New, Groundbreaking Report on LGBT Families
October 25, 2011
This post comes from HRC Family Project Manager Alison Delpercio.
Today I attended a special presentation on a report called All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families released by the Center for American Progress, the Family Equality Council, and the Movement Advancement Project, in partnership with COLAGE, The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and the National Association of Social Workers (with a foreword by the Child Welfare League of America).
Roughly two million children are being raised by LGBT parents in the U.S. and this report gives the most comprehensive picture to date of these families.The presentation included remarks by Douglas F. Gansler, the Attorney General of Maryland, and a panelist of experts, including Bryan Samuels, the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Nearly everyone who spoke stated that this report’s emphasis on the children of LGBT parents is what will make it such a powerful tool for education and advocacy.
The report starts by answering some basic questions about LGBT families –How many are there? Where do they live? Some of the answers may come as a surprise. For example, check out the map of the 12 states where same-sex couples are most likely to be raising children. The top five are: Mississippi, Wyoming, Alaska, Arkansas and Texas. How many of us expected to see states like Massachusetts, New York and California on that list? (They don’t make the top 12.) Indeed LGBT families are everywhere in the U.S. – and many, many of these families are living in states with laws that are downright hostile towards them. (HRC has heard firsthand from these families throughout our Bus Tour which has brought our resources to 19 cities in the Midwest and South over the past few months.)
The report goes on to outline how these laws combined with social stigma create obstacles for LGBT families, focusing on three major topic areas related to the needs of all children: stable, loving homes; economic security and health and well-being. Some examples include:
- Children are denied permanent homes.
- LGBT families face unwelcoming healthcare environments.
- LGBT families face social stigma and discrimination.
The report concludes with many detailed recommendations for policy makers and service providers related to legally recognizing LGBT families, providing equal access to healthcare and protecting LGBT families from discrimination.
The HRC Family Project’s three main initiatives are working to improve the lives of LGBT families every day and several of our resources are included in the report’s recommendations.All Children – All Families works to ensure no child is denied a permanent home by helping adoption and foster care agencies recognize LGBT individuals and couples are prospective parents for the over 115,000 children and youth in foster care. The Healthcare Equality Index rates healthcare facilities on their policies and practices toward LGBT patients and families, assisting hospitals across the U.S. in adopting policies and training so that all families are treated with respect while accessing healthcare. And Welcoming Schools provides resources to elementary schools so they can embrace all children, including those with LGBT parents, end bias-based bullying and avoid gender stereotyping.
So that’s a little of what we are doing. What can you do? Well, the panelists were asked this question and here are their answers:
- Read this new report and share what you learn about LGBT families with the important people in your life.Full report | Exec. Summary | Facts at a Glance
- Send the report and/or video to others!
- Contact policy makers in your community and encourage them to take action on the common sense policy suggestions outlined in the report.
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