Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere

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COLAGE
COLAGE logo.jpg
COLAGE logo
Founded 1990
Website colage.org
Formerly called
Just for Us, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere

COLAGE (originally abbreviated from Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) is an organization created in 1990 by the children of several lesbian and gay male couples who felt a need for support.

COLAGE is run and operated by people of all ages who have a LGBTQ parent or parents. Older Colagers mentor younger members, preparing them for challenges that a child may face having same-sex parents. Every summer COLAGE comes to Family Pride annual Family Week in Provincetown on Cape Cod.[1] There, hundreds of gay families attend COLAGE meetings and workshops.[1]

COLAGE is currently a virtual organization and has a small paid staff. Its executive director is Annie Van Avery who has a gay father and a lesbian mother. The national program coordinator is Robin Marquis who was raised by her lesbian mom and bisexual mom with the help of her two gay dads.

History[edit]

COLAGE is the first organization of its kind[citation needed] and was originally called Just for Us.[2] Just for Us began as a newsletter of the main six members of COLAGE. Later, six other chapters around the United States adopted that name. The ancestry of COLAGE can be tracked to an annual conference that is sponsored each year by Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International (GLPCI). In 1992, the group met for three days, outside of its annual meeting, to compose a mission statement and long-term goals.[3] Amity Buxton represented the Straight Spouse Network (SSN), which has close relations with the Family Pride Coalition (FPC), at the conference and gave presentations for the GLPCI/FPC concerning her heading of the Task Force for children through the PFLAG. Her presentation proved successful in contributing to the origins of COLAGE.[4]

In 1995, COLAGE opened a volunteer-run national office in San Francisco. This office operated for the primary purpose of providing "support, research, media, and advocacy" for over 500 families on a mailing list of children with GLBT parents. Beginning in 1996, COLAGE included children of transgender parents and designed specific resources not available anywhere else.[5]

In 1997, the organization had their first director on payroll with a minuscule budget. The director, along with a determined team of youth-led volunteer committees, was able to commence a nationwide campaign that would allow them to hire another staff member in 1999.[5]

Advocacy[edit]

In the United States, there are 6 million children who have at least one lesbian or gay parent and within these values anywhere from one to nine million children are currently being raised in same-sex parent households.[6] Children within these households face minority problems and the ability to cope with their situation can often be overwhelming.[6] COLAGE serves these types of children in several ways with peer support and community-building.[6]

The process for children to become comfortable with their lifestyle is often disrupted by different outside influences such as the "negative portrayals, misinformation, and the constant public debate about LGBT rights."[5] Another purpose of COLAGE is advocating for the lack of legal recognition of same-sex relationships[6] to address the burden of lack of benefits or protections for LGBT families with children.[5] COLAGE also opposes negative media concerning the psychological disorders that surround the children of LGBT parents.[6]

Youth Leadership and Public Education[edit]

This program of COLAGE aims to "connect constituents with media and public speaking opportunities empowering them to produce authentic representations of their experiences."[5] YLAP (Youth Leadership and Action Program) was a COLAGE program designed to support public education and advocacy efforts for the children with LGBT parents by creating high quality arts activism materials. In 2005, the YLAP members completed In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with GLBT Parents, a documentary that profiles several adolescents with their stories, unique experiences, and their opinions about same-sex marriages.[7][8][9] This film is used as an educational tool to reach out to youth across America in hopes to education the general public and eventually influence school policies and legislation at the state/federal level.[10] In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents won the Audience Award for Best Short at the Frameline Film Festival and is now distributed to classrooms and communities nationwide.[11]

Advocacy and Youth Organizing[edit]

This program of COLAGE aims directly "provide tools, training, and information to engage effectively in public policy development."[5] COLAGErs have been brought up by helping youth from an early age develop "self-awareness to social awareness to civic and political advocacy."[5] Specifically for this program area, a staff-led organization researches and advocates for COLAGE. In 2004, this organization "created and distributed a state-by-state guide of issues directly affecting GLBT people and families." [5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dan Gilgoff, "The Rise of the Gay Family: More and more American children are growing up with same-sex parents", US News & World Report, 5/16/04.
  2. ^ "Guide to COLAGE (Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere)", Online Archive of California, http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt209nd8js/
  3. ^ The COLAGE Creation Myth. COLAGE. http://www.colage.org/about/myth.htm
  4. ^ Gottlieb, Andrew R. "Introduction." Interventions with Families of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People: From the Inside Out. Ed. Jerry J. Bigner. Binghamton: The Haworth Press, Inc, 2006. pg 3.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Kuvalanka, Katherine A., Beth Teper, and Orson A. Morrison. "COLAGE: Providing Community, Education, Leadership, and Advocacy by and for Children of GLBT Parents." Interventions with Families of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People: From the Inside Out. Eds. Jerry J. Bigner and Andrew R. Gottlieb. Binghamton: The Haworth Press, Inc, 2006. pg 76.
  6. ^ a b c d e Steven Mitchel, "The Progressive Project and COLAGE Amicus Brief for Perry v Schwarzenegger", Case 3:09cv-02292, United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
  7. ^ "Two short films exploring the impact of marriage and adoption rights in diverse LGBT families.", 2007 Frameline Film Festival.
  8. ^ "National Association for Multicultural Education: Advocates for Educational Equity and Social Justice", NAME Film Festival–2010,
  9. ^ Tracy Nectoux, "In the Family: Marriage Equality and LGBT Families", 9 July 2010, GLBT Reviews: Book and media reviews from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association.
  10. ^ Pedro Julio Serrano, Meredith Fenton, Dustin Kight, "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family-inclusive faith curriculum launched, fills gap Leading organizations partner to make faith communities more welcoming of LGBT people", MAY 11, 2009 press release overviewing "a curriculum designed to help faith communities support and embrace lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families."
  11. ^ Sam McManis, "Themes of acceptance Films in gay and lesbian festival look at families' lives", Sacramento Bee - Oct 2, 2005.

External links[edit]