The Minority Stress of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Parents. Specificity of Polish Context

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Abstract

Previous research on LGB parenting is dominated by comparing the LGB families to traditional families with heterosexual parents. Little is known about personal experiences of LGB parents and psychological consequences of nonheterosexual parenting in a heteronormative environment.

This article presents the conceptualization of lesbian, gay and bisexual parents’ minority stress and focuses especially on it’s sources. LGB parents are considered as a multiple excluded minority group. Using a theoretical framework of minority stress (Meyer 1995) the main stressors are described with reference to parental situation: discrimination and violence, perceived stigma, self-concealment and internalized homophobia. These factors’ possible impact on psychological wellbeing is discussed on the basis of research available. The Polish sociocultural context and its potential influence of LGB parents’ stress is also described.

The specificity of LGB parents’ minority stress is that it challenges the aspect of identity associated with a parental social role. The most common stressors undermine the status and quality of parent-child bond and involves the child himself/ herself. In conclusion, minority stress of LGB parents is recognized as a risk factor for decrease in mental health, but also as an opportunity for personal development based on the stress - related growth.

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