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Welcome to the new and improved Lesbian Family!

Lesbian Family marching, SF Pride 2006We couldn’t be more excited to welcome you to check out the renovated, ready-for-what’s-next Lesbian Family. This website began over six years ago when Liza Barry-Kessler, pregnant lesbian and internet denizen, was on the lookout for something–anything!–written by or about lesbians making family.  How did others manage getting pregnant?  Who has tried and run into fertility issues, and what did they do?  How can you get your insurance to pay for any part of alternative insemination if you’re a lesbian couple?  How about adopting as a two-mom family across borders? How do you manage your very first preschool (elementary school/ a new place of worship/ an afterschool enrichment program/ a community) as a lesbian family?

And that was just the first handful of questions. How about, while we’re at it: Are there any well-written and illustrated picture books that other LGBT parents know of that include images of our families? How do women manage the journey of coming out as lesbian or bi after having kids as a straight mom? At what age do kids start becoming aware of their families’ difference? How (and how early) do other families approach talking about bias against LGBT-headed families? How can I empower my friends to help support mine and other LGBT families?

And the toughest question of all of them: does anyone  get their kids to eat enough vegetables?!

The internet should be a place where we can find other people’s stories, and through them, answers to these questions and more. Liza thought: Wouldn’t it be great to have a site that would provide a comprehensive directory that would list blogs by women making family with each other in various different ways, and at every stage? Where you could look them up, maybe even hear about milestones in their family-making journeys?  Since then, more and more online resources for our families have appeared, but the value of a central community gathering place–a virtual equivalent of a park bench at the tot lot–has remained.  If anything, the more of us there have become, the greater the need for a common gathering place.

As you can see by the archives, though a number of people have helped establish and maintain the site, it has waxed and waned with the fluctuating demands of our work and our children.  In the six years since the site began more and more of us have been making families; we’ve become more visible on the playgrounds, in our schools and–for better and for worse–in state and national-level politics as lightening rods or signs of a candidate’s evolution. We have continued to write our families’ lives; the blogosphere has grown exponentially and we’ve been a part of that; the tools with which we connect and share each others’ stories have both multiplied and simplified.

For all these reasons and more, now is a perfect time for Lesbian Family to spring back to life.

Our mission is to provide an online home for community, stories, and resources
of benefit to lesbian families and our allies
.

Toward this end, we’ll build and keep what we mean to be the web’s most comprehensive and up-to-date directory of blogs by and about lesbian families.  The vast majority are in English, but we have a growing list of blogs in Spanish, and Julieta Bonazza will be covering the Latina America beat.  We’ve updated our past listings, and in the coming weeks expect to be adding many, many more.  If you’re not already part of the Lesbian Family community, help us out by submitting your own blog here and sharing that page with anyone you think ought to be listed here.

We’ll also be scanning the blogs in the listings for stories to cross-post.  When a family is in trouble and in need of support, we want as many of you to know as we can. When some trial or triumph happens which adds to the understanding or strength of our families, we want to share that.  And we want you to help us: we have an open invitation (and an E-Z intake form) for you to let us know when you want to cross-post something you think will be of interest to our readers.

Our object is to strengthen our bonds and resources as a community with as rich and varied a weave of voices as we can bring together. Straight allies, gay dads, trans parents, bi parents, all are welcome to list and contribute posts: this is a place defined not by who you are but what you’re in support of.  You’ll be able to find conversations about books, culture, community news, familia en Español, health & wellness, parenting & family, politics, and research.

Many of our regular contributors have already begun to introduce themselves to you:  Julieta Bonazza, of LesMadres; N, of Two Hot Mamas; Sandra Telep, of West Philly Mama; Vikki Reich, of Up Popped a Fox. [Added: and Shannon LC Cate, of Peter’s Cross Station!] Check out the About page to see who else you’ll be hearing from in the days and weeks to come.  In the coming days and weeks we’ll also be introducing a few additional regular contributors, as well as filling out the content, listings, and features here.

Something new to Lesbian Family is the support of brands, thanks to mom-of-two-grown-boys, contributor, and Lesbian Family Business Development maven Deb Rox.  All LGBT people know how rare–and therefore how extremely valuable–it has been for our community to receive the acknowledgement and support of brands. Advertising to our community has come a long way over the past generation, but it still has a long way to go, particularly when it comes to our families.

So we are enormously thrilled to announce that Mabel’s Labels is out front on this, sponsoring Lesbian Family’s launch. They value our community and our readers, and I can’t wait to show them how sincerely we value their support and their products.  I was talking about Mabel’s sponsorship of our launch to a fellow lesbian parent at a dinner a week ago, and she said, “Mabel’s Labels? We LOVE them! We put them on everything! Now we’re going to have to get twice as many and put them on twice as many things!” Since they have twin boys, I don’t think this will be a problem. And also: I heartily encourage this impulse.

Begun nine years ago by four enterprising and passionate mothers, Mabel’s Labels makes super-high quality, customizable labels for everything we all need to put on our kids’ stuff: clothes, lunchboxes, backpacks, you name it.  (Show of hands from those of you who forgot to label the jacket and never recovered it from the school’s lost and found. Yep, thought so.) Those of us with a fondness for stationary supplies and orderliness are also able to scratch every other non-kid itch with Mabel’s product line. What I like most about them, aside from their pioneering support of what we’re up to here at Lesbian Family, and the quality of what they make, is that they are so community-minded. Check out the myriad ways they’ll help you raise funds for your school, sports team, you name it.  Community-minded, LGBT family supportive, and they do a fantastic job of making something we need all the time? I love them. And I’m not gonna be shy about it.  I hope you feel the same way.

This whole relaunch of Lesbian Family has been exciting: the gathering of the community of regular contributors, the sponsorship support of Mabel’s Labels, the gorgeous reworking of the site design by DresdenPlaid and Sarah Kimmel (thank you gals! allies FTW!).  It has also been during a very challenging time.  Toward the end of our site revamp, Hurricaine Sandy hit hard, and even in the immediate Lesbian Family contributor group we felt it: we have writers in both New Jersey and New York who will each introduce themselves when the time is right, after they’ve recovered their bearings and their electricity; meanwhile, we send them our love and support. If you hadn’t noticed the Red Cross link up there on the sidebar, be sure to click it before you leave this site.

And the election tomorrow could not be more consequential, both in the four states staring down votes on family equality (ME, MD, MN, & WA), and for a nation that would be governed by either a president who advocates for our families, or one who is both duplicitous and hostile, and believes we should not be accorded legal recognition, even in states which recognize us.  The difference could not be more stark, and I hope you not only vote, but get everyone you know to make a plan to vote.

But no matter how long the recovery from Sandy takes, no matter what the results of tomorrow’s election, we will need each other.  Whether through calamity or through an ordinary day’s trials, we need each other; throughout all the battles we fight, whether with or against the elements, our state’s laws, or our nation’s leaders, or our local community, these battles are on behalf of our children, and for that we will always need each other.

At Lesbian Family we hope to provide levity, company, bright ideas, news you can use, and, as always, a pointer to the life stories you need to read.  Thanks for meeting us, or thanks for coming back; get a badge to show your support on your blog; like us and our inaugural supporter Mabel’s Labels on Facebook; follow us and Mabel’s on Twitter.  And come back again tomorrow for more!

 

 

 

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  1. Congratulations on the relaunch!

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