We’re excited to launch Communities We Love with a conversation with Gemma, Founder and CEO of the inspiring platform Same Sex Parents. Based on Instagram, this supportive community has enabled many LGBTQ+ families to share their stories, experiences, and advice, as well as to connect with other parents – online, for local meet-ups and all over the world! Read on for the story behind this important and safe space as well as Gemma’s helpful advice for other intended parents starting their family building journey.
1. You have created such a wonderful space, which – as you state on your site – truly inspires, connects and educates. For our readers who aren’t familiar, please tell us all about Same Sex Parents and what your content and perspective means to the loyal community you have created.
Thank you for your kind words!
So, Same Sex Parents was founded by myself, Gemma, in February of 2015. Same Sex Parents is an online platform- predominantly based on Instagram – which showcases and connects LGBTQ+ families from all over the world. We provide a voice and visibility to these families, not only to enable themselves to be seen and represented, but to allow others from outside of the LGBTQ+ community to see and hear their stories too – to promote acceptance and understanding. The media doesn’t often represent LGBTQ+ families, and when it does, it can be an inaccurate representation – especially when using actors instead of real families. Therefore we love being able to provide a platform where real and diverse LGBTQ+ families can be seen and heard.
Each family featured on our platform shares a little background story about their journey to where they are today. From how they met to how they grew their family. This allows families with similar stories to relate and connect with that family’s story, while also allowing intended parents to get an insight into all of the different paths to parenthood they can take as LGBTQ+ couples/individuals. We quite often receive messages of gratitude from couples or individuals who are yet to start their journey to parenthood, thanking us for our content and for inspiring them. We absolutely love receiving those types of messages! It makes everything so worth it.
Our platform has enabled many families to build friendships and establish connections. Many of the families within our community now interact with one another and have established friendships through initially finding each other via our page. Same Sex Parents acts as a meeting place for LGBTQ+ parents and we are always trying to establish more connections within our community. We have even helped families from within the same city to find each other when neither were aware of the other family’s existence! This is still crazy to me, but a good crazy!
We have also recently introduced in-person meet ups which we plan to organize in all of our most popular locations around the US and the world. Due to the pandemic, we have only managed one meet up so far! Our first meet up took place in Los Angeles, CA in October of last year with over 25 families attending. We are greatly looking forward to getting our meet ups up and running again once it is safe to do so.
To sum up, I would say our platform is extremely beneficial and important to our community. To my knowledge, Same Sex Parents is the largest social media platform out there that exists for both male and female same-sex couples; often the two groups are separated. I know that our work and what we stand for is so important to many folks within our community; especially to those living in less accepting countries around the world who come to our safe space to escape their reality for just a moment and find joy and hope in our content.
I am extremely thankful for the community that has been built through our platform and for everything that it has become. If someone offered me a million dollars tomorrow to give it all up, I wouldn’t accept. This platform and community means just as much to me as it does to the community it was built for. And to me, I think that’s what makes Same Sex Parents just that little bit more special. That it is run and was built with so much love, passion and dedication to serve our community.
2. We’d love to hear your story! What inspired you to build Same Sex Parents from the beginning and how is it continuing to evolve today?
I was actually inspired to create Same Sex Parents after watching a television show in which a couple of same-sex parents were discussing their experiences with raising a family and shared the difficulties they had faced as LGBTQ+ families. One father talked openly about the discrimination he and his husband had faced after inviting their son’s friend for dinner after school one afternoon. The parents of their son’s friend completely turned against the family after finding out that their child had been for dinner in a same-sex parent household, and they began treating the dads and their son indifferently. The father expressed that he didn’t know what to do or where to turn – he didn’t know of any other same-sex families that he could talk to, or of any platforms, support groups, or resources that he could turn to. He felt so alone. He inspired me to change that; and that’s when Same Sex Parents was born.
I still remember the very first family that ever submitted a photo to be featured. I’m thankful to that family for submitting their photo despite the fact that we only had about 20 followers at the time! And that was the beginning of it all – with more and more families beginning to submit their photos every day, the platform just grew and grew and connections started being made. The community is ever-expanding, with more and more LGBTQ+ couples and individuals beginning their family building journeys and joining the LGBTQ+ parenting community every day!
We just celebrated hitting 100K followers in May this year by putting together a special montage video of families within our community celebrating with us. It might be impossible for our community to physically come together from all around the world, but we can certainly come together to celebrate virtually!
3. What advice would you give to intended parents on GoStork – who are just beginning their family building journey?
First of all I would say that they’ve already made a great decision by using GoStork to help them to navigate what can be a very complicated and overwhelming process! With information being scattered everywhere on the internet (some of which can be misleading) and associated costs being difficult to find, GoStork is definitely a good place to start.
I would definitely encourage intended parents to talk to an individual or couple who have already been through the process – to gain insight and to help them to feel less alone in their journey. If they are LGBTQ+ intended parents, I would definitely advise them to check that any fertility providers they are looking into using are LGBTQ+ friendly and inclusive.
I would encourage intended parents growing their family through donor conception to always keep their future child’s feelings in the forefront of their mind when making consequential decisions such as using an anonymous (egg/sperm) donor as opposed to an open ID donor – to consider how this could affect their child once they reach an age of understanding.
Also for LGBTQ+ intended parents — ensure that you are fully aware of the legalities in your state/country surrounding your path to parenthood, and I would strongly advise doing a second parent adoption regardless of whether you are married and both parents names are on the birth certificate – to ensure that non-bio mom/dad has the same legal rights as the biological parent. It also adds that extra layer of security in case of law changes, divorce or death.
Thank you, Gemma, for sharing such valuable advice. As for Same Sex Parents, you’ve certainly built a community to be proud of! Intended parents – check back here over the coming weeks for more Communities We Love.
Ready to start your search for a fertility provider? Learn more about your options, here.