North Bay LGBTQI Families was founded with the sole purpose of bringing Sonoma County LGBTQI families together with a focus on community building, education and resources to combat isolation, widen parents’ peer support networks, and increase visibility of our families. Since 2016, we have served prospective parents and existing families in Sonoma and Napa Counties as well as the East Bay.
2017 Grant Awarded: $10,000
North Bay LGBTQI Families (NBF) seeks funding to ensure the continuation of two community-building events and one educational/resource event for Sonoma County’s LGBTQI families and parents-to-be in 2018.
- 2nd Annual Family Formation Symposium
- 3rd Annual Family Pride Campout
- 3rd Annual Family Contingent in the Sonoma County Pride Parade.
Alignment with the LGBTQI Giving Circle Purpose
Our three community engagement events align with the three Giving Circle objectives: LGBTQI Youth.
“Youth with LGBTQ parents often consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community and some even identify as “culturally queer.” No matter their own sexual orientation or gender identity, many are personally impacted by homophobia and transphobia on political, cultural, legal and societal levels.” – Gay Straight Alliance
Our events bring children of LGBTQI parents together in safe spaces, where they can build meaningful connections with other kids whose families look like theirs, and can experience their families as the norm, rather than the exception. The social-emotional resilience these experiences develop provides a critical foundation for success in school. This is particularly vital when children see few images of families like theirs in picture books, school curricula, and advertising.
The greater LGBTQI youth of Sonoma County also benefits from our events, for example, the 2017 Family Formation Symposium included the feature-length documentary, A Womb of Their Own, where six masculine-identifying people discuss their pregnancies and experiences with non-binary gender. The film brought together not only children from LGBTQI parents but also youth (12-24) from the event’s fiscal sponsor, Positive Images. Mixing these youth with actively engaged adults, allowed positive role models to form simply through visibility and proximity in a safe and inclusive space.
Funding for our three annual events will ensure the continuation of programming for Sonoma County’s LGBTQ families, an underserved population in a rural and isolated location. These community events are important to many LGBTQ parents as they face barriers to community resources that heterosexual parents depend on to improve children’s healthy development. These include stress because of estrangement from families of origin, reluctance to trust faith-based and community organizations based on real or feared homophobia, and, within community-based organizations, a lack of experience with serving LGBTQ families. Barriers are heightened for low-income families, families of color, immigrants, families formed by adoption, and families with transgender parents. Funding for our events will continue to allow the widest possible audience reach to the most underserved populations in the North Bay LGBTQI family community, by holding these events at no-cost to the participants, and by accommodating Spanish speaking families.