Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lisa Kiesel


Social Work


This study explores how members of the LGBT community experience support systemically during family formation and parenting. Six Caucasian women, who identified as lesbians, were interviewed in relation to their perceptions of support during family formation and parenting. The researcher asked 12 semi-structured questions to capture the level of support LGBT members receive by family, friends, general public and professionals (i.e., social workers). The majority of the respondents felt supported systemically in part because of the intentional environment they chose to live in and the family of choice chosen as a support system. Although the participants felt supported by the environment they interact in, all shared a level of uncertainty and fear in relation to their children receiving support, specifically in school and away from the intentional environment chosen for them. Similarly, this fear came from the heteronormative lens in which society views family in that there is one mother and one father. Currently, families that do not consist of having one mother and one father are considered “untraditional.” Most literature that depicts families identifies families from this heteronormative perspective and fails to recognize families such as the LGBT population. As a result, children who come from untraditional families are often targeted. In response, this paper provides implications and suggestions for future research and advocacy.

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