11 million American adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ+). Many of them have or are considering expanding their families. In fact, up to 3.7 million youth under the age of 18 are being raised by an LGBTQ+ parent, and Family Equality’s 2019 Family-Building Survey revealed that of the estimated 6 million LGBTQ+ millennials living in the United States, a stunning 63% plan to expand their families in the coming years.
With millions of LGBTQ+ people on or embarking on their path to parenthood, we are at a pivotal moment in the world of family-building. And yet, far too often we see family-building practitioners are ill-equipped to treat the LGBTQ+ community with the dignity and excellence they deserve.
To help empower experts, Family Equality created Open Door, a professional training program which provides LGBTQ+ diversity & inclusion training for family building professionals. In order to have a world where the path to parenthood for LGBTQ+ people is truly inclusive, there needs to be widespread understanding by family building professionals. In this vein, the goal of Open Door is to deepen LGBTQ+ competency amongst family building professionals, so that they can create practices that respect & celebrate LGBTQ+ people.
Open Door trainees engage with three distinct training modules, starting with an LGBTQ+ 101 framework and culminating in what it looks like to build an inclusive practice. There is also a module completely dedicated to fertility considerations for the transgender & nonbinary community.
“Every time a family building clinic enrolls in Open Door, it is a huge win for our families,” says Jess Venable-Novak, Family Equality’s Director of Family Formation. “Knowing that a whole team of colleagues is committed enough to LGBTQ+ families that they are willing to invest the time and energy on this essential education is incredibly heartening. It means so much to queer prospective parents.”
“I started the program with a general understanding of how to support our LGBTQ+ patients, but I learned even more than I expected,” said Stephanie, New Patient Coordinator. “It gave me all of the tools to help patients feel understood and welcomed when they reach out to us.”
Aside from dedicating staff time to completing the training modules, an engaged clinic also takes the time to apply what they are learning by updating their policies & practices and thinking more dynamically about how they serve their LGBTQ+ patients.
Once the majority of a team completes the program, that practice is listed in Family Equality’s national Family Building Directory. Thousands of LGBTQ+ people across the country use it as a resource to make informed decisions about who they involve in the journey to expand their family. This directory allows LGBTQ+ folks to find trained professionals in their geographic area, and gives them the peace of mind that all staff at a listed practice will have received training & support in making their work inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are so delighted for Laurel Fertility Care to join the Open Door family!” comments Venable-Novak, “Now more than ever, LGBTQ+ families need to know that they are accessing care that is inclusive and understanding of all the ways that they might show up in the world. I am thrilled that our families know they can find allies in the Laurel Fertility team.”
If you are looking for additional resources on your path to parenthood, know that Family Equality offers many everyday avenues of support to queer families! As the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families, they provide plenty of opportunities for LGBTQ+ families to find community, connection, and support—from virtual peer support groups to our robust library of resources.
Check out familyequality.org or follow Family Equality on social media to learn more! You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.