The journey toward family building can often be challenging, but for members of the LGBTQIA community, the experience can be complicated by several factors, including discrimination, stigma, and the lack of accessibility to fertility treatments. Fortunately, employers can be allies by providing access to support and information throughout the family-building process.
This blog post discusses ways to support LGBTQIA community members through inclusive family building and create an inclusive environment that helps them feel seen, heard, and supported.
Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in their family-building journey
1. Educate yourself. Before reaching out to LGBTQIA community members, educating yourself on the terminology and issues involved in family building, including adoption, surrogacy, fertility treatments, and the historical discrimination that affects the community, is essential. It is also crucial to understand the different experiences this community may go through as they embark on family building, including facing discrimination, family rejection, and other obstacles that society and culture continue to place in their way. By actively seeking knowledge and understanding, you can approach conversations and interactions with empathy, sensitivity, and a greater appreciation for the unique challenges and triumphs that LGBTQIA individuals and couples encounter in their family-building journey.
2. Provide emotional support. Creating a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQIA community members navigating the family-building process is critical. Listen actively and provide emotional support as they share their experiences, feelings, and concerns with you. Also, show your support through actions, such as celebrating the milestones in their family-building journey and honoring their chosen family structures. By offering empathy, understanding, and a shoulder to lean on, we foster resilience and empower LGBTQIA individuals and couples to overcome challenges and confidently pursue their dreams of creating a loving and inclusive family.
3. Advocate for equal access to family-building resources. Due to historical discrimination, members of the LGBTQIA community often face obstacles in accessing benefits for fertility treatments, adoption, and surrogacy. As an ally, you can advocate for the equal inclusion of the LGBTQIA community within family-building resources and support organizations, and push for policy changes that benefit the community and their families. By actively working towards dismantling these barriers, we create a more equitable society where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can pursue their dreams of parenthood and experience the joy of building a family.
4. Connect them to inclusive resources. To support LGBTQIA community members during the family-building process, connecting them to inclusive resources designed to meet their needs is vital. These resources can include medical professionals, adoption agencies, legal firms specializing in adoption within the community, and support groups. Financial support and counseling services are also available to assist community members in their journey. By connecting them to these resources, you can provide the LGBTQIA community with the help they need to create their family successfully.
5. Recognize the family beyond blood relation. While blood relations may be the normative family model in the dominant culture, recognizing diverse family structures, non-biological families, and chosen families represent a critical step in building inclusivity. This can include private and public spaces– social media posts, campaigns, advertisements, policies, and laws. Simple language shifts such as “congratulations on your new family member” instead of “congratulations on your new baby” can help include diverse family types. By embracing these inclusive practices, we honor the diverse ways in which families are formed and reinforce the message that love and connection are what truly define a family, transcending traditional boundaries.
6. Promote visibility in the media. Raising awareness by promoting the visibility of LGBTQIA families in the media can help normalize their family models and create greater understanding among all members of society. By showcasing diverse and authentic representations of LGBTQIA families, we challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and pave the way for acceptance, fostering a more inclusive and empathetic society for everyone.
7. Advocate for legal protection. Advocating for legal protection is crucial to ensure that LGBTQIA families have equal rights and access to resources, protect their rights, and ensure their safety. By actively supporting and lobbying for comprehensive legal protections, we contribute to creating a fair and just society where every LGBTQIA family can thrive, free from discrimination and inequality.
8. Encourage positive language. Choosing appropriate, respectful language when talking about LGBTQIA families is a powerful way to create an inclusive environment for them. Such words include “partner,” “spouse,” or “parent” over outdated terms like “same-sex couple.” By promoting and using inclusive language, we foster a sense of belonging and validate the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA families, ensuring that our communication reflects our commitment to equality and respect for all.
9. Respect personal boundaries. Acknowledge that family-building is a personal journey and respect the privacy of LGBTQIA families by asking for their permission before sharing information about them. By honoring their boundaries and fostering a culture of consent, we create a safe and trusting environment where LGBTQIA individuals and families feel supported and empowered to share their stories on their own terms.
10. Celebrate diversity. Family building in the LGBTQIA community comes in many forms, and it is essential to recognize and celebrate the beauty and strength found in the diversity of family structures. By embracing and honoring these differences, we can foster an inclusive environment where every family feels valued and respected, contributing to a richer and more vibrant community.
Resources for Employees Seeking Support
In addition to these steps, there are groups dedicated to providing information, support, and advocacy; please visit these trusted and vetted LGBTQIA Organizations & Non-Profits.
- Family Equality Council
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
- The Trevor Project
- PFLAG National – For Parents, Families, and Allies United with LGBTQ People
- Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- Lambda Legal
Fostering Inclusion and Empathy in the Journey of Family Building
Family building is a beautiful and enriching journey for anyone who embarks on it, but it can also be complex and needs a supportive and empathetic environment. At Vesta for Families, we believe that all types of families should be recognized and celebrated. Companies that provide a space for diversity foster an inclusive culture where employees feel safe and respected. Diversity and inclusion are values we stand behind. Contact us to learn more about how we can help create a family-friendly workplace. Together, let’s build an inclusive world!