Philadelphia is a great city to raise kids. It’s also a city with a vibrant LGBT community. So what does that mean for LGBT people raising kids? There are plenty of reasons Philadelphia is a great fit for queer families – here are a few:
Citywide protectionsPhiladelphia has many legal protections in place for LGBT people, including recognition of life partnerships and non-discrimination laws. And, there’s new legislation in the works that will strengthen and increase safeguards like these, especially for transgender people. Measures that formalize relationships and protect people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity go a long way to keep queer families safe.
Fertility SpecialistsMany LGBT people turn to assisted reproductive technology when looking to start a family. There are lots of fertility specialists in the Philadelphia area – many of whom are particularly in touch with the needs of the LGBT community. RMA of Philadelphia, for example, is highly regarded amongst the community.
Knowledgeable LawyersEvery LGBT family needs to have a good lawyer on their side – whether it’s to navigate an adoption, set up a living will, or figuring out custody should a relationship dissolve. This is another field where it really helps to have professionals who understand the intricacies of queer families. Jerner and Palmer come highly recommended.
This summer camp for children of LGBT parents is based in the Philadelphia area. While my kids aren’t yet old enough to participate, I’ve heard a number of glowing recommendations from happy campers.
Since same-sex marriage is not legal in PA, the law does not automatically recognize both partners as parents. Second parent adoption allows for the non-biological and/or other parent to be formally granted parental rights.
LGBT Organizations and EventsPhiladelphia is home to a wide range of active LGBT organizations and nationally renowned queer events. There’s the William Way LGBT Community Center, the Mazzoni LGBT Health Care and Wellness Center, the Equality Forum, the Trans-Health Conference,Liberty City LGBT Democrats, just to name a few – all of whom are working to make this city better for LGBT people and their families.
Seriously, how cool is it that the actual street signs in Washington Square have rainbows on them? Even though this isn’t the part of town with the most queer families, it’s definitely good to have this kind of community hub.
DiversityThe City Of Brotherly Love is a large cosmopolitan city filled with people (and families) of all stripes. I appreciate that when I am out and about with my family we not only see other queer families, but families with single parents, families speaking different languages, and a range of races and ethnicities.
Family-FriendlyAll the reasons you love raising a family here? Hey! I love those things, too! Most of our time is spent being a family, not necessarily a *queer* family. We love the zoo, the Please Touch museum, the Philadelphia Free Library. This a great town for families – ALL families.
PFP is hands down the #1 best thing going for LGBT families in Philly. (Full disclosure: I'm on the PFP board.) They do so much for LGBT families that they deserve their own list:
- Events - There are plenty of opportunities to get together with other queer famliles and socialize. They host regular playdates, seasonal hikes, a yearly camping trip, a summer picnic, and many more fun filled events.
- Family Matters Conference – Each year PFP hosts a full day of workshops for LGBT parents and prospective parents.
- Pride Trolley - Each year the PFP contingent in the Philadelphia Pride Parade rides on a trolley. This is the ONLY way to do the pride parade with kids – there are seats, there is shade, and parents and kids alike have a great time.
- Partnering and Education – PFP partners with the local LGBT organizations and events to make sure parents and families are represented. They host workshops, provide speakers and make sure LGBT families are visible in our community.
I'm proud to call Philadelphia home - and to be a part of the community that is fighting for it to be even better. What do you love about raising your family in this city?
[Last year I wrote this piece for the now defunct Philly Kids Thing website. I thought it deserved a permanent spot on the web, so I've posted it here.]