LGBTQI Families and Same-sex parents
Profound social change is taking place in the realm of parenthood. Several factors that are contributing to this change include reduced family sizes, postponed parenthood, voluntary/involuntary childlessness in some developed countries, an increase in unwanted pregnancy avoidance and changing roles and expectations of fathers.
There are now significantly more advanced reproductive techniques available, giving individuals options to those who previously were unable to have a family. In addition, there is now such diversification and recognition of varying family types. No evidence to date supports the idea that the ideal gender mix of parents is a man and a woman.
LGBTQI parents can face a unique set of circumstances when planning for parenthood and becoming a parent. Some research suggests that LGBTQI parents may experience higher levels of PNDA. This can be due to several factors including:
- Discrimination and isolation that is usually associated with their roles, methods of conception or questioning of their abilities as a parent.
- They may also have fewer social supports as their friendship groups may not have many parents/children in them.
- They may face stigma and experience anxiety about their child facing the same discrimination they faced (e.g. bullying/harassment).
- Some may also experience difficulties or lack of acceptance in their families.
- Some may also have a history of mental health issues that may not have been treated.
- Some may face conception issues and pursue IVF, surrogacy, donors, or co-parenting arrangements.
LGBTQI families need support from health practitioners who recognise and respect their choices and decisions. Inclusive practitioners who use the pronouns and parenting terminology chosen by families themselves are important. Inclusive practitioners can be found in many services, including the Gidget Foundation and PANDA.
LGBTQI families understandably sometimes feel more comfortable with services that specifically support their communities. They may also want to work with practitioners who themselves identify as LGBTQI. Rainbow Families groups across Australia provide social and peer support. The national government-funded service QLife can provide state-based resources and referrals at qlife.org.au or via their helpline on 1800 184 527 (3pm – midnight, 7 days).
Pepping & Halford. Relationship education and therapy for same-sex couples. 2014.
Inclusive Practice Matters: Communities of Practice Responding to the Challenges of Covid-19. Jones & Carman. 2020.