Parenting, Progress, and Pride

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Photo via Pexels.
Photo via Pexels.

As we head into Pride Month, I am moved once again to ponder all that I am proud of. My son tops the list, as always—but I am also proud of how we LGBTQ families and our allies have been able to keep pushing towards equality, despite an unprecedented amount of anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric right now.

Perhaps most notably for LGBTQ families, a small but growing number of states, including most recently Michigan and Minnesota, have reformed their parentage legislation to better recognize the ways families are formed today, laying out clear and equitable paths to legal parentage for children with LGBTQ parents and those formed via assisted reproduction.

Assisted reproduction has also gotten a boost from new guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) last fall, updating the definition of "infertility" to make it more inclusive of LGBTQ and single people who seek fertility healthcare. Infertility, under the new guidelines, includes both medical reasons as well as simply needing donor gametes for any reason, either as an individual or with a partner. While they carry no legal weight, the ASRM guidelines are often cited by policymakers and legislators. In January, New Jersey used these guidelines as part of a new law making infertility coverage requirements more equitable, thus joining Maine, Illinois, Colorado, and D.C. as the only states using definitions of infertility that are clearly and fully inclusive of LGBTQ and single people.

The new guidelines were also applied in the May settlement of a class-action lawsuit against healthcare insurance giant Aetna, which had made LGBTQ policyholders pay out of pocket for multiple rounds of intrauterine insemination before they could qualify for fertility benefits (versus simply stating that they'd been having regular, unprotected sexual intercourse, as heterosexual, cisgender policyholders could do ). Now, Aetna will update its clinical policy to be consistent with the new ASRM guidelines.

We can also be proud that May marked the 20th anniversary of the first marriage license deliberately issued to a same-sex couple in the United States—two moms who were the lead plaintiffs in the landmark legal decision. A total of four of the seven plaintiffs couples were parents, in fact, and their case was led by attorney and queer mom Mary Bonauto. Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, who wrote the decision, noted marriage's positive impact on children as a key reason for extending it to same-sex couples—an argument used later in the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality federal law. Granted, parenthood is not the only reason to marry, nor should marriage be necessary for parental rights—but marriage is a societal touchstone, weighted with meaning, rights, and responsibilities for adults and children alike.

Additionally, school-related LGBTQ equality got a boost when Florida's "Don't Say Gay/LGBTQ" law that banned LGBTQ content in schools was defanged. More than a dozen Florida parents, students, and teachers, plus LGBTQ organizations Equality Florida and Family Equality, who had challenged the law's constitutionality, reached a settlement with the state in March. While this does not repeal the law, it removes the most harmful, anti-LGBTQ aspects of the legislation. Among other things, it secures critical protections and clarifications like the restoration of free expression about sexual orientation and gender identity in classroom participation and assignments, and the affirmation that bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited. The law still prohibits "classroom instruction" on sexual orientation or gender identity, but that must now be applied neutrally to all identities, LGBTQ or otherwise.

In contrast to Florida's intransigence, Washington State passed a new law in March that actually requires public schools to teach about the contributions and history of LGBTQ people. The state will require schools to update their curricula for the 2025-26 school year, and joins California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and Oregon, which have similar laws.

Another positive step for schools was a new set of regulations from the U.S. Department of Education in April, affirming that Title IX, part of a broader educational law, protects students and school employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other characteristics. Regulations addressing the inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, and intersex students in school sports, however, are still pending.

The visibility of LGBTQ families in the media continues to grow as well. Recurring LGBTQ characters appeared on kid's and family shows on the Disney Channel, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Max, and Cartoon Network, according to GLAAD's "Where We Are on TV 2023-2024" report, released in April. And my own Database of LGBTQ Family Books has seen a continual wave of new titles this year.

Each of these victories, and many more besides, make me exceedingly proud of the vast community of LGBTQ families, and individuals of which I am part, and from whom I learn so much about joy, resilience, and hope. In that communal spirit, I want to invite all of you to join me for the 19th Annual LGBTQ Families Day on Monday, June 3, 2024, by sharing a family photo or message of support on social media with the hashtag #LGBTQFamiliesDay, or by celebrating in your community in whatever way uplifts the voices and experiences of any and all families with LGBTQ people in them.

However we choose to celebrate Pride this year, may it be a month to reflect on all that we are proud of, in our homes, communities, and the wider world, even as we renew our energy for the battles still ahead.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (, a two-time GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory, plus a searchable database of 1,500+ LGBTQ family books.