Emotional Implications

With no legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships, many professionals, such as doctors and teachers, as well as friends and relatives, tend not to see our families as a family unit, and therefore lack the atmosphere of approval and support that every family needs.

An Italian research study into the challenges and opportunities for LGBT families found that schools usually adopt a heteronormative response to LGBT families, not giving them legitimacy but tolerating them, preferring them to remain secret, so the non-biological parent often remains invisible. The study showed that children usually adopted a 'trial & error' disclosure strategy, depending on their age, peer and teachers response and the perceived levels of support.

This has considerable implications for children's well being, as children need to be accepted in their environment and need to have peers and teachers acknowledge them and their families just as they are. Children should not have to live with secrets, particularly not big secrets like not telling anyone who their parents are.

While for parents, lack of legal protections means they often live in constant fear that they will lose their parental rights. This, coupled with the pressures and stress associated with being a lesbian or gay parent in an unsupporting society, can put a heavy strain on LGBT individuals and couples.

“As an adult child of an LGBT family, I must insist strongly on the importance of honesty and openness with those who are close to the family unit.....Untold truth lead to feelings of shame, guilt and a lack of authenticity in relationships." Robin Sclafinin - COLAGE.