It’s Pride Month, a time to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ community and raise awareness of issues surrounding the rights and lives of this growing demographic. For xHood founder Mia Cooley, however, this is the work she does year-round. 

She created her organization to provide community-powered fertility and family-building support for the Black LGBTQ+ parent and prospective parent. As a queer person navigating parenthood, she found it extremely challenging to build a village because the spaces available did not protect or affirm queer identities. 

“I was finding myself educating and defending our valid family dynamics, our transgender and gender non-conforming identities, our rights to reproduce and raise happy children to everyone from healthcare providers to online mommy groups,” shares Cooley. “Creating xHood meant creating an inclusive space free from that emotional labor.”

Having begun as a Facebook group in May 2019, the online community has since expanded into a suite of family-building and nurturing solutions. Through virtual and in-person opportunities, members make the deep connections that they will need along their journeys to and through parenthood. 

Panel session during 2023 Black Pride Parent Summit. Image: DJ Adams Photography.

From May 26-28, 2023, Cooley's brand hosted its 2nd Black Parent Pride Summit in Washington, DC. The organization’s largest, in-person, annual convening takes place in a different city each year, in or around Pride Month. This year, more than 200 parents, soon-to-be parents and other individuals who play active parenting roles in a child’s life, came together to connect with one another, as well as with fertility, parent and child product, and service providers.

“The weekend is full of panels, workshops, small groups, a resource fair, and a culminating celebration,” explains Cooley. “Onsite, we’ve held conversations with doulas, meetings with adoption advocates, fertility consultations, and even given away fertility grants and free donor sperm! This year’s theme was "Choose Your Own Adventure." This theme honored all of the many ways we arrive at parenting, and all the decisions we will make along this journey.”

Main stage conversations covered the topics of adoption, assisted reproduction, co-parenting, raising donor-conceived children and parenting from diverse backgrounds. Identity-based small groups offering intimate opportunities to connect included transgender and gender non-confirming/non-binary parents, single and solo by choice parents, parents of neurodivergent children, masculine of center moms, and trying to conceive. 

Through events like the Black Parent Pride Summit, and the work the organization is doing on a daily basis, xHood continues to foster discussions and work toward solutions to ensure the Black LGBTQ+ community is not left out of parenting conversations.

“When people think of well-supported, happy, successful parents and families, they are not thinking of Black LGBTQIA+ families,” says Cooley. “We aren’t considered in family-leave policies, fertility and medical insurance coverage, in state parentage laws. In fact, there are over 500 pieces of legislation fighting against our right to exist, and we are left scrambling trying to find the best ways to secure our families. We do not simply get to focus on raising happy and healthy children, and we deserve that.”

The xHood founder believes one way people can work towards more inclusion is by actively fighting state-level legislation that works against the Black and queer communities. She also recommends that individuals advocate for inclusive language and programming at their jobs, schools and community events, and teach their children all the ways people and families show up.