What Challenges Do LGBTQIA+ Parents Face?
As a society, we often focus on the issues surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole, or as individuals. However, there are so many groups within the community to consider—each with its own set of struggles, setbacks, and challenges.
That includes LGBTQIA+ parents.
It can be difficult enough for people in same-sex relationships to start a family. But, once you’ve overcome that hurdle, it’s not always smooth sailing on the other side.
Let’s dig deeper into some of the challenges LGBTQIA+ parents face today. Hopefully, as recognition and awareness start to build, these challenges will eventually become a thing of the past.
Paid Parental Leave
Unfortunately, there are many businesses out there that don’t grant paid parental leave to LGBTQIA+ couples. Some companies require individuals to be married to take this leave. Others won’t give leave to people who aren’t legal guardians of a child.
A lot of this has to do with parental recognition, which is another challenge people in the community often face. Not all same-sex couples in the U.S. are considered legal guardians of a child, even if they use a surrogate. In some states, married same-sex couples aren’t listed on their child’s birth certificate.
That poses a lot of challenges when it comes to employment benefits and healthcare issues.
Statistics show that more LGBTQIA+ individuals live beneath the poverty line than their straight counterparts. Again, a lot of this has to do with inequalities in the workplace, as well as benefits that aren’t as easily given to those in the community.
If you’re not officially married to your partner, you might not be entitled to some of the same protections and rights, depending on your state. That includes the social security benefits of your partner and certain tax breaks given to married couples.
Bullying and Discrimination
Although the LGBTQIA+ community is becoming more widely accepted in our country, there are still people who actively discriminate against it. Hate is real, and it can be palpable depending on where you live.
If you have school-aged children, one of the challenges you might face is bullying and discrimination. Chances are, it won’t be directed at you, but at your children. They might start to resent your lifestyle or how they’ve been raised because it’s not “normal” to everyone else.
Be prepared to have several conversations with your kids about this as they get older. Their understanding of things will change over time. By showing them love and staying strong, you’ll raise them to be allies in the community, and help them fight back against stereotypes and stigma.
Mental Health Issues
It’s not uncommon for same-sex couples with children to struggle with their mental well-being. Individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community already tend to have more mental health struggles than heterosexuals, but when you add on the stress of being a parent, those struggles can feel much worse.
You might feel pressure to raise your children a certain way, or to protect them from some of the negative stereotypes still thrown at the queer community. No matter what your own personal beliefs and convictions are, it’s easy to let the “noise” of the outside world influence you and cause anxiety.
One of the best things you can do is lean on your partner for support. Remember, you’re in this together and you’re both experiencing similar situations. Having a built-in support system is crucial when it comes to managing symptoms of anxiety or depression and moving forward each day.
However, if you’re really struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Being a parent is hard enough on its own. When you’re in the LGBTQIA+ community, you’ll have additional obstacles to overcome, and you don’t have to handle them on your own.
Please contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group for more information or to set up an appointment.