Advertisement

Lesbian and Gay Parents: Their Experiences of Children's Health Care in Australia

  • Katja Mikhailovich
  • Sarah Martin
  • Stephen Lawton
Article

Abstract

This study investigates the experiences of lesbian and gay parents seeking health care for their children within the Australian medical system. Previously unavailable demographic data was collected on lesbian and gay families, and qualitative information was sought from parents about positive or problematic health care experiences related to sexual orientation and family constellation. Ninety-two lesbian or gay parents responded to a national postal and Web-based survey. Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported a high level of satisfaction with the health care received by their children. Despite overall satisfaction, however, 49 percent of parents identified fear of disclosure of sexual orientation, and 27 percent reported negative or problematic experiences with their children's health care related to sexual orientation or family constellation. This study indicates that fear of discrimination and homophobic attitudes towards lesbian and gay families remain a factor within the Australian health care system.

gay lesbian parents health care Australia 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (1999). Census 96: Customized matrix tables.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, J. A. (1993). Critical issues and trends: Is homophobia hazardous to lesbian and gay health. American Journal of Health Promotion, 7(4), 255-256.Google Scholar
  3. Clay, J. (1990). Working with lesbian and gay parents and their children. Young Children, 45(3), 31-35.Google Scholar
  4. Deevey, S. (1989). When mom or dad comes out: Helping adolescents cope with homophobia. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 27(10), 33-36.Google Scholar
  5. Eliason M. J., Randall, C. E. (1991). Lesbian phobia in nursing students. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 13(3), 363-374.Google Scholar
  6. Eliason, M. J. (1996). Lesbian and gay family issues. Journal of Family Nursing, 2(1), 10-29.Google Scholar
  7. Gartrell, N., Hamilton, J., Banks, A., Mosbacher, D., Reed, N., Sparks, C. H., Bishop, H., (1996). The national lesbian family study: 1. Interviews with prospective mothers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66(2), 272-281.Google Scholar
  8. Gartrell, N., Banks, A., Hamilton, J., Reed, N., Bishop, H., Rodas, C. (1999). The national lesbian family study: 2. Interviews with mothers and toddlers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 69(3), 362-369.Google Scholar
  9. Gentry, S. E. (1992). Caring for lesbians in a homophobic society. Health Care forWomen International, 13(2), 173-180.Google Scholar
  10. Gold, M. A., Perrin, E. C., Futterman, D., Friedman, B. F. (1994). Children of gay or lesbian parents. Pediatric Review, 15(9), 354-358.Google Scholar
  11. Harrison A. E. (1996). Primary care of lesbian and gay patients: Educating ourselves and our students. Family Medicine, 28(1), 10-23.Google Scholar
  12. Harvey, M. J., Carr, C., Berrnheine, S. (1990). Lesbian mothers: Health care experiences. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 34(3), 115-119.Google Scholar
  13. James, T., Harding, I., Corbett, K. (1994). Biased care. Nursing Times, 90(21), 28-31.Google Scholar
  14. Kenney, J. W., Tash, D. T. (1992). Lesbian childbearing couples' dilemmas and decisions. Health Care for Women International, 13(4), 209-219.Google Scholar
  15. Lehmann J. B., Lehmann C. U., Kelly, P. J. (1998). Development and health care needs of lesbians. Journal of Women's Health, 7(3), 379-387.Google Scholar
  16. Mackereth, P. A. (1994). HIV and homophobia: Nurses as advocates. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 22, 670-676.Google Scholar
  17. Morrissey, M. (1996). Attitudes of practitioners to lesbian, gay and bisexual clients. British Journal of Nursing, 5(16), 980-982.Google Scholar
  18. Nelson, J. A. (1997). Gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents: Providing esteem-enhancing care to a battered population. The Nurse Practitioner, 22(2), 94-109.Google Scholar
  19. Patterson, C. J. (1992). Children of lesbian and gay parents. Child Development, 63, 1025-1042.Google Scholar
  20. Perrin, E. C., Kulkin, H. (1996). Paediatric care for children whose parents are gay or lesbian. Pediatrics, 97(5), 629-639.Google Scholar
  21. Rose, L. (1994). Homophobia among doctors. British Medical Journal, 308, 586-587Google Scholar
  22. Schwanberg, S. L. (1996). Health care professionals' attitudes towards lesbian and gay men. Journal of Homosexuality, 31(3), 71-83.Google Scholar
  23. Stevens, P. E. (1994). Lesbians' health related experiences of care and non care. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 16(6), 639-659.Google Scholar
  24. Trippet, S. E., Bain, J. (1992). Reasons lesbians fail to seek traditional health care. Health Care for Women International, 13(2), 145-153.Google Scholar
  25. Turner, P. H., Scadden, M. A., Harris, M. B. (1990). Parenting in gay and lesbian families. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 1(3), 55-66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katja Mikhailovich
    • 1
  • Sarah Martin
    • 2
  • Stephen Lawton
    • 3
  1. 1.Head of Health Promotion ProgramUniversity of Canberra, School of Professional and Community EducationCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Canberra HospitalAustralia
  3. 3.ACT Department of Health and Community CareCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations