May 1, 2016, marks the fifth celebration of International Family Equality Day, a day to celebrate families all over the world where one or both parents identify as LGBTQ. Last year, 67 cities across 32 countries had celebrations to honor their local “Rainbow Families” and this year, hopefully more do so.
Though each community can throw its own event or party, some LGBTQ families celebrate on a smaller scale with a private family dinner. Regardless of how International Family Equality Day is celebrated across the world, LGBTQ families deserve recognition and a day to be proud of their families and the progress we have made.
- Brings awareness to LGBTQ family rights.
Only 24 countries allow for same-sex marriage with Colombia being the most recent to legalize gay marriage. With 195 countries in the world – 24 is not a significant number. Though LGBTQ couples don’t necessarily have to be married to have children in all countries, marriage allows for certain rights and protections for their family and kids. By celebrating International Family Equality, it’s bringing awareness to the many countries across the world who don’t recognize LGBTQ families or provide them with basic rights, such as marriage, that their straight counterparts receive. Rights include the ability to marry, adopt, equal healthcare access, birth certificate recognition, access to fertility treatments or surrogacy, and many more.
- It is often harder for LGBTQ parents to create their families.
As an LGBTQ parent, you understand the time, commitment, and financial struggle it took to create your family. LGBTQ parents have to go through countless fertility treatments, rigorous adoption or surrogacy processes, step parent and second parent adoptions, and much more to have a child. Because of this, LGBTQ parents deserve a day in which they can be reminded how all that time, possible stress, and hard work was totally worth it.
- Visibility can bring positive results.
Though the numbers of LGBTQ families are increasing, there are still many communities and aspects of the media in which LGBTQ families are not represented. With International Family Equality Day, there’s a focus on LGBTQ families on social media, in the media, and out in public during public events. Visibility fosters so many positive results such as acceptance and education, as well as making it clear to the world: LGBTQ families are here.
- Children deserve a day to celebrate their parents and their family.
The great thing about the events surrounding International Family Equality Day is that these events usually involve fun, interactive activities for children. When children are taken to these events by their LGBTQ parents, they are able to see other families like theirs being celebrated, thus creating a sense of pride for their family.
- A chance to meet other LGBTQ families.
In some communities, it may be difficult to connect with other LGBTQ families. International Family Equality Day brings together a number of LGBTQ families at their celebratory events allowing for families to mix and mingle and hopefully, form new friendships.
Check out the video below that shows the first International Family Equality Day event in Los Angeles!