Modern Family Alliance (MFA) will be hosting a conference on Saturday, Nov. 5, for LGBT families and prospective families. Organizers plan to cover an array of challenges faced by LGBT parents. The Lifecycle of the Modern (LGBT) Family Conference will run from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, Mo. Registration is $10; child care will not be provided.
Author, activist and parent Eric Rosswood will be the keynote speaker, followed by a group of parents and professionals who will engage in a panel discussion.
Three consecutive sessions, each offering a choice among four topics, will complete the morning schedule. Topics will include:
- Surrogacy, insemination and other reproductive technology.
- Maintaining healthy partner/spouse relationships.
- Transracial/transcultural adoption issues.
- Coming out as transgender.
- Domestic infant adoption.
- Legal issues and estate planning.
- School issues such as teachers, bullying, PTA,
- Child discipline, behavioral issues and dealing with children who have gone through difficult experiences.
- Foster care and foster-to-adopt.
- Wellness issues such as self-care, diet, fitness and sleep.
- Co-parenting after a break-up.
- Coming out to your health-care providers.
Representatives of local LGBT nonprofits will be present. Those with tables will include Heartland Trans Chorus, GLSEN, KC LEGAL, LIKEME Lighthouse, Passages Youth Center, LGBT-Affirmative Therapists Guild of Greater Kansas City, PFLAG, EQUAL and Heartland Men’s Chorus. There will also be time for parents and prospective parents to talk with each other and share information and wisdom.
MFA founding member and family therapist Lynn Barnett said that the group wants to build on its past success in helping LGBT families, using that expertise to help transgender and intersex people start families. Dr. Jill Jacobson, of Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Gender Pathways Services; Debi Jackson, president of PFLAG-KC; and Lori Ross, CEO of FosterAdopt Connect will be present at the event.
MFA president Michael Hadley is using his videography skills to create a short film composed of interviews conducted with children; it will play as attendees enter the conference hall.
No longer alternative
Modern Family Alliance began life in 2002 as the Midwest Alternative Family Alliance (MAFA). A few years later, it was incorporated as a 501(c)3. MAFA was formed to support LGBT parents in the Kansas City area as they built families and raised children, providing a community that was respectful, encouraging and inclusive.
With the advent of marriage equality, broader recognition of same-sex parents by both public and private entities, and greater public acceptance of LGBT individuals and families, the name of the group was changed to Modern Family Alliance.
Over the years, it has brought together LGBT parents and families for networking, mentoring, resource-sharing and social events. Shared resources and information at MAFA have included access to member-preferred pediatricians, financial advisers, therapists, attorneys, and more. Allowing kids with LGBT parents to see other moms and dads who are similar to their own has always been an important aspect of the alliance.
MAFA held its first family picnic in 2007. It was so successful that the group now hosts two picnics per year, as well as a conference. The latest Fall Picnic took place Sept. 18 at English Landing Park in Parkville, Mo. The group’s other picnic is in the spring. Attendees at the Nov. 5 conference will take a survey to help determine what events will take place in the future.
Currently, MFA charges no membership fees, as its operating budget relies on a grant from an anonymous benefactor.
If you are an LGBT parent, prospective parent or ally, check out the group’s sites below.
Conference Facebook event page: facebook.com/events/1745922812336235/
MFA Facebook page: facebook.com/kc.mafa
MFA website: modernfamilyalliance.wordpress.com
Registration link: eventbrite.com/e/lifecycle-of-the-modern-lgbt-family-tickets-27791682671