Today marks the 1st day of Pride month. Queer and nonbinary folks face unique challenges on their family building journeys. Popular culture, policy makers, and the medical community too often use terminology that only applies to cisgender and hetero-parent families which can be both frustrating and alienating to the over 11.3 million adults identifying as LGBTQ+, according to a 2019 survey by the Family Equality Council. But the social stigma extends far beyond gendered newborn gear and gifts pre-labeled with “mommy” and “daddy” or standardized forms that require a choice between only 2 boxes to encompass the sex assigned at birth, the nuances of the gender identity, AND sexual orientation all at once. Beyond an archaic maternity clothing industry or gender reveal parties, LGBTQ+ discrimination also looks like a deficit in care providers who are both sensitive to and educated about their specific needs, an uptick in violence and hate crimes toward these communities, and restrictive parenting and adoptive legislation across the country that neither represent nor protect queer or nonbinary families. LGBTQ+ allies can make a conscious effort to use inclusive, gender-neutral language with preferred pronouns, acknowledge the birthing person over a specific gender, and avoid assumptions around a traditional division of labor at home that has historically always been associated with “masculine” and “feminine” jobs inside and outside of the home.
In a 2019 “Xtra Magazine” parenting article Andrea Bennett explains, “When you’re a queer parent, there is no automatic delineation of roles; every family looks a little different, but somebody has to bathe the child, teach her to read, do the laundry. There’s no falling back on cultural expectations, so a negotiation follows: what’s important to you? What do you like, dislike? How will we share things in a way that seems fair and sustainable?” Bennett goes on to contextualize how limiting language and gender roles have been historically: “While feminism has tried to move the needle on parenting issues, we are still culturally stuck in 101-level conversations about mothering and fathering… “Mothering” is a field that has not expanded nearly as much as ‘woman.’” Indeed, we have a long way to go to better support and represent caregivers in general, and especially within queer and nonbinary communities. #nonbinaryfamilies #queerfamilies #LGBTQIApride #mentalhealth #cocreatearttherapy
Original photograph by Carlos DeToro via Unsplash
Post by Sharon Itkoff Nacache LCAT ATR-BC PMH-C