RAINBOW FAMILIES NEWS
Bo Belotti, who joined Rainbow Families last fall as our Events & Administration Coordinator, has also been (and continues to be) an active trans rights advocate for years, dating back to high school.
Listen to this informative episode where Pod Virginia interviews Bo on the topic of "The Bills Attacking Trans Youth"
Several bills passed the state House this session that would harm transgender kids--as well as all 1.2 million students in Virginia. This week, Thomas and Michael are joined by Bo Belotti, an activist and National Recruitment Director for the Trans Radical Activist Network. They talk about the harm of a bill that would require student athletes to verify their genitalia with adults before being able to compete in sports, as well as one that would require schools to notify parents of their child's transition. They also cover Delegate Danica Roem's fierce rebuttal to these bills that left many proponents without answers
We're very excited about this new series - a spotlight of our wonderful members and volunteers!
For our first feature, we’re happy to share our chat with Andrew - Rainbow Families member since the summer of 2021.
Andrew and his husband moved to Alexandria, VA so their son and daughter could grow up in a diverse community. Andrew’s family found Rainbow Families after doing some online searching. After several playdates with straight parents and their children, the need for their children to see families like theirs became clear, especially when their son, Oscar, asked one day why he didn’t have a mommy.
For their family, Rainbow Families became a way to connect with families that were similar to theirs, and that shared experience has been the foundation for friendships started through our organization. Andrew and his family became members last summer and have since been volunteers with us, in fact Andrew was a tremendous help at our 2022 Halloween Family Dance.
When asked about his greatest concern for the LGBTQ family movement, he replied that it would probably be the general LGBTQ panic resurgence; our families are seen as second class families. Additionally, he doesn't want his children to forever be labeled as "children of gay parents" but instead seen as individuals in their own light.
With only two staff members, we rely on awesome volunteers to help at our events. Interested in volunteering? Reach out to Bo, email@example.com. Interested in being featured? Email Bo too!
The Board of Directors and our Executive Director are proud to announce the arrival of Bo Belotti to the team. Bo (he/they) is our second full-time employee, and is our Events & Administration Coordinator. A Stafford County, Virginia native, and recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Bo has experience as a queer & trans advocate dating back to their high school days and continuing today. Bo also has worked extensively in local political campaigns. We're excited to have our members meet Bo at our events and programs throughout the year!
Rainbow Families proudly announces the launch of new group: QPOCC - Queer Parents of Color Connection.
We have committed to supporting a space specifically and intentionally created for BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) who are parents (or hopeful parents!) to connect, recharge, and network with other queer people of color (QPOC). This means you have lived experiences as an Black or Brown person, and desire the opportunity to come together as a community to discuss and share resources, laugh and learn about commonalities and differences, as well as dig deeper into the BIPOC experiences that unite us.
More info on our website, or email: QPOCC@RainbowFamilies.org
Tune in tomorrow 8pm ET for this exciting event featuring Lizzo, Katy Perry, Elton John and more! A portion of proceeds going to Rainbow Families ️ ❤️ Thank you to Centerlink for supporting small, local LGBTQ+ centers nationwide.
We are delighted to welcome V Spehar as an Honorary Board Member of Rainbow Families. V is passionate about Rainbow Families mission and work, and is excited to embark on some incredible projects with us.
V is the Host/Creator of TikTok’s @underthedesknews with over 1.6 million subscribers. Under The Desk News offers 60 second daily wrap ups of current events, political analysis, and special interest stories “explained”. When not "under the desk" - V can be found as a frequent guest interviewer for Cherry Bombe, and as host of the @latimes tiktok.
V has been a decades-long champion for LGBTQ+ leadership in the policy and food space, having served as Director of Impact for the James Beard Foundation. They are also a founding board member of the Queer Food Foundation.
Rainbow Families could never serve our members so well, without the hard work and dedication of our incredible volunteers. We’re beginning a new program, a monthly “Volunteer Spotlight” to showcase and thank some of these incredible people.
Kicking off our Volunteer Spotlight is Jamie McGonnigal. Jamie and his husband Sean first became involved with Rainbow Families in 2014, when they decided to enroll in a Maybe Baby class. What they found was a network of LGBTQ+ parents and prospective parents with whom they could build community. Since welcoming their son in 2017, they have become even more involved with the Rainbow Families community.
This year, Jamie was instrumental in helping plan our annual Family Camping Weekend. He worked with donors to raise funds, ensuring more families could come together for this great experience. He also coordinated the end-of-camp Family Dance, even saving it from last minute rain by moving it indoors! Without his dedication, this weekend wouldn’t have been nearly as fantastic for our 150 campers.
“The most important aspect of Camping Weekend” Jamie said, “was building community and connection among LGBTQ+ families.”
“For most of the kids at camp, when they go home, they are one of the only, if not the only, family like theirs in their community,” he continued. “There’s just not a lot of opportunities for people to come together and just be ourselves with families like ours.”
Through Camping Weekend, Jamie and his family have met other Rainbow Families that they're planning on staying connected with in the future through dinners, playdates, and more.
“We’re building community from these events,” Jamie said. “Rainbow Families is where that began.”
Thank you, Jamie, for all your hard work in fostering this community, through Camping Weekend and beyond!
Pregnancy & Loss: Rainbow Families Sees You
Losing a baby is so much more than how it can often be portrayed by others who haven’t had the experience. For most, it’s not “just a bunch of cells” or other distancing language that often gets used, but a baby or a possibility. Losing a pregnancy is about losing the dream of a future that had been mapped out. Dreams of “firsts” and new experiences. Dreams of watching your partner get to parent . Dreams of creating the family that you had always imagined.
Pregnancy loss cuts those dreams off, without warning, and can be felt so deeply. It tends to be a time for a couple where each might grieve differently, causing some confusion in what had been felt to be a solid relationship. Oftentimes, it is the first time that as a couple, you’ve experienced something traumatic together.
Building a family within the LGBTQ+ community is a labor of intention and planning. There are no accidents. As a result, losing a much-wanted pregnancy cuts more deeply and has so many layers.
This month, your loss is seen by those that haven’t walked in these shoes. Whether you’ve experienced embryos that didn’t form or grow, an IVF or IUI cycle that didn’t take, a chemical pregnancy, a molar pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, a termination for medical reasons, a stillbirth, or a neonatal loss: Rainbow Families sees you. We are here to hold you in this time of pain as well as time of remembrance, and we are here to celebrate when you await building your family or as you parent that child.
Blog written by: Dr. Julie Bindeman, former Rainbow Families board member and leader of the RF Pregnancy/Parenting group and the Pre-Conception group.
Thank you to all who participated in this year's INCREDIBLE camping weekend! It was our largest attended camp weekend ever, and during a pandemic no less. We all had SO MUCH FUN.
"What a magical weekend! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen! I also REALLY appreciated the care and diligence regarding COVID protocols"
"This was our first introduction to Rainbow Families. What a positive, celebratory experience for my partner and I....and our 19 month old!"
"My kids and Imet loads of new and amazing people, good vibes all around. Just what we needed"
Rainbow Families members Shay & Sequoia (and their adorable kiddo) plus our Executive Director, were featured on CBS' Great Day Washington program, and given a surprise donation in the process! Check out the CLIP HERE