Ever since moving to Canada in 2002, Pride has been an important event for me. It has been, and remains, a celebration of who we are as a community. Having grown up in a small village in Switzerland where I felt like “the only gay in the village” to landing in Toronto where suddenly I was surrounded by a community of peers was life-changing.
Suddenly, all around me were people I could look up to, educate myself from, ask questions and build my own village of support. The thought of maybe one day having a family of my own with a life partner and children in the picture didn’t seem so out of reach. To me, Pride celebrations are a reminder of all the great things our community has achieved and that we have to offer to the world.
Challenges and Progress in 2SLGBTQ+ Rights
Despite significant progress in 2SLGBTQ+ rights over the years, discrimination and violence against 2SLGBTQ+ individuals still continue to occur worldwide. In some countries, being 2SLGBTQ+ remains illegal and punishable by law. More alarming is that in recent years, there has been a rise in a political backlash against 2SLGBTQ+ rights in some Western countries. Some political leaders have proposed policies that would limit the rights and protections of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, including bans on transgender individuals serving in the military or being able to access healthcare services.
In Canada, we often shrug off these changes in the political landscape happening to our south, naively thinking it would never happen here. However, a recent example of the chaos that erupted during a York Region school board meeting in Aurora debating inclusivity by raising the pride flag at the York Catholic District School Board shows that those discriminatory forces and feelings do, in fact, exist here in Canada as well. Celebrating Pride Month matters, because it shows support and solidarity for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and reinforces the need to push back against discriminatory policies.
Family Building for 2SLGBTQ+ Couples
2SLGBTQ+ couples often face unique challenges when it comes to starting a family. As a father of two born through surrogacy, I feel incredibly lucky to have not only had the privilege of living in a country where fertility treatment and surrogacy were allowed (surrogacy remains illegal in most countries, even across Europe) but that my husband and I also had the financial means to do so. It has never been lost on me that not everyone has the ability to create a family life in the way that we did.
Supporting the 2LGBTQ+ Community through Fertility Friends Foundation
When I was approached by Fertility Friends Foundation to help out with their outreach to the 2SLGBTQ+ community I saw it as an opportunity for me to give back to my community whether by helping educate individuals and couples about the surrogacy process or by promoting our foundation’s offering and help couples who otherwise may struggle to achieve their parenting dreams. I recently met up with Justyn and Cam who were one of the couples to receive our 2022 grants.
It was wonderful to hear that they were in fact expecting a baby later this year and that the support they received from Fertility Friends Foundation was a tremendous help in getting them there.
A Dad’s hope for the future
In the 10 years since we started our own parenting journey, it has been incredible to watch how many other couples have followed our steps and had children themselves.
By the time our kids become teenagers or even old enough to have families of their own, I truly believe that our family circumstances will continue to be normalized. In the meantime, it is our responsibility as a community, as 2SLGBTQ+ allies, to keep the movement going, to educate, to stand up against discrimination and to ensure that our rights today are not guaranteed and must never be taken for granted.
Fertility Friends Foundation is here to make a difference!