By GLAAD | December 2, 2020
GLAAD recently had the chance to catch up with Laura-Rose Thorogood, founder of the LGBT Mummies Tribe, which is an organization based in the UK but provides support worldwide for LGBTQ women wanting to start a family. In the interview, Thorogood chats about the purpose and origins of the organization, new challenges facing LGBTQ parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, what kind of LGBTQ stories still need to be told, and more.
Check out the full Q&A below:
GLAAD: Tell us a little bit about The LGBT Mummies Tribe – who are you and what is your mission?
Laura-Rose: We are The LGBT Mummies Tribe. Our sole purpose is to ‘Educate, Share, & Celebrate’ LGBT+ women and people worldwide on the path to motherhood or parenthood. We act as a central point of support and a safe haven through providing information, advice and knowledge on the available routes to starting a family through our website & social channels.
From educational resources, support groups & services, information on charities, LGBT+ brands, and sharing your stories with our community to our annual UK ‘Meets’ where families come together to celebrate our community, make friends & share their experiences. Whether you are thinking of starting a family or have children already by fertility treatment, surrogacy, adoption, fostering, as a single parent, co-parent or a step parent, all are welcome.
We are passionate about creating policy change for same sex families (specifically women and people) and are currently in talks with the UK Government, NHS, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and other UK governing bodies to bring policy change and support to ensure equality and inclusivity to LGBT+ women and their children through the health system and associated services.
We work tirelessly to inspire LGBT+ women & people on their quest to motherhood or parenthood, while working to normalise our families in the media and creating a more inclusive future for our children, by providing visibility of our families, creating change and equality for our amazing women and people and their children.
G: LGBTQ people can receive overwhelming amounts of information while researching ways to grow their family. Various fertility options, sperm banks, clinics, surrogacy, adoption, the cost difference between all of these options…the list goes on. What is your advice to LGBTQ people trying to make sure that they have all of the (correct) information before taking the next step?
LR: Really take the time to research all the available options to you – creating a family is the biggest decision you will make in your life! On our website, we have simple, easy to read details regarding all the available options, laws, funding and costs surrounding each route and the pros & cons. Also, through our social channels, we provide our Tribe’s own lived experiences, which means that you can gain an insight into the different journeys and how things can go right (or wrong) & how to face them, specifically with a community that understands and can support you. We always suggest joining support groups of like-minded people. We currently run over 11 private support groups for all different journeys to family creation from ‘Trying to Conceive’, to ‘adoption’, ‘Pregnancy’, & parenting support groups like our ‘Trans parents’ or ‘Non-Binary parents’ support group’. Speaking to others who can give advice and share their experiences can be the best information you get. Also, if you are in a couple or looking to co-parent, you need to ensure you’re all on the same page – this ensures that although the journey may be difficult you all agree on the path & can support each other through it.
G: What additional challenges do LGBTQ people face while expanding their families during COVID-19?
LR: It is an incredibly hard journey starting a family at the best of times, but during COVID can be exceptionally isolating and difficult. Adoption or fostering panels can push dates back, surrogates are only able to attend appointments without the intended parents, and if you’re opting for fertility treatment, in many cases, your partner cannot attend transfers, scans or appointments. If you are the non-bio mother or parent, this can increase the feeling of isolation and not being an important part of the journey that many non-bio parents feel, which can result in mental health deterioration. When the baby arrives, there is sometimes difficulty bonding with the baby. It is something that many of our Tribe are struggling with during these unprecedented times. Also, because staff are under pressure, when they are taking appointments, many are finding less care and interest is taken in finding out who you are and your journey. This can result in issues such as not asking a person’s pronouns, misuse of language, and an overall lack of understanding of someone’s journey, which can in turn result in a poor experience – something we are passionately working to educate healthcare organizations about and addressing urgently, even outside of COVID.
G: Laws and policies supporting LGBTQ families differ based on location, leaving many without the protections that they deserve. What is the next policy that the Tribe is trying to change, and how can we help?
LR: Worldwide, there are so many differing laws & policies; some countries people have full rights, others are not protected at all. We are currently in talks with the UK NHS regarding multiple areas in general that LGBT+ people are not supported through general healthcare, family creation, birth, and beyond. Also, the NHS funding depends on where you live (the postcode lottery) & many who do not have the means to fund it themselves miss out on having their children by their chosen route due to this, which is unfair. However, we are acutely aware that we really need global policies to protect our community and our families, and there should be a worldwide governing body who can fight for us, work with us, and tackle states & countries where laws do not support us. Everyone should be equally supported, not just dependent on what country you live in.
G: Both GLAAD & The LGBT Mummies Tribe are fighting for more LGBTQ representation in the media. What stories would you like to see/hear more of?
LR: We are desperate to see more LGBTQ+ families visible in the media! We don’t want to see the ‘stereotypical token gay family’ in a show, or during Pride see brands use our images, and then when the Pride flags go away, their support disappears. We need people to see it as ‘normal’ when they see a billboard with a LGBTQ+ family on it and not blink twice. We need to work TOWARDS that ideal. Also, the types of families used need to be REAL families from our community, real visibility, real people – not actors. Let’s ‘educate, share, celebrate’ and show the world how beautiful & amazing our families truly are!
G: For our readers looking to learn more information or get involved, how can they go about joining the Tribe? LR: Our website is www.thelgbtmummiestribe.com & there’s a myriad of information on the routes to starting a family, our campaigns, our Tribe’s success stories, educational books & resources & much more.
We also have our Instagram @the_lgbt_mummies_tribe & our Facebook @thelgbtmummiestribex.
If people would like to join our support groups, they need to email us firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our social channels to join.
If you want to share your journey, your family or want to tell us what you want to see from us, please reach out! We are here to ‘educate, share, celebrate’ our amazing Tribe & provide the advice, support & community for those looking to start a family or those with a family-all are welcome!