"Parenting is not easy, even if you are a superhero," proclaims the opening video at KidsInTheHouse.com. Parenting arguably is even less easy for LGBT parents, who must provide all the same love and support for their families that straight parents do, without many of the critical legal protections and benefits a state-recognized partnership affords.
That's why Kids In The House, which bills itself as "the ultimate parenting resource," recently launched a channel specifically for LGBT parents and parents who have LGBT children. Featuring two-minute-long, accessible videos from gay and straight parents, psychological experts, celebrities, and other professionals in the childcare and family health industries, Kids In The House's "Must-See LGBTQ Playlist" covers all the bases — from wondering if a child is born gay, to navigating the question of who is the "real" mom in a family headed by a lesbian couple, to explaining the importance of parents supporting a transgender child — Kids In The House aims to be the definitive resource for parents and those who are soon-to-be parents.
Founder Leana Greene (pictured right), a straight mother of three and Swedish native, caught up with The Advocate to talk about the inspiration behind the queer-centric channel on her parent-focused site. After the interview, click through to the following pages to watch some of The Advocate's favorite video selections.
The Advocate: What inspired you to launch this project?
Leana Greene: My children were the inspiration for launching Kids in the House. I wanted to be a great parent, but it's really hard to find the energy to read all the great parenting books while trying to be a parent at the same time. I wanted to help parents find a quick and easy way to access great, credible information in two minutes or less, exactly when you need it.
Why do gay and lesbian parents need specifically targeted messaging and support around raising children?
I interviewed a gay parent who told me that at home they are just like any other family, but when he goes outside, he feels like he has to prove to the world that being a parent is OK. I think same-sex parents have more pressure on them, and we want to offer some support. It can be hard to take the step to become a parent, whatever sexual orientation you are.
How involved are you in the process of locating experts and filming their videos?
I'm not going to tell you I do it all myself; I have a team that helps me find the experts. But I do approve every interview question and conduct every interview myself. It is so exciting when the next great expert says, "Yes!" I can't believe we have 8,000 videos and over 450 experts already!
Can you recount one of your most memorable interviews for this project? What made it so special?
There have been so many memorable moments and I always feel like the last shoot day was my best day. I do feel that Dr. Johanna Olson, the medical director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, touched me deeply when she told me how parents of transgender youth come into her office and want to avoid starting transgender hormone therapy. They want to delay puberty, with the hopes that the child will change their mind, and identify with their birth gender. Dr. Olson told me that none of the children change their mind. They all end up wanting the hormones and to transition to the gender they identify with. Parents have to love their children for who they are.
What has the response to these videos been like from LGBT parents and prospective parents?
So far we've had nothing but great feedback — great love and support from our LGBTQ community. We are proud to feature videos from Kevin Jennings, the former assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education, Wendy Walsh, co-host of The Doctors and CNN’s human behavior expert, along with Scout Masterson and Bill Horn, a same-sex couple who are parents and and stars of Oxygen’s Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.
Have you encountered any pushback from right-wing organizations or individuals who don't believe that LGBT people should — or already do — have families?
Yes, unfortunately, we have. The world needs to understand that you are born with your sexuality and gender identity — there is nothing you can do to change it, and you have to embrace it. The thing we have to remember is that most LGBTQ youth are born to straight parents, who may have no experience dealing with the LGBTQ culture. We hope to be a resource with guidance, support, and the education necessary to support these families. Supporting gay parents and LGBTQ youth is something my team and I feel very strongly about.
Explore the site for yourself here, and watch an example below.
Watch The Advocate's favorite videos on the following pages.