LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals. LGBTQ individuals who wish to parent must be open to different ways of becoming a family. Some LGBTQ people parent as a couple while others parent as single individuals. The challenges faced by either of the parenting relate to the status. LGBTQ people who decide to have families redefine their own meaning of parenting and family. Most of such parents raise children who are self-confident despite the challenges of parenting.
The conventional notion of a normal family assumes that there are two parents of different gender that are biologically related to the children. This family type is the baseline of measuring other family models. This status forms the optimum environment for child development and all others are considered unfavorable (Mallon, 2012).
LGBTQ community is diverse in terms of how individuals define their lives and is part of every religious group, ethnic group, and race in the recent century as stated in Mallon (2012). According to Stacey & Biblarz (2001), all mothers, both heterosexual and lesbians, are more likely to be skilled and committed to creating an equitable environment for their children. A research on lesbian parents shows that 17-year old lesbians were rated high in social and academic competence than their age-matched counterparts (Gartrell & Bos, 2010).
The idea of LGBTQ parenting in the community has not been widely accepted since most people believe that children from such families could face problems like; being bullied because of LGBTQ parents, becoming LGBTQ because of having LGBTQ parents, and decaying morals because of contact with LGBTQ individuals. Social workers have, therefore, a role to play in the lives of such parents. The roles range from direct practices with family systems to policy and legislative advocacy. Social workers must accept that it is the quality of care that determines a child's healthy development and not family model. The ability of LGBTQ parents to provide for social and emotional health is equal to other models of family. Best professional practice strategies involve working with gays and lesbians to assess their desires to become parents, offering support to gays and lesbians at different stages of parenting, and helping those who are already parents with their daily challenges. Policy practice is, therefore, the responsibility of every social worker and should be taken with great interest.
Gartrell, N., & Bos, H. (2010). US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: psychological adjustment of 17-year-old adolescents. Pediatrics, 126(1), 28-36.
Mallon, G. P. (2012). Gay men choosing parenthood. Columbia University Press.
Stacey, J., & Biblarz, T. J. (2001). (How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter?. American Sociological Review, 159-183.
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