Family units, gay or straight in today’s society

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REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN

When I was a youngster in the 1940s and 50s I felt secure and safe in my environment, except during the war years and our eventual move to Canada, which was a temporary feeling of being unsettled. The point is that my parents protected us, thus creating an atmosphere of contentment for this family of two parents and four male siblings.

In a previous column I discussed my feelings as being different from my brothers and my close friends, not uncommon during the post-war years. However, one learns as the years pass that regardless of confusion and inwardly coping with the turmoil of being perhaps alone in this wide world, I felt at ease with my family unit.

As I mentioned recently, the family nucleus has experienced tremendous changes that are indeed positive and mentally healthy. Today’s families are more inclusive and accepted by many in the Western World. Toronto’s the 519 Street Community Centre, a public/private organization in the heart of the city’s LGBTQ community, has a complete program geared toward prospective gay parents. My son Chris is the Queer Parenting Programs Co-ordinator and conducts courses to benefit prospective parents and the various ways parenting may be achieved. Gay couples and singles attend the courses which are held at various times of the year.

Global television aired a program regarding this issue and interviewed a number of male couples who have become parents and so the family nucleus has changed to include same gender parenting. This is a fabulous concept that has taken hold in a world where changes are constant. The number of same-sex families has grown by 42 per cent since 2005 to almost 65,000 families in 2011, according to the census. This is significant in that Canada and many other nations are embracing these phenomenal changes in our society, despite objections from the many in the religious community.

Children have been brought into the family through adoption, surrogacy or from a previous opposite-sex relationship. Countless studies have concluded that kids of LGBTQ parents are as well adjusted and psychologically healthy as those of opposite-sex couples. Readers of this column may take comfort in the fact that Pictou County also has a number of same-sex families with children. Again, remember this: Love is all it takes to make a family. Comments and information: lgbtconnectionsgv@gmail.com

 

Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.

Organizations: 519 Street Community Centre, Queer Parenting Programs Co

Geographic location: Canada, Toronto, Pictou County

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