Post submitted by Ashley Jeffrey, HRC Foundation Coordinator 

HRC’s blog series often highlights the stories of LGBTQ families all around the country. In this post, we share the story of Deasia and Nikki Dismuke-Johnson. In 2015, Deasia and Nikki became the first same-sex couple to wed in Guam. After officially tying the knot and moving to California, they decided to expand their family through foster care with Koinonia Family Services in San Diego. 

The couple spoke with HRC to reflect on their experience with Koinonia Family Services and their decision to foster a transgender youth, saying:

“Koinonia was a welcoming agency that is open for all families, no matter your dynamics. We are a dynamic family and we had no issues with getting accepted… Our family loves love, and simply wants to share that love all over. You never know what you are capable of until you try!”

Deasia and Nikki also offered advice to other families who are considering fostering a transgender youth saying:

“We would say to keep an open mind and always know that no matter a child’s uniqueness, they all need a nurturing, caring, loving home.”

For foster care agencies looking for affirming placements for transgender youth, the couple had this to say:

“We would advise them to provide training and advertisement on their site and during their intake process. Many people are afraid of the unknown, so provide them with tools to learn.” 

HRC’s All Children – All Families works with agencies like Koinonia Family Services around the country to help improve their capacity to work with LGBTQ parents like Deasia and Nikki and LGBTQ youth in foster care. Visit here to find foster care agencies that have worked to improve their LGBTQ cultural competency.

Earlier this month, HRC launched the Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation’s leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people. Learn more here.

To learn more about how you can better support transgender youth, click here.  

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