Eeka McLeod documents the journey of the family and herself as a parent on social media and has more than 2.5 million followers.
Affirming parenting is very important to kids and even more so to LGBTQ+ kids. Eeka McLeod is setting the standard for parenting as she helps her kids celebrate and live their truths. They describe themselves as a “family of misfits.” The family includes mom Eeka McLeod and her three children Evan, Eli and Ella. She adopted all three of them. Eli has cerebral palsy, and Evan and Ella are on the autism spectrum. The McLeod family has their own Instagram and YouTube channels where Eeka McLeod documents their lives. McLeod identifies as queer, asexual and bi-romantic. She said it has been "very uplifting" to see the positive response to the family on social media. McLeod's family also got to appear along with JoJo Siwa in their video. McLeod believes the family's social media presence is a way of documenting their own journey as a family and hers as a parent, reported Pink News.
While many people are lauding McLeod for her inclusive parenting skills, she is still improvising with a focus on the kids. “I think people have this idea that somehow that I know what I’m doing or that I’ve got this all together,” said McLeod. “I’m like, ‘No, Evan’s taking the lead on it.’” McLeod said she has learned to “just roll with it” because “something new emerges” every day. Mcleod family has 109,000 followers on Instagram and 2.5 million followers on TikTok. When asked where the family's journey was heading, she joked that it would lead to “making a lot more money.” The family has a lot of LGBTQ+ celebs as fans as well.
In one video, she posted a video of Evans wearing a pink, tulle-filled dress with sequins after some people told her that her son "liking dresses is just a phase.” McLeod captioned the video: "So many ppl in their feelings over a happy child wearing fabric 🙄" In another video, McLeod discusses with Ella how important it is to respect others' gender identity. McLeod noted that Evan was upset that Ella misgendered him. Ella admits she was wrong to misgender Evan, who identifies as a “girlboy”—a term Evan uses to refer to nonbinary. The video ends with Ella getting high fives from her mom for affirming Evan's gender. The on-screen text reads, “Watch how quickly she comprehends and chooses to respect Evan’s identity.” She captioned the video: “If only everyone could be this excited about accepting others for who they are. Way to go, Ella! So proud of the person you’re becoming 🥲."
“People want me to somehow know all and see all, and I just want my child to be happy and thriving and healthy,” said McLeod. “It’s cool to watch, and it’s just a privilege to be a part of his journey.” McLeod said she's hoping to validate and normalize families such as hers through their social media presence. She said her three children are well-loved, as is evident from the videos and pictures online. She said that they were “living their best lives.” She hopes it gives courage to other families to express themselves and live their best lives as well, acknowledging that they “previously felt they needed to stay hidden” or faced “severe criticism and judgment.”
“There’s such a lack of education and knowledge of families like ours — children like mine — and the dynamic that occurs there,” said McLeod. She said that many who have only known the family through TikTok videos assume she never says no to her children and just lets the kids do whatever they want. “It’s funny because people that have met me think I’m the mean mom because I have to be very, very, very firm,” said McLeod, explaining that the assumption is mostly made by people who raise children who are neurotypical—non-autistic people. “They don’t understand the way you speak, the way you use your body language — everything that goes into connecting with children like mine is completely different,” she said. McLeod said it hasn't been easy raising three kids with different needs as a single parent. She believes in focusing on the positives and looks for small joyful moments each day and that's how most of her posts come about. “My mantra with social media has been to post what brings me joy,” she said. "I truly believe we were always meant to be family. Our 4 souls found their way to one another and whether it be in this life or the next I know we will always find our way back to each other 💗 People told me it couldn’t be done, but I did it. Never let the opinions of others limit your life!" she wrote in an emotional Instagram post.