Keep It Together: Resources and Support for LGBTQ Families

It’s All in the Family

“Keep it together in the family

They’re a reminder of your history

Brothers and sisters they hold the key

To your heart and your soul

Don’t forget that your family is gold.”

– Madonna, from “Keep It Together”

For those who may oppose or who may not understand LGBTQIA culture (which often includes ourselves, those in-community), it can be easy to forget we are individuals who come from families. Who make up families. Who make up families of choice.

As we seek out kin, allies, a tribe, BFFs, support, resources and fellowship, because it is so common for LGBTQIA persons to experience marginalization even for supporting queer culture (as well as of course for being in it), we forget about our extended family. We don’t realize the broad spectrum of resources made available to us for finding connections, assistance, and even family-focused entertainment or advantages (such as social, educational financial or medical help).

We may then perhaps lose hope for reconciliation with our birth family, and/or don’t seek alternatives for creating new and more empowering familial networks.

Partying, playing and freedom of sexual expression is all well and good: it’s a blessing to have an opportunity to fully express all sides of ourselves (and fight for our rights in places where this is not yet a reality).

When it’s time to come down, gather together, find home and hearth, your family/family of choice is your go-to place to touch down, reboot, chillax. Find peace of mind.

But what happens if you don’t have a family, your community doesn’t support your family, or you don’t have a stable family?

Here are a few helpful resources, for finding family support and structure, below:


Get Help, Find Fam, Keep It Together

PFLAG / Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays –

In addition to education, outreach and public speaking, PFLAG provides regionally-based support groups for queer and questioning persons (including youth), as well as for people who are trying to understand their LGBTQ family members, or people who do not have family support.

Family Equality Council –

Per their website, “The Family Equality Council is a community of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren who for 30 years have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.” While they do quite a bit of advocacy work, they also sponsor Family Equality Pride events and regionally-based family outreach programs (such as support groups and activities for queer parents and the community).


For people with an LGBTQ parent: focused mostly on kids and teenagers, COLAGE unites peer-based networks and helps youth find support. Their specialty, in their own words is to help: “nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities.”

Transforming Family

Championed by Chaz Bono. With a trans* focused outreach in its purview, Transforming Family is a Los Angeles based family support group creating a positive environment for children, adolescents and their families to explore issues of gender identity.

Our Family Coalition

This is a community of leaders who provide family-based policy and advocacy for change as well as sponsoring various family functions and social events.

Gay Parent Magazine –

A leader in gay parenting resources – founded in 1998.

API Family Pride

The mission of Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride is to end the isolation of Asian and Pacific Islander families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members through support, education, and dialogue.

Soffa Support –

An online zine that helps to connect people with support and advice for significant others, family, friends, and allies of the trans* community.

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth

The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is an information resource of the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They help to provide various resources of support for many, including LGBTQIA-specific assistance, referrals and education.

Intersex Society of North America

Support Groups and FAQ (For FAQ, Click FAQ Link on this page)

The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) was founded in 1993 in an effort to advocate for patients and families who felt they had been harmed by their experiences with the health care system. From these scrappy, brave, and confrontational beginnings, ISNA evolved into an important resource for clinicians, parents, and affected individuals who require basic information about disorders of sex development (DSDs) and for how to improve the health care and overall well-being of people with DSDs.

R Family Vacations –

R Family Vacations is an LGBT vacation entertainment company that provides luxury cruise ship trips with a focus on inclusive activities for children and services including same-sex marriage ceremonies.

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging –

Resources include – Caregiving services, Aging in Place Providers, LGBT Organizations, referrals, help for LGBT older adults or caregivers.

JQY / JQYouth –

JQY is a nonprofit organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews and their families in the Orthodox community.


A Word About Finding Local Resources

If you find these suggestions aren’t close to you, don’t be afraid to shout them out on social media, email or call them, and ask for help finding resources that are local for you. Should they be unable to, they’ll be able to provide other alternatives for you. Never give up.

There are many more resources where these came from. Have you got a good recommendation? Please let us know.

When times get tough or you’re looking for support, who do you call your “family?”


Where Kids Can Just Be Kids: Summer Camps For Trans* Youth

Childhood can be as magical as it is challenging. Having parents who care enough to walk you through the highs and lows of life, to tend to your feelings, restore your peace of mind, guide your education and plan your health care helps to ease the stress and eustress that kids go through as they’re finding their way in the world.

Kids, just like adults, need to have survival needs met, to interface with a supportive and growing community, and to enjoy plenty of extra time for play, recess, hobbies and making same-age friends who share their interests. (remember scheduled play dates and slumber parties?)

Because people often confuse sexuality with gender, trans* kids might be introduced to ideas, bullying or teasing comments that have nothing at all to do with what they’re interested in or thinking about in terms of their identity. They won’t even understand the words or concepts in grown-up ways, which is all the more hurtful and confusing.

These reasons among many make summer camp that’s not only trans* inclusive but just for trans* kids a very pronounced need. Kids in school, in both public and private shared spaces where children gather, may be in relatively secure environments, but much of their time might be unsupervised, or not monitored closely. Multiply that by the weeks and months packed into the summertime, and now you’re dealing with formative experiences that have the potential to imprint themselves on children’s innocent  little hearts and minds. So why not set them up to be joyful experience?

Why not set them up for having…just plain fun?

There are many parents and supportive organizations who’ve taken it upon themselves to create trans* inclusive and/or trans* specific spaces where kids can just be kids. Here are a few suggestions below.

Summer Camps for Trans* Youth

Camp Aranu’tiq A week-long, overnight summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth ages 8 – 15, with locations in New England and California. Also, Aranu’tiq Family Camp is a long weekend event in autumn for the whole family.

Trans Youth Equality Foundation Youth Retreats Twice a year, TYEF organizes transgender youth

retreats, an opportunity to get away for a little while and enjoy activities like swimming, hiking, boating and arts and crafts. The difference between summer camp and TYEF retreats is that all of the youth who attend TYEF retreats are transgender.

NYC LGBT Center  Y.E.S. Program Summer Community Camp The Y.E.S. Summer Community Camp program is a week-long residential camp designed to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people with the support, knowledge and skills they need to take charge of their own health and well-being.

Camp You Are You Camp You Are You  is a four-day camp experience for gender fluid boys and their families. The name and location is private, however wrote a piece about it recently, and you can contact Lindsay Morris, who is in touch with the organization, at and find out more about the camp at this link:

You can find many more trans* inclusive summer camps at Dreams of Hope here:

Do you think trans* only summer school and camps shelter kids too much, or are they absolutely necessary?

New Children’s Cartoon Distresses, Excites, and Leaves Others Nonplussed

A new children’s cartoon has garnered mixed reactions, though most all of them agree: it’s funny and children will watch it.

 SheZow  is a timeless superhero story with a twist. In order to be a hero and battle various villains, twelve-year-old boy Guy Hamdon needs a ring to transform and access his powers. The twist is that Guy’s alter-ego is SheZow, a crime-fighting heroine who dresses in pink and purple, and whose world revolves around puns on the word “she.” To access his powers, he shouts “You go girl!” and goes about in the “she-hicle” to stop “she-vil” doers. It’s silly, but it attempts to bridge the gender gaps of many children’s shows with superheroes who appeal to only one or the other.

As soon as it was announced to be coming to American television, the group One Million Moms sent out a warning to all parents to boycott the show, saying that “This character especially will appeal to both boys and girls since the superhero represents both genders by cross dressing and being transgendered. This dude becomes the FEMALE superhero SheZow dressed in pink and purple.” Their central fear is that their sons will quickly ignore all of the other television shows and movies marketed just toward them and think, (taken from their press release) “I want to be a girl, so I can help people and save the world!”

Other groups were quick to voice their praise, happy to see a network taking on such a potentially challenging idea and running with it. Originally premiering in Australia in December 2012, it green-lit for America on June 1 on Hub Network, which replaced Discovery Kids and specializes in programming for children 2-11. While not the powerhouse of Nickelodeon or Disney Channel, the network gets a sizable amount of viewers and is hoping that the characters on SheZow will attract more.

The CEO of Hub Network, Margaret Loesh, commented to the Los Angeles Times that her initial reaction to the show was, “Are you out of your minds?” She added, “Then I looked at it and I thought, ‘This is just funny.’”

Most news outlets are calling the cartoon character SheZow a transgender or transsexual superhero, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. While the show does play on typical gender stereotypes, Guy likes to skateboard and comments that his sister should “Do the girly unpacking [herself],” when fighting villains as SheZow Guy’s voice doesn’t change, he doesn’t try to pass as a woman other than to keep his secret identity, and comments on how uncomfortable some of the superhero gear makes him. His roles are acknowledged as separate, and nothing is ever mentioned about sexual orientation.

GLAAD (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) responded with a similar view. Spokesperson Rich Ferraro commented on the show, saying “I don’t think this show is about transgender issues any more than the Teletubbies were about gay issues, because one of the characters was purple and carried around a purse.” Creator Obie Scott Wade himself argues that “by becoming SheZow, the main focus is on responsibility and less on gender.”

While having the central shtick of a television show be the cheap laugh of an uncomfortable gender reversal, the show uses the character of SheZow to help the main character Guy grow, since he’s learning lessons from two genders. It also shows that, although SheZow becomes weakened when her hair isn’t perfectly coiffed, she is powerful when confronted with danger and uses both brain and brawn to save the day.

You can watch new episodes of SheZow every Saturday on Hub Network at 12:30 pm EST/9:30 am PST.