LGBTQ+ Parents Navigating Challenges in School

Family Equality is launching a new virtual peer support space to provide community and connection to LGBTQ+ parents of school-aged children facing challenges in the classroom!

A changing political landscape

Last year, Florida passed the country’s first “Don’t Say Gay and Trans” legislation, prohibiting the mere mention of LGBTQ+ families, topics, and history in the classroom. Since then, copycat bills have cropped up in states across the country, and countless school districts have taken steps to restrict students’ access to affirming curricula. In school libraries alone, thousands of books have been banned in 32 states, influencing nearly four million students. 

Compounding worries

These actions have a tangible impact on real families in schools across the country. Families like Eric’s, whose first experience with uncertainty in the school system began when his daughter entered public kindergarten. Like any parent, Eric was worried about the transition from daycare to kindergarten — but, as an LGBTQ+ parent in the current political climate, he was concerned about more than naptime and what to pack for lunch.

“Would our family be accepted in this new environment? Would there be other families with same-sex parents? Would our daughter be accepted even though her family was different? These are the questions that kept me up at night. I swore to be involved in my daughter’s education. I hoped that if the faculty and parents got to know me and my family, they would be accepting of us.”  

Getting involved

Excited to meet and collaborate with teachers, parents, and school administrators, Eric joined several planning committees, and over the years, his participation grew. But many of his suggestions and initiatives to celebrate and support families like his, such as a pride-themed “Book for the month,” were stalled, diluted, or turned down outright. In several meetings with administrators about these disappointing delays, it was communicated to Eric that the school didn’t want to offend anyone, having received questions and concerns about Eric’s ideas.

“There seemed to be a clear intentionality to keep any mention of pride under the radar. For me, pride at the elementary level is about accepting yourself and accepting others for who they are. I don’t understand why we would not want to teach this to our youth.” 

You’re not alone

Eric is one of countless other passionate parents eager to make their schools a more accepting and affirming place for students and families of all identities and backgrounds. And yet, amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, these families face challenges in their school system far too often. As the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families, Family Equality understands just how much LGBTQ+ parents of school-aged children are up against right now. We also know that while progress takes time, the support of this community is vital to holding onto hope, finding solutions, and maintaining strength. 

That’s why we’re launching a new virtual peer support space for parents navigating challenges in schools. Beginning this week with monthly Thursday meetings, this group is meant to be a safe space for parents of school-aged children. Join us this Thursday, October 19, at 7pm ET/4pm PT for our inaugural meeting by RSVP-ing today! We hope to see you there. 

Join us for our new virtual peer support space!

LGBTQ+ parents of school-aged children are facing a challenging moment, with school boards, administrators, and politicians challenging their right to exist in the classroom. If you find yourself in need of support, join us for our monthly peer support space! This space exists so that LGBTQ+ parents who are navigating challenges with school issues (K-12) can share and receive support from other similarly situated individuals, decrease isolation, and have a safely held space in which to explore topics important to them.