LGBTQ+ Families: How They are Formed and the Laws and Policies that Impact Them

When:  Feb 14, 2023 from 12:00 to 13:00 (ET)
The February 2023 Pride Planners Knowledge Circle will be held on Tuesday, February 14th at 12 pm ET.

Shelbi Day, Chief Policy Officer, and Rebecca Willman, Chief Community Engagement + Programs Officer, from Family Equality talk about many of the ways LGBTQ+ people form their families, the laws and policies that impact their ability to do so, and resources available to support LGBTQ+ families. Family Equality, a national nonprofit formed in 1979, is the leading national organization for LGBTQ+ families who are actively parenting or seeking to create or expand their families. They work to ensure that everyone has the freedom to find, form, and sustain their families by advancing LGBTQ+ equality through advocacy, support, storytelling, and education. Learn more at

Shelbi Day joined Family Equality in October 2016 as Senior Policy Counsel and now works as the Chief Policy Officer in our Policy Department. In this position, Day leads Family Equality’s policy work throughout the United States and manages the organization’s amicus curiae (“voices”) briefs that highlight the real-life harm and impact on LGBTQ parents and their children through the use of their voices and stories. She also assists in public education efforts by leveraging the stories of LGBTQ families and by facilitating workshops and creating written resources. Most of Day’s career has been in civil rights litigation focusing on LGBTQ issues, though she worked briefly in private practice at the boutique law firm of Bouneff, Chally & Koh in Portland, Oregon, practicing in the areas of adoption, surrogacy, and assisted reproductive technology. Day was a staff attorney in the Western Regional Office of Lambda Legal, where she was a member of the legal team in Sevcik v. Sandoval, a successful challenge of Nevada’s law prohibiting gay people from marrying, and the ACLU of Florida where she was on the legal team for the case that ultimately rendered unconstitutional Florida’s ban on gay people adopting. Day has also worked as a staff attorney at National Center for Lesbian Rights and Southern Legal Counsel, Inc. Day graduated with high honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. She served as a law clerk for the Hon. Charles R. Wilson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rebecca Willman (she/her) has spent most of her adult life ensuring bodily and emotional autonomy for individuals and families. Prior to Family Equality, she worked at Abortion Care Network supporting the sustainability of community-based abortion clinics and creating a strong and thriving national network of local abortion providers and allies. Before that, she spent many years working in clinics providing direct care to abortion seekers. 

Rebecca is also trained as a doula and direct-entry midwife and spent several years supporting people through pregnancy, labor, and early postpartum. A former academic, she has published, taught, and researched in the fields of reproductive health and freedom, gender, and sexuality. She spent 15 years as a yoga and meditation teacher as well. 

Grounded in empathy, intersectionality, generosity, and a bias toward action, Rebecca’s goal at Family Equality is to create transparent, focused, and equitable programming that moves us closer to racial justice and freedom for LGBTQ families. She believes that equity and justice are realizable. In the words of Arundhati Roy, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Rebecca is raising her adorably magical twins in the mountains of Western North Carolina with the love of her life, Al. She’s a part of a large and loving queer community that helped her become a parent – it’s a story too long to share here, but you should ask her about it sometime!