Laura Rose Thorogood, founder of LGBT Mummies, talks about her passion for driving change while supporting LGBT+ women and people on their journey to parenthood.
Laura-Rose, left, with wife Stacey
Who are the LGBT Mummies?
The LGBT Mummies is a UK based organisation whose sole purpose is to educate, share and celebrate’ LGBT+ women and people worldwide on the path to motherhood or parenthood. We act as a central point of support and a safe haven by providing information, guidance and knowledge on the available routes to starting a family.
We work tirelessly to inspire LGBT+ women and people on their quest to motherhood or parenthood, whilst working to normalise our families in the media and creating a more inclusive future for our children, by providing visibility of our families, creating change and equality for our amazing women and people and their children.
Whether you’re thinking of starting a family or have children already by fertility treatment, surrogacy, adoption, fostering, as a single parent, co-parent or a step-parent, all are welcome. We’re passionate about making change for LGBT+ families (specifically women and people) and are currently in talks with the Government, working directly with the NHS and other UK organisations to bring policy change and support to ensure equality and inclusivity to LGBT+ women and their children.
"We believe it is every human’s right to have a family by their chosen route and in doing so deserve to have equal respect, empathy and support that heterosexual parents do without reproach."
One of the LGBT Mummies "meet" events.
How are you making your message heard?
We’ve worked hard to build relationships within Government, the NHS and other influential organisations at a high level. Our desire is not just to say, “this is wrong” or “we are not getting the support we need”, but say it and say, “how can we help you to address it” and “let’s work together towards better and more positive outcomes”.
There’s no point in being activists that only want to be heard. You need to be willing to listen back and to help educate and shape the policies we recommend need addressing. It’s about creating that safe space to have open yet difficult conversations whereby we can co-create real, positive change for our families and community, whilst helping to educate and empower those who provide that support. But we need people and organizations to be willing to listen to our pains, our journeys and empathise that we need people to be allies, stand up for our community and be counted.
Which government bodies and organisations are you working with and how are you influencing policy change?
I met with the Government Equalities Office last year to talk through recommendations across healthcare and society that need policy improvements. We’re also directly working with the NHS through multiple channels, the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, and organisations like Tommy’s, The Miscarriage Association & The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust.
By providing insights into our own journey, knowledge and experience supporting others, we can provide real life experiences where we feel improvements can be made around education and training. To influence change, you need to give examples of experiences so people can understand why change is necessary. By showing how, if policies are improved and changes are made, what the outcome is and how it can impact not only our people, but support and empower midwives and health professionals, create a positive environment with positive experiences, which in turn results in less cost and strain on the health system.
What’s your most rewarding achievement to date?
Being invited to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister was a big one, but there have been quite a few over the years! Another would be being the face of the Stonewall 30th Anniversary campaign as their LGBT+ family for the ‘Repeal of Section 28’. To see our family on the side of buses and billboards was overwhelming, knowing that in years to come our children could look back and see what an impact that campaign had made us really emotional.
A difficult but rewarding one was being part of The Positive Birth Company’s ‘Birthing The Future’ Campaign. Being stripped back and vulnerable, sharing our TTC journey during the pandemic was a really emotional experience, but one I know would inspire others struggling in our community.
What drives your passion for change?
Being LGBT+ parents ourselves and having our own lived experiences over the past decade, we want to ensure others do not go through the isolation and lack of support we experienced at the start of our journey to motherhood and throughout.
We’re passionate about equal rights for us all as parents, but especially our children, so that we’re all better supported in becoming parents and that healthcare professionals have a good understanding of our routes to family creation, how to support us better and who we are as a community.
We believe it is every human’s right to have a family by their chosen route and in doing so deserve to have equal respect, empathy and support that heterosexual parents do without reproach.
"To influence change, you need to give examples of experiences so people can understand why change is necessary."
What advice would you give to LGBT+ people wanting to start a family?
Really research all different paths to parenthood, so you are fully informed of all your options. You may end up taking an alternative route you didn’t think of. Speak to others with lived experience and find out what worked for them and join forums and groups.
Depending on your route, be aware it may take time and, in some cases, may be expensive, so if that’s the case planning ahead is crucial. There are many barriers to becoming a parent when you’re LGBT+, so you don’t want to add a further layer of stress by having finances be a burden during your journey.
How can people get involved with the LGBT Mummies?
You can find us on our website, or via our social channels on Instagram or Facebook, join our private support groups or attend our yearly UK Meet event to meet other families or people on the path to parenthood.
We regularly engage with our community to get involved with research, studies or campaigns to get their insight on what changes they would like to see. We also share people’s journeys to parenthood whatever their route and as a community it’s wonderful to see friendships form, families grow over the years and people celebrating each others’ milestones like their adoption being finalised, their positive pregnancy test and their baby’s birth. But it’s also about sharing those difficult subjects that are stigmatised or not spoken about, providing our women and people with the safe space and positive support where they feel able to open up and be supported.