Parenting Issues

A common misconception is that LGBT individuals are not partnered and do not have children. The reality is that many LGBT individuals are coupled, have children, and exercise the same responsible parenting as their heterosexual counterparts. Many LGBT individuals have children from previous heterosexual marriages. Moreover, as more LGBT couples adopt, become foster parents, or use alternative routes of insemination to become pregnant, substance abuse treatment counselors can expect to be working with more LGBT clients who are parents, either as part of a couple or as single parents.

When children are added to a family system, parent-child relationships, the role of stepparents or members of the blended family, and the birth parent (if any) must be factored into the family dynamic. Counselors may have a concern that children growing up in LGBT families are likely to become LGBT individuals, but this concern is unfounded. As we have seen in chapter 1, the etiology of sexual orientation is so complex that the sexual orientation of parents or family members is not an issue.

Individuals in treatment need o be concerned about losing custody of their children. See chapter 3 for a discussion of this issue and other legal issues of particular concern to LGBT parents.