Background. A growing number of children have at least one parent who is gay or lesbian. There is no evidence that these children experience any particular difficulties as a result of their parents' sexual orientation. Considerable evidence suggests that the provision of health care may not address the special needs and concerns of gay men and lesbians adequately. No research has been done regarding the pediatric care of children whose parents are gay or lesbian. It is likely that there are predictable challenges and developmental transitions for these children and parents for which pediatricians and other health care providers might be helpful advisers.
Objective. This exploratory project sought to describe the experiences that lesbian and gay parents and their children have had with the pediatric health care system. We were interested in describing experiences that had been especially affirming and others that had been troublesome and in gathering suggestions regarding changes in the structure and process of care.
Methodology. Two hundred fifty-five parents completed an open-ended questionnaire. Responses were coded and tabulated.
Results. Most parents described considerable success in obtaining pediatric care that was affirming, supportive, and satisfactory. On the other hand, many parents noted deficiencies in pediatric offices, clinics, emergency departments, and hospitals, many of which could be corrected easily.
Conclusions. We have summarized the accumulated advice to pediatric health care providers and have described some of the developmental transitions that are potentially appropriate opportunities for pediatric intervention.
- Received June 21, 1995.
- Accepted August 11, 1995.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics