As part of a research project being run by run by the Bouverie Centre, and La Trobe University they have produced a document to provide healthcare workers with information around caring for same-sex and gender diverse families.
Same-sex parented families may be described as families parented by people who identify themselves as non-heterosexual, this may include gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) or other non-heterosexual identities.
The document contains information from same-sex parented families highlighting what they really value when using healthcare services.
Things such as:
- An accepting and affirming attitude from service providers.
- An inclusive environment and (appropriate) language and questions.
- Healthcare service providers who are knowledgeable about these family situations.
It also contains some tips on promoting more effective and sensitive communications, such as:
- A review of intake forms to use inclusive language and questions allowing for a range of responses and options. For example, using relationship status rather than marital status; Preferred contact for emergencies rather than next-of-kin; Parent 1 and Parent 2 rather than mother and Father or Gender and/or name of partner.
- Providing training for staff about the issues faced by same-sex parented families.
- Understanding that question(s) of who the birth mother is should only be asked if there is a medical necessity or other significant reason to do so.
Questions that have no purpose other than curiosity can be alienating to parents who both have equally significant roles in a child’s life. the marginalisation of non-biological parents is an ever-present concern for same-sex attracted parents and requires thoughtful sensitivity from those around them.
Finally, a series of scenarios are unpacked to provide some “Door Opening Questions”. Tools that allow the healthcare worker to explore personal family situations with some sensitivity and effectiveness.
You can download the entire document as a pdf here: Guidelines for healthcare providers Working With same-sex parented families.