Together we sparkle
Together we sparkle
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.
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.
Co-Chair of Rainbow Families
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.
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 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.
Ali is a mum of five who lives in Newtown. Coming out at the age of 40 she has a lot of empathy with people facing challenges about their sexuality, especially as parents of teenagers! Before children she worked in the legal profession. Since 2009 Ali has taught sewing to children and has designed and constructed costumes for plays at the Sydney Opera House. Ali started volunteering with Rainbow Families in 2017 working on the Mardi Gras float and costumes. She has been involved with the running of the Balmain Art and Craft Show for 13 years, is a member of Mums 4 Refugees, and enjoys fundraising and community events.
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.
Dror is a proud single dad to a beautiful boy. He works full time as an Operational Risk Manager at the fabulous and equality strong supporter Westpac. Dror became involved with Gaydads when his son was born and has been coordinating social catch ups for the group for the past 2.5 years. He also volunteered to assist with events and fundraising activities for Rainbow Families. More recently he joins the admin team of Gaydads AU Facebook group in an attempt to enhance Gaydads interaction nationwide. Dror joined Rainbow Families as a committee member and is looking forward to strengthening the sense of community and belonging within Rainbow Families.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Secretary of Rainbow Families
Charmaine is married to Anna and mum to three year old Annabelle, who takes after her in only ever wearing pink and having a secret sporty streak. The family has been a part of the Rainbow Families playgroup for over a year and Charmaine is now the volunteer coordinator. Each Thursday she puts out paints, toys and offers a warm welcome to regular and new parents and children.
Juliette is a mother of two awesome little people who she, and her partner Shelby were determined to raise away from the city. That led Juliette trading in her hectic inner city life as a commercial property lawyer for a slower paced Blue Mountains existence. Now in addition to managing and expanding the family's podiatry clinics, her days involve raising muddy, tree climbing kids, pleading with her partner to stop rescuing chickens and other animals, growing organic veges and learning how to perfect the art of fermenting kombucha. Juliette is involved in a number of social causes guided always by her strong sense of social justice. Having forged strong connections with Blue Mountains Rainbow Families and organisations in recent years, she is excited at the prospect of helping grow the bonds between our rainbow mountains and urban communities.
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.
2016 Finalist, Community Organisation Category, ACON Honour Awards
2017 Fair Day Commendation Award, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
2017 Winner, Community Organisation Category, ACON Honour Awards