Founded in 1990 under the name “Just For Us,” COLAGE (originally Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) began with a group of six young people with lesbian and gay parents. The experience at their first meeting was revolutionary, and they wanted to share similar experiences with other COLAGErs. In 1996, the organization explicitly added work with children of bisexual and transgender parents to its mission, and queerspawn, a term of self-identification lovingly adopted by some members of our community, became widely used.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, COLAGE leadership became increasingly aware of the needs of a new generation of COLAGErs. These were children of the “gayby boom,” whose parents had chosen to form families after coming out – often through adoption or reproductive technology – creating new forms of families with intention. As so many of these youth were people of color, COLAGE adopted a new strategic plan that specifically included an anti-racist, social justice platform.
Amidst intensifying debates on marriage equality, LGBTQ+ parents – and their children – were increasingly thrust into the public eye, dramatically increasing awareness of LGBTQ+ families. Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, COLAGE expanded programming to meet the needs of these increasingly visible families as COLAGErs supported marriage equality fights state-by-state and in the Supreme Court.
Today, COLAGE stands as the only national organization dedicated to the empowerment of youth in LGBTQ+ families, and celebrates thirty years of this work. We are busy building the foundation for COLAGE’s next thirty years as the hub of community and activism for and by children of queer parents!
Join us as we shape the next generation of COLAGE.
We envision a world in which youth with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ+) parents are connected to a broad community of peers and mentors, are recognized as the authorities of their shared experiences, belong to respected and valued family structures, and have the tools and support to create and maintain a just society.
We envision a world in which all children grow up loved and cared for in families and communities that teach them about, connect them to, and honor their unique heritage; and in which youth and adults with LGBTQ+ parents nurture each other, provide mentorship, support systems, and acceptance for each other, and foster a commitment to social justice and inter-generational responsibility in order to ensure the resilience and prosperity of our community.
We envision the COLAGE community as part of larger movements to create positive change, heal from and ultimately counter discrimination in school systems, social services, mental and physical health systems, the media, legislatures, legal systems, and religious institutions in order to build communities in which all families are valued, protected, reflected, and embraced, and every human being has the freedom to express sexual orientation, gender identity, and self.
- We value social and racial justice and the pursuit of greater social equity.
- We value community building.
- We value the voices of youth 8 – 18 as leaders in our community.
- We value inclusivity, diversity, and cultural humility. We are committed to anti-racism practice, and continually learning and improving our work in this area.
- We value our responsibility as people with LGBTQ+ parents and caregivers to support ourselves, each other, and our broader community.