The cornerstone of every Rainbow Families Family Conference since 2004 has been our workshops. Here we provide education, enlightenment, inspiration and community connection from experts in the subject matter.
Workshop presenters are part of the LGBTQ+ community or are trusted allies. Before being selected, prospective presenters share with our program committee the way(s) they are connected to the community, and/or are of service to the community.
To view a BIO on any of our workshop presenters, please click here.
In our heavily racialized world, where violence against brown and black bodies is increasingly more ‘acknowledged’ in social media, there is a necessity to acknowledge the social construct of race. As we identify black/African American as a social construct, so too must we identify white/whiteness as a social construct. It is time for white people to understand our own racial identity in the context of the larger systemic issues of racism and white supremacy. This workshop will allow white-identified people to learn and look at implicit bias, white privilege, white culture and how to be an anti-racist advocate in a white supremacist world. This will be a dynamic, interactive, supportive, and challenging learning environment for the sake of social and racial justice. Please come.
This informal seminar will focus on the unique estate-planning needs of LGBTQ families like yours. Learn how to provide for your partner and children in case the unexpected happens, and how to pass on your wealth to your children efficiently. The importance of wills, trusts, and other documents is discussed in an estate-planning context. Participants will leave the session with new understanding of the legal steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
This will be a discussion and presentation surrounding the need for families of all types, who can demonstrate capacity and a level of openness, to adopt waiting children from foster care.
We will talk about the process of adopting an older child and the common needs seen in children from foster care.
We will also discuss prospective parents’ openness to the level of needs seen in children with a trauma background. We will demonstrate how these children can benefit from all different types of families regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender or age. We will be joined by a LGBTQ+ family to share their experience about adopting from foster care.
This workshop will seek to provide an open space and conversation for individuals and families from various faith traditions who are trying to discern their place and space within their traditions. For many, our spaces of worship are uneven in their acceptance and celebration of LGBTQ issues; and quite sharply different particularly around trans and non binary concerns. Many families seek to find understanding and support if they are LGBTQ identified parents, or for their children around these concerns.
This workshop is not theological, nor attempts to look at belief systems of any faith tradition. It is more an opportunity to share issues of common concern, identify shifts and changes that have happened in some places, and how we may begin to do this in our various locations.
An “A to Z” overview of adoption as a way to build your family. How do you know if adoption is the right choice for your family, and what sort of child might you be the best parent for? How much does it cost? How long is the wait? What do I need to be thinking about now? How do I get started? Come hear a snapshot of the adoption process of newborns to 21-year old’s and what it takes to effectively complete this process.
The wisdom and experience of ‘adult adoptees’ is essential for us to hear as adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents. This panel of diverse transracial and transnational adoptees will provide an opportunity to hear what it has been like being raised as adoptees of color in predominantly white homes. While not all adoptions are trans-racial, many are. There will be honest conversations about what these adoptees wish their parents had known or done that would have enhanced their growing up years. This workshop is for same-race, transracial, transnational, LGBTQ+ adoptive families, LGBTQ+ adoptive (and prospective) parents. Bring your questions and your open minds, as we listen and learn together.
Dating. The word itself has the potential to strike fear in every parent. When should youth date? How are youth dating? How can you prepare youth to date? This presentation will explore the realities, cautions, and beauty of watching young people date. Because as much as the D-word may terrify you, we all want our children to be happy and ultimately find love.
Deciding to start a family is a decision that is often met with added challenges for people who do not identify as heterosexual or cisgender. These challenges can be cost prohibitive, emotionally or identity challenging, or all the above.
When considering ART as your potential pathway to parenthood, there is much to understand and consider. Here, we will include important information from a medical, legal and regulatory perspective.
In this discussion, you’ll hear from three experts in the field of ART – Dr. Rafat Abbasi, Nurse Practitioner Signey Olson, and Attorney Meryl B. Rosenberg Each panelist will speak to their own area of specialty (medical and legal), and will open the conversation for Q&A.
Children and youth who have experienced trauma need to feel safe and loved. All parents want to provide this kind of nurturing home for their children. However, parents need to understand what are traumatic events to a youth or child and the effects that trauma can have on their child or youth’s mental health, behavior, school functioning or family participation. Even children who are adopted as infants experience trauma at being separated from their biological parent(s). If parents do not have an understanding of trauma, they may misinterpret their child’s behavior and end up feeling frustrated or resentful. Their attempts to address troubling behavior can be ineffective, and in some cases, harmful. This presentation will discuss the nature of trauma, its effects on children and youth, and provide real life examples of parenting techniques to be trauma responsive. By increasing your understanding of trauma, you can help support your child’s healing, your relationship with them, and your family as a whole. Come join the movement and start the journey to being a trauma responsive parent!
This workshop will address all the laws that relate to legal relationships within families, and how parents can be sure their legal relationships to their children and each other are created and protected.
Do you want to get pregnant but don’t know where to start? Have you looked into purchasing donor sperm or “”fertility treatments”” and been totally overwhelmed by everything from the process to the cost? You are not alone! Fortunately, there are other options to achieving pregnancy that don’t involve going to a fertility clinic or relying solely on a turkey baster at home.
In this session, we will discuss ways in which you can learn to track your own fertility in order to optimize your chances of achieving pregnancy. We will also discuss different options for obtaining sperm and the various methods of insemination that are available to you in a home setting.
Dismantling white supremacy. Understanding white fragility. These are all trending currently due to atmosphere that we are in. However, if we are truly invested in long term change, we need to look at how diet culture also upholds white supremacy. In this workshop, I will discuss the ways society has used the body to uphold one race while putting down another. This will also include general discussion of the dangers of diet culture as a whole. We all want our families to live balanced whole, lives. How can we do that in a way that is not at the cost of an entire race? That is what I hope you walk away with.
Your family is unique – how it looks, who’s included, and what your strengths and struggles are – and your financial planning should incorporate the whole story of you. Join us for an exploration of several fictional LGBTQ families, and what they learned through customized comprehensive planning. Walk through the discoveries they made, and get a sense of what they learned about themselves and how to create a more secure future.
At the end we will do an exercise where you can privately explore some of your own family’s particular strong and weak points, and get some pointers about where to turn for help.
This workshop focuses on using children’s literature as windows and mirrors for student’s cultural and personal identity. It focuses on an intersectional view of identity as well as strategically using books and book discussions to teach children how to honor and respect people of cultures and identities that are other than their own.
For parents who are considering transracial adoption, or who have already created a transracial family, hearing stories from those who have “been there” can offer great insight and support. In this workshop, join Joseph Sadusky, author of Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad, in conversation with singer, performer, and health advocate Peter Campbell as Joe discusses his experiences endured, approaches used, and lessons learned as the white dad of two black sons.
LGBTQ+ individuals and partnered go into family building knowing they will need some kind of assistance.
While not “infertile”, most are thrust into a world where the typical scenario is managing medical infertility vs social fertility. This workshop will address all of the feelings that partners/spouses and individuals tend to experience while on the roller coaster that is family building.
Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of what children comprehend, think and feel about adoption as they grow up, from the pre-school years through adolescence. Common questions and concerns related to birth parents; relationships with adoptive and extended family members, as well as unique challenges in transracial adoption are addressed. Special emphasis is on helping children process loss and grief, promote self-esteem and self-value, and positive identity development. Ms. Singer will also discuss how to help children handle questions and comments about being part of an LGBTQ+ adoptive family.
For those of you thinking about transracial adoption as a way to create your family, please come to this thought-provoking, honest conversation about what this will involve, require of you and what it could mean for your child(ren). We will probe into the complexity of this multi-faceted intersectional reality. As LGBTQ+ families, there is an added dimension for our kid(s). Add Adoption. Add Race. Add Culture. Your family will be conspicuous. Let’s talk about how to raise healthy kids of color. Let’s talk!
Adoption & Assisted Reproductive Technology Adoption and Collaborative Reproduction (Surrogacy and Donors) is both exciting and stressful. For prospective parents considering adoption or assisted reproductive technology (ART) as a means to achieving their family building goal, there are many steps to work through and details to consider both before starting the process and throughout.Having an attorney assist you can reduce the stress and help you with a clearer path forward.Each method of family building takes time, patience and persistence and the end result is rewarding.
This workshop will take participants through the paths to parenthood through private adoption or the use of assisted reproductive technology. From intake to finalization of parental rights, Jennifer will cover searching, marketing, matching, clearances, placement or birth of your child and securing parental rights.
From policies and attitudes toward LGBTQ people, to hateful speech and hostility towards immigrants and people of color on the national stage, to the climate crisis, unfolding national and world events can arouse strong emotions and worries for adults and children alike. Children of all ages need support to understand and cope with world events that they are seeing in the news, learning about at school, or hearing discussed on the playground. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to talk with children about their feelings and concerns, family skills for positive coping, and self care for parents, to help you make your home a safe port for your child.
The most common thing that can has a big impact on libido, sexual satisfaction, and sexual relationships is children or trying for them. Often times, the idea of going to bed to sleep, is more tempting than going to bed to play sexually with yourself or with your partner(s). We will delve into sexuality in the time of parenthood or impending parenthood, and provide tips and tricks to enhance intimacy, plus tools to thoughtfully communicate needs, wants, and desires.