The largest study to date of children raised by same-sex couples finds overall they are healthier and fare at least as well if not better than their peers, raised by opposite-sex couples.
“Children of same-sex parents are doing as well or better than the rest of the population on a number of key health indicators,” The Age reports:
By Xiomara A. Sosa, Clinical Mental Health – Forensic Counselor (Intern)
Founder and Principal, XAS Consulting, LLC
Executive Creator, National Hispanic Mental Health Professionals Network (HMHP)
Impact on Couples and Families
Diversity has a significant impact on the effectiveness of counseling with couples and families and on the quality of services that counselors offer them. The impact that diversity has on couples and families becomes evident in how counselors are able to appropriately perceive those relationships within their specific context. Seeing those relationships within the contexts of their specific diversity allows counselors to recognize the strong influence that it has on them as individuals as well as on their relationships with one another. Couples and families live within societies where their gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, among other diverse factors, influence their world view. Ignoring this would amount to ineffective interventions and unethical counseling practices (Thomlison, 2010).
Impact on Counselors
Diversity also has a direct impact on counselors because it necessitates that they increase their attention to contextual issues in their practice directly related to many different diversity factors. For example, counselors must pay attention to power differences between the sexes and cultures as well as in spirituality and religion. They must also remain crystal clear about their ethical duty to remain non-judgmental towards non-traditional couples and families that include sexual and gender minorities. Counselors view these issues as metaframeworks, which unifies gender, culture, and other diversity factors (Thomlison, 2010).
One issue related to diversity that may have an impact on a couple’s counseling session is gender identity. A couple that has one partner struggling with issues of gender identity can present with issues that are very different from those of traditional couples. It is important that the counselor have the awareness, knowledge, and cultural competency necessary to provide the appropriate counseling required for the couple and to prevent further distress for them (Thomlison, 2010).
Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression
Other diversity issues in counseling include sexual orientation and gender expression. For example, a family seeking counseling as a result of a child coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or questioning can present unique challenges. This requires that the counselor be culturally competent in providing appropriate counseling. It also requires that he or she not allow personal biases, including religious and culture based prejudice or beliefs, to interfere with the appropriate, healthy, and ethically founded response that is mandatory when working in the helping professions. Using affirmative therapy in this instance would be an appropriate, ethical and empirically founded technique rather than using reparative therapy, which is not. It would be vital for the counselor to approach the sessions mindfully to avoid further distressing the family (Thomlison, 2010).
Ethical Counseling Practice
Counselors must address diversity in their practice when providing services to couples and families. Contextual issues have an impact in the lives of individuals in negative and positive ways. It is important that counselors address diversity issues in their practice and that they recognize that ignoring these components is unethical as mental health professionals (Thomlison, 2010).
Thomlison, B. (2010). Family Assessment Handbook: An Introductory Practice Guide to Family Assessment (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Studies estimate that between 1 and 9 million children in the United States have at least one parent who is lesbian or gay. There are approximately 594,000 same-sex partner households, according to the 2000 Census, and there are children living in approximately 27 percent of those households. It is difficult to obtain an accurate count of same-sex parent families because many lesbians and gay men are not open about their sexual orientation due to fears of discrimination, such as loss of employment, loss of child custody, and antigay violence. There is not a “usual” gay family. Some same-sex couples may decide to have a child within their relationship, while others may bring children from previous heterosexual or same-sex unions. The rise in same-sex parenting is partially due to the increase in options available for same-sex couples to become parents. Although most children of same-sex couples are biological children of one of the parents, a growing number are the result of donor insemination, surrogacy, foster care and adoption.
Revitalized LGBT Mental Health Community
We’ve relaunched the LGBT Mental Health Community on the HealthyPlace website. You’ll find over 100 new articles and videos dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender mental health and related issues that are important to the LGBT community. Not only do we discuss gay mental health in detail, but there’s also plenty of information on where to find gay support, gay support groups and organizations. Other topics include gay bullying, gay suicide, and things you should consider before coming out at work. Plus we have articles that address parents of gay children and some of the issues they face. We invite you to take a look.
We are also looking for a new blogger to write on LGBT and mental health issues. Could you be that person? More info here.
- LGBT Mental Health Homepage
- All LGBT Articles
- Why Are People Gay? Gay By Choice or Is Being Gay Genetic?
- Coming Out Gay Step-By-Step
- Gay Therapy, Gay Therapists, Gay Treatment
- Cure the Gay: Gay Conversion Therapy – Real or Hoax?
- Gay Discrimination and Stigma and How to Cope
- Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships
- What is Biphobia?
Lead With Love is a 35-minute documentary created to help answer that question. Our goal is to provide comfort, information, and guidance for parents who have recently learned that their son or daughter is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The film follows four families as they share their honest reactions tohearing that their child is gay, including the intense emotions, fears, and questions that it raised.
Watch the film online for free.
(NECN) – Same-sex marriage and gay rights continue to be hot-button topics in this election year.
Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Equality Council, advocates for family equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and guardians. She is herself a partner in a same-sex marriage with a growing family, and says same-sex couples are struggling for rights and respect afforded to straight couples.
“There are so many things that still need to be worked on, that are challenges,” said Chrisler. “Everything from forms you fill out … There are still all of these things that you have to face.”
Watch the attached video for more.
XAS Advocacy Network Series (ANS)
Xiomara A. Sosa, ANS Executive Consultant
- The National Hispanic Veterans Advocacy Network
- The National Sexual Minority (LGBQQTI) Veterans Advocacy Network
- The National Hispanic Mental Health Professionals Advocacy Network
- The National Sexual Minority (LGBQQTI) Mental Health Professionals Advocacy Network
- The National Latina Mental Health and Wellness Advocacy Network
- The National Modern Family Mental Health and Wellness Advocacy Network
The XAS Advocacy Network Series (ANS) is a bilingual, culturally competent multi-platform advocacy campaign for diverse communities launched by XAS through Get-Right! and You Are Strong! in partnership with prominent social media and coalition partners.
Through these partnerships ANS helps shed light on issues affecting diverse communities through a series of articles about these community members’ needs, resources, events, spotlights, interviews and critical legislative, government, and military initiatives. The campaign includes Legislative Days with representatives and Town Hall Meetings with stakeholders.
The goal is to advocate for mental health and wellness and health and human services needs that are culturally competent and effect positive social change for these communities:
- Hispanic community
- Veteran community
- Sexual minority (LGBQQTI) community
XAS Consulting, LLC Founder Xiomara A. Sosa is committed to creating positive social change through culturally competent advocacy. Her advocacy work is done through the 2 nonprofit organizations she founded: The Get-Right! Organization, Inc. whose mission is to educate families, teach children, and support communities about mental health and physical health; and You Are Strong! Center on Veterans Health and Human Services whose mission is to combat negative stigma and provide health and human services information to veterans and their families.
Xiomara created this advocacy network series to build unity within and awareness about the mental health and wellness and health and human services needs of these communities. These advocacy networks are launched in partnership with like-minded social media and coalitions to unify health and human services professionals that advocate for mental health and wellness and health and human services needs of Hispanics, veterans, and sexual minorities (LGBQQTI). The advocacy campaign is based on empirical, evidence-based research data. This initiative elevates the voices of these communities and spotlights their unique challenges, needs and stories. The partnerships are a natural extension of the social media and coalition partners’ missions to help and support these communities by providing a platform where the greater community can share and receive culturally competent information.
Current ANS partners are:
Stay tuned for the next partnership launch in October 2012 during Hispanic Heritage Month:
NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE HISPANIC, A VETERAN, OR A SEXUAL MINORITY TO SUPPORT, JOIN OR PARTICIPATE IN THIS CAMPAIGN. EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THE ANS MISSION IS WELCOME!