Parenting is never an easy task. One has to be ready to take care of every need for a child, from their earliest days and build a relationship that will last a lifetime.
It also has the possibility of being one of the most rewarding challenges you can face in your life, a chance to mentor another person though their lives, and perhaps help carry on a bit of you into the future.
For LGBTQ parents, the challenges are largely the same as those faced by anyone else raising a child. That first lost tooth is the same no matter what, just like the first skinned knee and the first day of school: the obstacles and the milestones are universal.
That said, there are still challenges that can be unique for LGBTQ parents.
Depending on how you have a child, there are still challenges in the adoption, surrogacy, and foster parent system that may feel daunting. Likewise, discrimination and prejudice are still a concern, as do challenges in filling out governmental forms that make it clear just who is who in your child’s lives.
A recent study published in Pediatrics said that over two-thirds of gay dads face stigma over their sexual orientation, with one-third of their kids also facing blowback over their parent’s orientation.
Thankfully, LGBTQ parents are seeing an increase in support geared at their specific needs. Parents magazine has even taken a big step, featuring two dads on the cover of their February cover. Indeed, the move towards better, positive presentations of gay parents and their needs seems to be hitting the mainstream.
Parent groups exist across the country too, providing resources and support for those who are seeking to be, or have become, parents. Gay Parent, an online LGBTQ magazine dedicated to the subject, provides countless resources.
In the world of medicine, too, there are positive changes afoot. The Family Equality Council has launched a new virtual training program aimed at the health needs of gay parents, training everyone from reproductive endocrinologists to perinatal social workers on the specific needs to LGBTQ parents.
Their goal is a simple one: creating new allies in the medical field who can help LGBTQ parents and potential parents, and not leave us having to educate our caregivers ourselves. After all, we have children to raise.
Of course, if you find a caregiver who still could use a hand, send them to the Family Equality Council’s Open Door Professional Training Program and let them do the rest.
With the right allies and resources at your fingertips, maybe one’s job as a parent will be just a little easier.