Fourteenth-annual conference for LGBTQ+ families returns in person

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

For the first time since 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride’s Family Matters Conference will be held entirely in person on Oct. 14. This year’s event will be held at the School of the Future from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“Philadelphia Family Pride (PFP) is a nonprofit that strives to build community for LGBTQ+ parents, prospective parents, grandparents and our kids of all ages,” Sandra Telep, PFP conference assistant told PGN.

The Family Matters conference was created in 2010 as a way to provide educational programming to the members of PFP and others in Philadelphia on things like adoption and relationship recognition.

The previous three conferences were held online or in a hybrid format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to join together in person as a community again, while we also want to protect the most at-risk amongst us, so we are doing our best to be cognizant of continued risks and doing our best to keep each other safe,” Telep said.

Telep explained that the organization is requiring adults to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking, and is recommending masking for children, but it is optional.

There will also be free COVID tests and masks available provided by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Telep added that some of their smaller programs, lunch, and the choir program will be moved outside if the weather permits. 

“In the current climate of attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, we are focusing our efforts at this event on learning how adults and kids can advocate for our families. The theme for this year’s conference is “Reclaiming Family Values,” PFP Executive Director Stephanie Haynes said in a press release about the event. 

“The term “Family Values” was co-opted by the far right a long time ago, implying that LGBTQ+ issues [weren’t] included in the values of families,” Telep said. 

“We want to take the opportunity to step into our power as a coalition of families that have strong values that not only include us, but other communities that have been left out of the narrative of what “American families” believe and want,” she continued. 

The keynote address will be given by State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who made history in 2018 as the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The conference will offer sessions, which include Trans in Athletics: Inclusion & What Does It Mean to Be ‘Fair?’, Our Intersectional Lives: LGBTQ+ People with Disabilities, and Family Manifestos: Building Antiracist Families. 

For children ages 7-13, there will be sessions on activism and consent provided by volunteers from Independence Bigs.

Childcare will be provided by childcare specialists from a local daycare center for children six and under.

There will also be a legal clinic that will provide conference goers with a free consultation about how to get legal protections for their families. 

“We hope people will walk away from this conference with a deeper understanding of how and why intersectional issues shape inequality and how our fight for liberation is connected across identities,” Telep said. 

She added that she hopes that the conference will help families get an understanding of what their values are and give them ways to stand up for those values. 

The conference is “pay what you can” with a pay range of $0-$100 and the fee will include two meals, childcare, programming, the legal clinic, and a chair massage. One adult from a household is able to register the entire family.

Philadelphia Family Pride’s Family Matters Conference will be held 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 14 at the School of the Future, 4021 Parkside Ave. Visit to register.

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