On November 1, the Trump administration unveiled a proposed rule that would strip discrimination protections from nearly all programs that receive Health and Human Services grants — including adoption and foster care, child care programs, and much more. This would mean that families like the ones profiled below — LGBTQ+ youth and adults, children of LGBTQ+ parents, and in the case of adoption and foster care, also people who are Muslim, Jewish, or secular — could be turned away from receiving necessary services.
“For more than 40 years, we have been fighting for our families, and the actions taken this month by the Trump administration remind us that the fight is far from over,” said Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality Council. “With this rule, our children, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors can be turned away from accessing the services they need to survive and thrive — all because of who they love, who they are, or what they believe. When the government sanctions discrimination against anyone in our community, we all pay the price.”
Read the stories of the rainbow families fighting this discriminatory rule below. Oppose it yourself by submitting a comment in opposition before December 19. Visit FMEQ.co/act-now to speak out.
“Since we met back in 1996, we had always wanted to have our own family. We’ve always envisioned ourselves as parents — and when that day happened in July of 2008, everything changed. The world was no longer about us: It was about him. He is our legacy. Our son, Farber, changed us. Every day, he challenges us to be better people and makes us laugh in the process. People like to say Farber is so lucky, but they don’t understand that it’s us who are lucky — we are lucky that his birth mother courageously chose us as his parents and we are profoundly thankful that he is in our lives.
“Adoption is not an easy process. It involves many gatekeepers along the journey — and not all were or are friendly to families like ours. We adopted before [same-sex] marriage was legal, and it was a struggle to find just the right agency and deal with all the classes, inspections, interviews, references, and social workers. We had to make sure to do it in a gay-friendly county so that come time for adoption, we would have a judge that would approve it. In that journey, we were met with racism, sexism, and homophobia in addition to the fact that we were operating in a gray area of the law in our state when it came to 'gay adoption.' With marriage came the benefits of fewer legal obstacles, but social ones still existed. Currently, we both volunteer with an organization that works with children in foster care and we know that great need for loving and caring families for the thousands of children in our county’s foster care system alone. The idea that any government would pass laws that put more obstacles in the way of needed families is quite inhuman.”
“When we got pregnant with our youngest child a few months before the  election, we worried about a lot of things — how would we pay for child care? What would we name them? Would we ever sleep again? But the worry that we might be unsafe or wouldn’t be recognized as a family wasn’t one of them. We were just excited to share our family adventures with our littlest one! To pile them into the minivan and go on road trips, to make art projects together, to play dress-up with our oldest, and, above all, give them a sense of belonging.
“But it’s hard to give your children a sense of belonging when you live in a country that doesn’t see your family as legitimate. What-ifs are now part of our daily lives. What if we lose our jobs? What if they block our access to trans-affirming medicine? What if they take away our parental rights? Despite this, our children know that we know we belong together and to each other as a family. It would be wonderful to live in a world that saw our family the way that we do.”
“When we first brought our 11-year-old son home, he saw hearts everywhere. ‘Look, Daddy look,’ he would proclaim, pointing to a pattern of cracks in the sidewalk. ‘It’s a heart!’ He saw hearts in the bark on a tree, the clouds in the sky, the pattern of veins in a hand. Looking back, we understand that he was seeing his own heart, reminding him to never give up on his dream of being adopted — even after six foster homes in four years and surviving a brain tumor. Our son fought through unspeakable tragedy to a future where he was loved unconditionally in his forever family. That is the essence of our family story — a young boy who survived more than most people do in a lifetime reminds our hearts every day to never give up and never lose hope.”