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Parenting Issues

Despite arguments to the contrary, there is no evidence that the development of children of lesbian or gay parents is compromised compared to children of heterosexual parents. There is also no evidence for the fears that homosexual parents will have homosexual children or that the children will develop "improper" sex role behaviour or damaging conflicts with their peers[4] [8]. This, however, brings up a couple of questions. If homosexual parents did have homosexual children more often, what would be the harm in that ? What exactly is "improper" sex role behaviour, and who defines it ? Less than a century ago, it was considered "improper" sex role behaviour for a married woman to work outside of the home, but this is the norm today.

Many lesbian, gay and transgender individuals and couples are either raising children from previous heterosexual relationships or are planning to have families. It is thus extremely important to remember to have an office space that is welcoming and inviting to families. The law and culture around adoption by gay and lesbian individuals and couples is changing.  Lesbian and gay couples have been able to adopt together in the Province of Ontario since 1995.[13]

Many lesbian couples will be interested in conception counselling and may require fertility treatment. One of the risk factors for lesbian women contracting HIV is through the use of untested sperm, which has implications for lesbian couples who cannot afford to pay for fertility treatments[1].

A study was conducted to determine how well lesbian and gay parents and their children were being cared for in the health care system . A significant proportion of parents (33%) reported problems specifically related to their sexual orientation. These problems include a lack of understanding or acceptance of same-sex parents, the need to continuously explain their family structure, and the exclusion of the nonbiological parent from emergency care. Those parents who experienced positive care reported that their health care providers maintained eye contact with both parents, referred to both mothers as parents, showed an interest in LGBT parenting by asking for resources, acknowledged potentially stigmatizing situations, and offered to help with special issues as they arose.

 

Follow this link to meet an American family of seven - 2 dads and their 5 sons.

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1. Peterkin A, Risdon C. Caring for Lesbian and Gay People: A Clinical Guide. 2003. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. Toronto, Ontario.

4. Solarz, AL Ed. Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future. Washington DC. National Academy Press; 1999.

8. Rosenfeld, JA, Ed. Handbook of Women's Health. New York, NY. Cambridge University Press; 2001.

13. For more on custody laws and same sex families see the article "Custody Issues for Gay & Lesbian Parents" By Margaret Buist at: http://www.womanabuseprevention.com/html/gay___lesbian.html accessed January 10, 2007

All references for this section