New GLBT parenting group forms in Nashville

Two of Nashville's most prominent gay men are embarking on a new adventure and embracing the challenges of parenthood for the first time. But they haven't stopped there---they arecreating an outlet for other parents who might be searching for advice and encouragement.

Organized by real estate agent Brian Copeland and his partner, Covenant of the Cross pastor Greg Bullard, Nashville GLBT Parents was inspired by the couple's adoption of a baby boy in Georgia last fall. Though friends and family were "nothing but amazing" after their newborn arrived home, it was difficult to discover opportunities for fellowship with other gay parents.

"When we got home, we started looking for gay parenting groups in the area and found that there were none," Copeland says. "There a number of straight parenting groups, and you're welcome in those groups, but sometimes you want to talk about things that you are going through (as a gay parent)."

Nashville GLBT Parents is a group designed to focus on questions and concerns that naturally arise as parents navigate the difficult terrain of raising a happy, healthy child. Chiefs topics range anywhere from feeding habits to disciplinary matter, everyday duties that all parents go through.

Visibility for gay parents is a crucial element in the group's dynamic, says Copeland.

"It's important for the Nashville community to see the normalcy of (gay parenting)," he says. "It's important for us to share our stories. We're going through this together. One way to make a difference is to work for equality in the world. "

A site currently allows members to socialize online, but the group's offerings will expand in early 2012. Monthly meetings will begin in late January and will feature different topics of discussion depending on the needs of the group.

A full slate of activities is planned once the organization finds its footing, including game nights, museum visits and dining excursions. Nashville GLBT Parents is not a counseling service or self-help organization, but simply a place for adults to feel comfortable seeking guidance for the decisions they face.

"The host role is on me right now, but that will change as we evolve and the members take more responsibility," Copeland says.

For more information, visit the group's Facebook page and site.

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