By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
In honor of D.C. Black Pride, xHood, a community organization for Black queer families, will host the Black Parent Pride Summit at the Eaton Hotel from May 26 to May 28.
The three-day event assembles Black parents from the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate, connect and obtain critical family-building resources from trusted professionals.
“Black queer people face a disproportionate amount of obstacles when they’re building and raising their families. They can encounter discriminatory providers when they’re looking for fertility, primary or family care,” said Mia Cooley, founder of xHood.
“People sort of take for granted that they can be a mom or a dad without anyone questioning them or worrying about losing access or rights to their children,” said Cooley. “Our families have to take extra steps to secure ourselves because of the policies that are popping up across the states.”
xHood was founded in 2019 as a Facebook group for Black queer parents who were trying to expand their families. Cooley created the online community because she struggled to find a mothers’ group that reflected her family’s dynamics.
“I felt like I was getting a lot of pushback when I would refer to my wife. I wasn’t getting what I needed,” said Cooley. “I was spending a lot more of my time going to bat for the queer family dynamic, and I wanted to be able to have a space where I could vent my frustrations and ask questions without having to be on the defensive about what reaction I’m going to get.”
Initially, xHood was also open to heterosexual Black parents with queer children, but Cooley discovered that this evoked memories of past trauma for members who were Black queer parents.
“We ended up no longer targeting those folks because members inside of our community were being reminded of how tough it can be to be a Black queer kid,” said Cooley.
xHood’s Facebook group started with just five people, but, today, it has over 4,000 members from across the U.S. , U.K. and Canada.
The organization provides a directory of racially-competent and gender-affirming fertility, family care and reproductive care providers. It also hosts monthly virtual meet-ups.
During the Black Parent Pride Summit, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about adoption, assisted reproduction, foster care, single parenting and coparenting.
There will also be identity-based small group sessions for masculine moms, solo parents, transgender and nonbinary parents and parents of neurodivergent children.
The summit will culminate in a farewell brunch and discussion led by Cooley and Family Equality CEO, Stacey Stevenson, to discuss the state of Black queer families.
“We are simply trying to raise happy and healthy kids just like any other family. Not being able to do that takes away people’s capability to be raised in loving, inclusive homes and communities,” said Cooley.
“When people think about successful parenthood, we need for them to be picturing Black queer families as well.”
Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.