‘I knew I was gay from a young age but for me one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with was the idea that children might never figure in my life,’ said Alex, 44 from North London.
‘Society has changed a lot over the last couple of decades but I still had no idea that I was eligible to foster a child until I got chatting to a mate down the pub – turned out I’d been totally wrong for years.’
At GLF we receive lots of enquiries from people like Alex who get in touch to ask if they might be considered for fostering. The answer is a resounding yes.
Since 2005 when the Adoption and Children Act came into effect it has been legal to foster children regardless of your sexuality. The Equality Act 2010 also ensures no fostering agency can discriminate against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual (LGBT) – just in case you needed extra reassurance.
Every child that we help through fostering is different – so we look for a wide variety of foster parents with different life experiences to help us find a home that is right for the child. And we’re not the only ones who think having a different story to tell can make you a better fit with some children – a 2011 survey found that over three quarters of social workers thought an LGBT person’s openness to difference was of significant benefit to fostering.
So you can be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – it doesn’t matter to us. What we are looking for in a foster parent is someone who can provide a safe and sensitive home for a child that needs one.
We also provide extra training and support to help you manage conversations with your foster child, and other people in the child’s life such as teachers, parents and school friends, should be worrying about how to respond to questions that might arise about your sexuality.
Alex adds: ‘I’ve been fostering now for over two years and being involved in a child’s life is as fulfilling as I always imagined it would be. For other gay people out there considering fostering I’d say pick up the phone and find out if it’s for you.’