Welcome to Pride Month!

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Pride month in Kingston is a very exciting time of year! This year marks the 30th anniversary of Pride in Kingston, Ontario as well as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which sparked the phenomenon of Pride.

Each year, participation grows and we get to see so many more of the amazing Queer people living in our community. Events celebrating Pride can be found all over the city, from a special LGBT themed Movies in the Square, to a Rainbow Storytime at the public library, to the Pride community fair and parade!

Last year, the Pride community fair was held in Skeleton Park. The fair practically took over the whole park, covering everything and everyone in rainbows; glitter; and a bold representation of the Kingston LGBT+ community! Organizations and vendors came out to show their support and share their LGBT+ services. The parade, once a modest event of a few out and proud community members is now a bright, energetic, loud event with costumes; floats; and music!

The most exciting thing to see, as a Doula and Queer woman, was how many families were in the crowd. Families made of friends who built their own communities out of love and strength. Queer families with strollers, with little ones running around the playground, or parents with their infants hanging out in the shade. Some parents were there to show support for their Queer teens and some teens were there to support their Queer parents. Parents and families of all sizes, of all ages, and from all over the LGBT+ spectrum. Parents representing the L, the G, the B, the T, and all the many plus letters!

The face of parenting is recognizably changing as more and more LGBT+ people are able to freely live their best lives. There was a time, not long ago in the relative scheme of things, that I knew one openly out person and no openly Queer parents. To even come out of the closet for the purposes of dating? It seemed impossible for many people. Getting married and having a family? Would you face acceptance? Would you be a novelty to those who knew? Would you face violence? Now I know so many members of the LGBT+ community, many with children, and with their visibility comes more visibility for Queer families.

LGBT+ people are entering parenthood in diverse ways. Some will seek fertility treatments like artificial insemination or IVF. Some will use a sperm bank and some will have a known donor. Some people will use a surrogate or adopt. Some will face questions about continuing hormone therapy for their gender confirmation while carrying a pregnancy. Many will face financial walls associated with these paths to parenthood.

The one thing that everyone will face as they are becoming a parent is the need for a loving community and the kind of support that a Doula is trained to provide.

Doulas, including those with Doula Support Foundation, can support families at any point on their journey. We are especially proud to offer support to the diverse community of individuals and families in Kingston. DSF Doulas are committed to honouring the identities of our clients, using inclusive language, and are verified to be trained in providing prenatal; labour; and early postpartum support. Outside of the very basics of Doula support, many choose to learn specialties that can benefit clients with specific needs. This can include:

  1. Fertility support (fertility treatments of different kinds often being the essential first step for LGBT+ parents).

  2. Adoption support or support for those who are becoming foster parents, both of which are also very common ways to become a parent for LGBT+ clients.

  3. Extensive knowledge in breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and infant feeding options that are relevant to Queer parents.

We DSF Doulas believe that everyone deserves to feel validated in approaching parenthood. We believe that everyone deserves to feel empowered in their birth experiences. We believe that everyone deserves to feel supported in their first weeks and months as a parent. We believe that everyone deserves to be seen.

This will be the first year that Doula Support Foundation is attending Pride as an organization and I can’t wait for it. Last year’s enthusiasm and turnout was inspirational and I have been anticipating this year’s festivities ever since. I know that our DSF Doulas are going to have an amazing time celebrating our diverse community, marching in the parade, and meeting so many of you! So, come by our table at the community fair and chat with us. Tell us about your future family, or your current family, and share your story with us. We can’t wait to see you!

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Dina is a certified Birth and Bereavement Doula, as well as a Community Worker. She specializes in mental health/addictions. In Her free time She loves to read, learn about the world, and cuddle Her dog and cat; BeBe and Biscuit. You can learn more about her work at: www.dinathedoula.com and you can contact her at dinathedoula@gmail.com

Royah Khorsandi