Together we sparkle



Together we sparkle

The mission of Rainbow Families is to build a community which fosters resiliency by connecting, supporting and empowering LGBTQI families.

What is a Rainbow Family?

A Rainbow Family is a same-sex or LGBTIQ parented family. At Rainbow Families, we define a Rainbow Family as: any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex person who has a child or children; or is planning on having a child or children by way of donor insemination (known or unknown), surrogacy (altruistic or commercial), foster care, foster to adoption, adoption (domestic or international), opposite­ sex relationship, co-parenting or other means.

The Rainbow Families’ story

Rainbow Families has its origins in two separate New South Wales same-sex parenting social groups:

Rainbow Babies and Kids which supported predominantly lesbian mums and

Gay Dads NSW which supported predominantly gay dads in New South Wales.

Prior to 2016 both of these non-incorporated groups were working independently to provide social support to lesbian mothers and gay dads in NSW.  In late 2014, Ms. Nadine Sharpe stepped down from her role as Rainbow Babies and Kids coordinator and passed the mantle of co-ordinator to Ms. Justine Maguire-Scarvelli.

Motivated by a dream of providing sustainability of the organisation and good governance of future community events, Ms. Maguire–Scarvelli floated the idea of a committee structure for the group, to further drive the development of Rainbow Babies and Kids. Maguire–Scarvelli believed the change would enable greater opportunities for Rainbow Babies and Kids to serve the community in the future. Interested people began to show interest in joining the committee and over the coming months, a team grew. This committee was convened by its chair, Justine Maguire-Scarvelli, and Scott Brunelle became co-chair. Scott had been coordinating educational and social events for the Gay Dads in NSW since early 2011. In late 2015, the committee again expanded and added same sex parents with experience in Advocacy, Fundraising, Psychology, Marketing, Media and Social Work.

Rainbow Families is now an incorporated organisation, governed by a constitution which provides a structure for how the group operates.

For the community, by the community

Rainbow Families is a 100% volunteer organisation, providing a network of support to children and families within the NSW LGBTIQ community. Rainbow Families is always seeking new members to join our vibrant community and volunteers to get involved with subcommittees or event support. The Rainbow Families community is an inclusive, welcoming and supportive group and we encourage current LGBTIQ parents or those thinking about parenting to join us as a member or volunteer.

Learn more about volunteering opportunities for Rainbow Families’ community programs, advocacy and upcoming events, by getting in touch with us today






Vanessa Gonzalez
Co-Chair of Rainbow Families

Prior to moving to the inner west, Vanessa was an active organiser of Blue Mountains Rainbow Parents coordinating weekend gatherings, playgroups and cooking circles. Professionally, she is a social worker with over twenty years experience in the field of child protection. She has two delightful sons, loves making craft, cooking and running the Bay run.


Ashley Scott
Co-Chair of Rainbow Families

Ashley has two young daughters who were born through surrogacy. He is also a known donor for a Lesbian couple. He works part time and loves the rest of the week when he gets to be a stay at home Dad. Ashley has been active within the Gay Dads group since his eldest daughter was born, and looks forward to bringing the rainbow families community closer together. 

Rica Seeto
Treasurer of Rainbow Families

Rica has been too sleep deprived from bringing up small children to have had anything to do with Rainbow Families up until this point. Now with the kids at school and the wife at work, she is looking for something to do that isn’t housework. Oh…and she’s an accountant.

Cathy Brown

Cathy is a mum of two, who lives in Marrickville with her partner and cat, Paulie.
Cathy is passionate about equality, and keeps accidentally getting herself involved as an activist for LGBTIQ people and their families. She used to work in politics, and now works in diversity and inclusion. While completing her Masters, Cathy wrote a thesis that explored issues for gay and lesbian seniors as they aged.

In her spare time Cathy is a Commonwealth registered Marriage Celebrant, and is really looking forward to marriage equality, not just to expand her client base.

She loves Aldi, the Royal Family and leaving her kids with their dads so she can go on holiday.

Scott Brunelle
A father of three, Scott is passionate about bringing the LGBTIQ family community together for the benefit of the whole family, children and parents. In addition to being a working professional, spouse and father, Scott has spent the past five years organising social and educational events that bring NSW Gay Dads and their children together.

Leah Newman

Leah heads the graphic design and marketing team for an International firm. She is passionate about spreading the sparkle of our diverse community of rainbow families. Her patient partner and son endure her antics.

Justine Harris

The Coordinator of the Erskineville Rainbow Babies & Kids playgroup that runs on a Thursday. Justine and her partner Cheryl are the proud Mums of Graciela aged three and Rafael aged one. Justine is a clinical psychologist who has worked for over twenty years with young people and families in the not for profit sector.

Cec Busby

Cec is a media and entertainment specialist with over 20 years experience. She is the news editor of Sydney gay street press SX Magazine, the online editor of Gay News Network and a newsreader for OXLive. She is on the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, a mentor for Out for Sydney and a proud member of Queer Screen. She is the parent of two children, Harper and Mackenzie, and lives with her partner in Newtown.

Matt Howard

Matt lives in Marrickville with his husband and two kids. His family was formed through adoption and has recently moved home to Australia from Canada. Mat works in NSW politics and is also a writer. He is looking forward to getting to know other rainbow families and connecting with our wonderful community.

Bern Duffy-Foley

Bern and her partner of eight years Suz, were married in Canada in 2010. They are the proud parents of almost four year old Ruby, and live in Enmore. A customer experience expert having worked across Banking & Finance, Insurance and Telco industries. As a mother of one, Bern has a vested interest in ensuring her daughter grows up in an accepting and loving community. 


Samantha Frain

By day, Sam leads a disability focussed innovation company, by night she wrangles two mighty monsters alongside her partner Jaie, and occasionally dabbles in tap dancing. Sam is passionate about creating a community where all kinds of diversity are accepted, embraced and celebrated.

Jai Reid

Jai is a proud father of one and is easily recognised by his glorious and sometimes glitter filled beard. He is a senior public sector servant and has previously worked in the NGO sector with gender diverse people.

Nicholas Stewart

Nicholas is a partner at out loud and proud® LGBTI law firm Dowson Turco Lawyers (DTL). He was formerly an intellectual property lawyer at Minter Ellison and Corporate Counsel at Singtel Optus. 

At DTL, Nicholas appears for clients in the Local Court of NSW, the Children’s Court of NSW, the District Court of NSW and the Australian Crime Commission. He also takes carriage of human rights cases including being the lawyer for Alan Rosendale, a gay bashing victim of the 1980s who believes he was targeted by an organised group of law enforcement officers who engaged in systematic gay hate crimes during that time.
In the wider community Nicholas is the LGBTI Co-Chair and National Committee member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Vice President of the New Theatre Newtown, on the LGBTI sub-committee of Unharm Australia, and a pro bono lawyer at the NSW Inner City Legal Centre.

Claire Blewett

Claire is an Occupational Therapist and lives with her partner, also an OT, and teenage son on the Far South Coast of NSW about 7 hours from Sydney.  Her family are keen to support the work of Rainbow Families, they found the energy of the group really empowered their son to feel more confident about his family during the debate around the plebiscite.  Claire hopes that by providing a link to a rural community, this can work both ways to help local families’ access campaigns, programmes, events and projects and in turn add their support to the work of Rainbow Families NSW.