connecting with people there because they happen to be parents and you find some other shared ground. It may, or may not, be around an LGBTQ identity.
I also think since it sounds like there's nothing already organized in your area, your ability to find and connect with other parents is likely hampered by the fact that you're TTC. Depending on how long you're in the TTC process, you're likely to find other queers TTC as well. Once you're actually pregnant and have the baby, it's like this beacon radiates outwards, and you connect with a lot of queer parenting people. Most people don't talk about TTC very broadly within their circles of families, friends and acquaintances, so you're only really able to effectively tap into those people with whom you already have relationships. Once a kid is on the way, suddenly you will be connected to a whole world of LGBTQ parents-to-be.
DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.
What atlantafemme said. I've never had so many straight friends in my life! I do find the alliances are made more about parenting and lifestyles. I live in the heart of a geographically dyke community, and don't hang out with other queer parents much at all. In fact, a lesbian housing co-op is right across the street, with over 75 women and kids, but we don't hang out over there much. I'm more hooked up with AP mamas and homeschoolers with kids close in age.