Brianna Sharpe

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What’s making LGBTQ2 people smoke more?

July 30, 2019 |xtra

“Brandon Howse started smoking at 16. Cigarettes were a distraction, a way to cope with stress. ‘Smoking was an escape” from uncomfortable social situations, they recall. “I didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know why.'”…

‘We Need This’: Calgarians Work Through Eco-Grief Together

August 2019 |The Sprawl

“Last summer, like so many others around the world, Calgarian Laura Keeth-Rowledge became preoccupied by coverage of a mother whale pushing her dead baby through the ocean for 17 days….”

Back-To-School Shopping For Gender-Neutral Clothes Is Challenging For Parents

July 29, 2019 | HuffPost

“Like so many other parents in back-to-school shopping mode, Beatrice Amin just wants to find her kids clothing that’s comfortable, and that helps them express who they are. For her son, she hasn’t found this challenging…”

How soaring temperatures are affecting Ontario’s homeless

July 25, 2019 |

“Health is a political decision,” says Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and a long-time health leader and social advocate. Grinspun knows better than most that heat amplifies…

How to raise kids who will never have to ‘come out’ to you

July 15, 2019 | Today’s parent

When I was 12 years old, I decided that I was an alien—that was the most rational explanation for why I’d always had crushes on boys and girls. It took six years of listening to Ani DiFranco albums and meeting other “aliens” …

What ER visits for self-harm reveal about Ontario’s mental-health system

June 26, 2019 |

When Gloria Nelson found her stepdaughter’s half-written suicide note, in 2014, she knew it was time to seek professional support.
Alexis Nelson was in Grade 8 and had moved from her mother’s home in the Niagara region to live with her father and stepmother in Toronto…”

I’d Like to Melt Down When My Kids Do:
Here’s how I keep it together.

June 21 2019 | New York Times

The panic alert bracelet was only for true crises, and I had to use it just once. Emergency services were at the group home within minutes, but it took my heart rate hours to return to normal. The cause of the morning’s disruption was a tiny 9-year-old, 

Why the Tories’ cut to this stop-smoking program could harm LGBTQ youth

June 6, 2019 |

Within three days of learning that their program’s government funding had been unexpectedly cut, staff at Leave the Pack Behind were packing up their office, at Brock University. “Today [May 31] is World No Tobacco Day…

I used to lead a conversion therapy organization, now I’m fighting against it

June 20, 2019 | Broadview

“It became clear that survivors’ efforts to change their sexual attractions were causing numbness and disconnection from all desire, joy and hope. This permeated every part of their life…”

Are Pride Parades Kid-Friendly? Parents Say Children Can Handle The Kink

June 13, 2019 | huffpost

“Each year, in the blazing sun of the Pride parade in Nelson, B.C., Pega Ren and her two young grandkids seek shade under their spinning rainbow parasols. 
Ren, a semi-retired sex therapist, told HuffPost Canada the parasols …

When Baby-Wearing Becomes Toddler-Wearing

May 13, 2019 | Romper

Like so many parents, Gaila Rearick of Nevada, Iowa, knows how helpful a baby wrap can be in the middle of a meltdown. However, at 4 years old, her son is a bit bigger than the typical image of baby-wearing…

LGBTQ Fertility Challenges Can Be ‘Invisible’ And ‘Disarming’

April 24, 2019 | HuffPost

Many people who have trouble conceiving a baby have a story they can tell through numbers. For Dahlia Riback, it was: Six years, 10 rounds of intrauterine insemination, three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF)…

5 Modern Versions of Tired Parenting Cliches

April 20, 2019 | Medium — Featured Story

Most parents have a list of phrases they heard and hated in childhood — and then vowed never to use on their own kids. Things that annoyed them, or frustrated them, or just felt like an arbitrary imposition of rules…

How Canadian Midwives Are Making Birth Better For LGBTQ+ Parents

MARCH 27TH, 2019 | HuffPost

When Melanie Wild and her wife arrived at Red Community Midwives in Calgary for their first appointment, she thought, “This is right who I am, it’s where I fit in: these people are going to take really good care of me.”

How to help your kids feel close to faraway grandparents


“Just one more, Nana, pleeeeeeease?” Even the poor image quality can’t hide my mother’s smile as my kids beg her to read another story over FaceTime. My mom is in Ontario and my kids and I are in Alberta. And while I love … 

Night Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Mattress Bite


I sing Mini Ewe her favourite lullaby, “Lavender Blue,” by the night-light’s warm glow. Her eyes get heavy, her breathing becomes rhythmic, and her head rests heavy on my shoulder. She’s finally asleep, and I ready myself to lay her in the crib. This should be a peaceful time — but all I can think about …

GNC, CIS: A Brief List Of Gender And Sexual Diversity Terms For Parents

February 25th, 2019 | HuffPost Canada

Regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, parents use the same acronyms online — everyone wants their LO to STTN!
But let’s say you read, “FTM here — ISO resources to help my preschooler,” and assume that this person is a “first time mom.” Not so fast…

Why Some Parents Pick Alternative Parenting Titles Beyond ‘Mom’ And ‘Dad’

January 25th, 2019 | HuffPost Canada

Most parents know the enjoyable but challenging process of naming a child — fewer have experience figuring out what they themselves will be called as a parent, however. Ellie Pickett of Calgary followed her toddler’s lead when it came to finding a parenting name that truly fit. Her son calls her “Deedee..

Three things I wish I knew before introducing screen time to my kids

January 28th, 2019 | Grok Nation

“P-p-p-paw-paw-paw patrol!” The refrain played on a loop in my brain as I tried to fall asleep last night—that’s how many times I heard the theme song from the popular kids’ show during my waking hours. My preschooler sang it during breakfast, on a walk, while he played with Lego, and somehow also as he brushed his teeth…

How ‘Feet off the Floor Time’ can help your family find calm

January 8th, 2019 | Grok Nation

““MOM! Feet off the Floor Time is supposed to be after lunch! You can’t just change it to the mooooorning!” In three weeks, my 4-year-old went from resisting this little family ritual to enforcing the rules more seriously than I do.
“Feet off the Floor Time” is a break my family takes each day for screen-free and independent(ish) activities that, well… keep our feet off the floor. …

How LGBTQ Families Make Christmas Their Own

December 25, 2018 | HuffPost

“Katherine North is passionate about creating a very special holiday season for her family. North and her husband Nick McArthur, who she said “also happens to have a history of living as a woman,” married five years ago; both brought children of their own into the partnership. The Calgary-based mother of five, life coach and self-described “happy heathen mystic” told HuffPost Canada …”

I’m married to a man — and queerer than ever

December 13, 2018 | Xtra

“Two hours after I vowed to spend the rest of my life with husband, I kissed my first girlfriend. We were playing that ubiquitous wedding game: a guest stands up, clinks a wine glass and models the kiss they want to see from the newlyweds.In this case, we were each instructed to find someone of the same sex. My husband planted one on his best friend from camp. It just so happened that seated to my left … 

Why I Changed the Words to “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes…”

December 03, 2018 | YMC

“Head, and shoulders, navel and vulva, knees and toes, knees and toes…”
Yep, you read that right: VULVA. My partner and I have chosen to change the words to this popular children’s song for our children, and we include the word “penis” when singing it with our son. Sometimes we sing it the traditional way if we’re at a playdate with new friends, or …

The 3 Quotes That Have Helped me Survive – and Thrive – While Parenting

November 21, 2018 | YMC

I read all the wrong books before my first kid was born four years ago. Next to my bed sat books on baby sleep, poop, and milestones. What I should have been reading was all the fun series I had never got to, like Outlander; in part, this is because I haven’t had that much time to read for pleasure since. It’s also because until I held this living, breathing, helpless, baby in my arms, everything was just so theoretical …

The Black Sheep Parent’s Guide to Greener, More Joyful Holidays

November 14, 2018 | Asparagus magazine

First, a confession: I love, love, LOVE the December holiday season. The thought of walking through twinkly fairy lights, sharing old traditions, making new ones, smiling at strangers on the street, and basking in family time makes me want to do festive cartwheels in the snow. Since becoming a full-time grown-up, however, I’m finding more and more to make me cringe during the holidays: looking at … 

‘Chosen Families’ Give LGBTQ Parents And Kids The Support They May Lack

November 12, 2018 | Huffington Post Canada

Erin Corbett was excommunicated for getting a divorce when she was 29 years old. Corbett and her son left their Jehovah’s Witnesses community, their biological family, and everything they knew in search of a place to call home. They eventually made their way to Calgary, Alta…

Time Outs Are Over – Here’s What To Do Instead

October 29, 2018 | SHE KNOWS

The tank engine hit me hard in the side of the head. My husband and I looked at each other, stunned, and my 2-year-old let out a strange laugh we’d never heard before. What just happened to our son? He’d never intentionally hurt anyone before, and now he’s throwing toy trains at us?…

‘That’s Me’: LGBTQ Kids’ Books That Mean The World To These Families

October 26, 2018 | Huffington Post Canada

For children, books are doorways into new worlds. Their pages can transport readers into adventure, love, mystery, celebration, and so much more. They can also bring parents and children together through shared experiences and belonging — especially if they can see themselves in the story…

Slaying Heteronormativity With Buffy The Vampire Slayer

October 2, 2018 | Xtra

It’s Episode 16, Season 4, of the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Willow says to her close friend Tara, “I just kinda like having something that’s just, you know, mine.” A few charged moments later, Tara responds, “I am you, know . . . yours.” I was 17 when Buffy first aired, roughly the same age of the characters themselves, and I took to this weird show immediately…

Coming Out To Your Kids Can Be Intimidating, But It Doesn’t Have To Be

September 24, 2018 | Huffington Post Canada

It’s the only house on the street with a custom-designed flag — the words “This Must Be The Place” are etched in black and its rainbow colours catch the sun. The homeowners are Kate Peterson Koch and her partner. The Calgary couple have a 3.5-year-old daughter and an added incentive to create an accepting, inclusive home…

How Yoga Can Help Families Bond

January 24, 2019 |

The dragon sat curled up in my lap. Although you might have expected to hear a roar emerge, instead, a small voice sang, “Namaste to everyone, let the light shine through.” The ‘dragon’ (a.k.a. my 3 year old son) was sitting in the middle of a sea of Cheerios he had just dumped out mid-meltdown…

Raising Kids Who Are Ready For Climate Change

October 9, 2018 | Asparagus Magazine

Little Grey has just learned the number 50, so lately everything takes place in that many minutes, days, or years. “Mama,” says my preschooler, looking up from his Lego space shuttle, “I love our home. I want to still live here in 50 years.” I smile and say, “Well, that would be lovely.” I hope he doesn’t hear my voice falter, or notice that my smile never quite reaches my eyes…

Thinking Outside The Planet Box

September 6, 2018 | Asparagus Magazine

Last week I took my kids to Calgary’s science centre. This was a survival parenting move, both because it’s easy entertainment for them, and because the weather was apocalyptic. The air was thick with smoke from the BC forest fires, rain was coming down in curtains, and the sun seemed to have only half-risen. The air quality index had been 10+ for days (it doesn’t get higher than 10+), and my kids were going batty after being cooped up so long… 

Why Playgroups Aren’t Always That Much Fun For LGBTQ Parents

September 6, 2018 | Huffington Post Canada

By 10:30 a.m., the drop-in playgroup in downtown Toronto was packed. A young mother entered with a new baby in her arms and a toddler at her side. She breathed a deep sigh of relief as that toddler ran toward the kids his age, and another mom handed her a cup of tea. Playgroups like this offer a sense of safety, inclusion and mutual support. It’s exactly what most parents need. And it’s exactly what Vanessa Wright didn’t get… 

More Pinecones, Less Paw Patrol

August 10, 2018 | Asparagus Magazine

As parents, we often feel vicarious joy when our kids do something we’re proud of. Common points of pride for preschoolers include drawing stick figures, tracing letters, and counting to 20. My husband and I are pretty stoked on 3-and-a-half year-old Little Grey Lamb’s fledgling BMX career. What truly makes us happy, though, is how comfortable he is in nature. Yesterday we were at a wetland by our house…

Black Sheep Parenting for a Greener Future

July 13, 2018 | Asparagus Magazine

I’d really rather not write this column. I just put my 16-month-old daughter down for a nap, and ninja-stealthed out of her room to click away at this keyboard. But I’d rather be back there cuddling. I’d also rather hide my head in the sand, and go about my days as if nothing was wrong. But…