88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Pride Month: Local support network for LGBTQ+ parents

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

June is Pride Month, a time for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to come together and to celebrate.  All month, we’ll be bringing you stories of local pride, exploring activism, family, LGBTQ+ history and entertainment.

Becoming a parent is hard work.  Asking the right the questions, finding the right healthcare professionals, balancing work and home life — it all takes intentional commitment.

And for LGBTQ+ parents, there are often more steps involved.

If the parents adopted, they must be aware of the child’s involvement with the birth family, if any, and they must quickly become experts on the legal process.  For surrogacy, there can be even more legal hurdles and costs.

Then, there are the social concerns. Will my child feel isolated at school? How do we meet other LGBTQ+ families?

More below.

And that’s where a local nonprofit organization — Miltown LGBT Families — is stepping in.

The organization connects families, offering an informal way to share information and support in person and online.  It began as a small Facebook group in 2016, and since then, it blossomed to include more than 400 LGBTQ+ families in the Milwaukee area and around the state, according to co-founder Joseph Brooks.

Joseph Brooks (right) and Bradley Ewerdt with their son, Miles.

He and his partner, Bradley, adopted their son as a infant five years ago. As new parents, they didn’t see many local resources for LGBT families.  So they took action.

“Typically when our kids go to school, they may not be the only kid from a LGBT family, but they’re one of the few.  They’re definitely in the minority,” Brooks said.  “We wanted to create an environment where they would be the majority, where it was sort of just…a norm.”

Members of the group get together regularly.  Sometimes it’s a big outing, and other times families will get together for a small dinner and playdate.

Online, parents can share resources with each other, and stay in the loop about activities going on in the community.

“The stories and our paths to creating families is pretty unique,” Brooks said. “To be able to talk to other parents who have gone through the adoption process or have open adoptions with the birth parents, those kinds of things are pretty special.”

Miltown LGBT Families is supported with funds from the Cream City Foundation, a local charitable foundation focused on LGBT issues.

Click the player below to listen in on an intimate birthday party that recently brought together two member families.

 

From the story: Meighan Bentz and Jennifer Murray with son, Jasper, and daughter, Skyler.