Working With Families With Glbtq Members


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Working With Families With Glbtq Members

  2. 2. Current research <ul><li>There is a lack of research addressing the issues faced by the gay and lesbian community. </li></ul><ul><li>From 1978-1989 only 43 of 6,661 articles published in 6 major psychological journals addressed gay and lesbian issues. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Previous research (continued) <ul><li>From 1977-1993 only 3 articles on gay and lesbians were published in The School Counselor, the primary professional journal for a counseling group which has access to the entire population of adolescents. </li></ul><ul><li>It is estimated that 10% of the population may be gay and lesbian, which means 1 out of 5 families has a gay or lesbian child. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What do counselors need to know? <ul><li>Awareness of own attitudes and beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisition of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Skill acquisition </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Risks (for adolescents) <ul><li>Runaways, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, and prostitution have been shown to have higher proportions with gay and lesbian youth. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1989 30% of completed teen suicides were committed by youth dealing with sexual identity issues. </li></ul>
  6. 6. 6 stages of identity formation <ul><li>Confusion </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Pride </li></ul><ul><li>Synthesis </li></ul>
  7. 7. A GLBTQ family’s struggle <ul><li>Culturally we are still fighting to establish a homosexual relationship as a valid family system. </li></ul><ul><li>This means the family system that begins with a GLBTQ couple may have inherent stress, difficulty forming extra-familial relationships, establishing faith-based support systems, or utilizing some community resources. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  8. 8. Gay and Lesbian Adoption <ul><li>Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children receiving out-of-home care. Currently there are estimated to be between 500,000 and 520,000 children in the foster care system (Brooks & Goldberg, 2001; Cooper, 2004). </li></ul><ul><li>Although gay men and lesbians are seen as promising candidates for such hard-to-place children, agency policies either tacitly or explicitly privilege heterosexual couples over single applicants. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Gay men as parents <ul><li>Although gay men have been parenting for generations, it is only in recent years that they have been able to do so openly. </li></ul><ul><li>This notion of gay men as parents has fueled homophobic and heterosexist policies designed to deny adoption, custody, and parental rights to homosexuals. </li></ul><ul><li>These practices arose from the essentialist conviction that gay men cannot serve as appropriate sex-role models of masculinity for children, especially boys. The promulgation of this position correlates with another unfounded and more insidious view </li></ul><ul><li>that gay men who function as caregivers for boys will sexually abuse them </li></ul>
  10. 10. Practitioner’s Role <ul><li>Practitioners can play an important role in helping clients deal with the uncertainties and fears associated with the early months of parenthood. One goal would be to help couples deal with the ambiguous legal status of one, or in some locales, both parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners will need to maintain up-to-date information about adoptive parenting and legal resources relevant to the gay and lesbian community. Finally, counselors can assist in connecting couples to other gay or lesbian- headed families. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Work with GLBTQ parents <ul><li>Family therapy models often do not reflect the realities and desires of many gay and lesbian couples. Therapists working with this population are left to decide whether to apply these models as they are, to discard them, or to attempt to modify them as they assist their clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Gay and lesbian couples face special family concerns due to the strong likelihood that their parents will disapprove of their homosexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage and family therapists assume that sexual monogamy, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction should be intertwined in long-term, committed relationships. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Queer Theory <ul><li>Queer theorists would argue that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people have something to teach all of us about society’s unrealistic norms and narrow assumptions about gender and sexual behavior (Jagose, 1996;Warner, 1999). </li></ul><ul><li>This theory would encourage family therapists to reexamine the notion that sex should always be connected to intimacy and commitment. </li></ul>
  13. 13. References <ul><li>Fontaine, Janet H. & Hammond, Nancy L. (1996).Counseling issues with gay and lesbian adolescents. Professional Development Collection . 31 , 817-828. </li></ul><ul><li>Ben-Ari, 1995; D’Augelli, Hershberger, & Pilkington, 1998; Herdt & Koff, 2000; Savin-Williams, 2001. </li></ul><ul><li>Arthur, Mikaila Mariel Lemonik. 2004; glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Accessed: February 25, 2009 from </li></ul>