Parents too can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, or queer. It sounds logical and simple – but is it really?
In the media, the concept 'rainbow family' is often used to describe a lesbian or gay couple with children. For LGBTIQ representatives, however, it means a family where at least one parent is trans or intersex, lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer.
Sometimes father-mother-child families become rainbow families. For example, if the father becomes the second mother after coming out as trans*. Or if the mother falls in love with another woman. Other rainbow families happen because LGBTIQ persons desire to have children. This can be a trans* man or a lesbian couple who become parents through sperm donation; or an intersex parent or a queer couple who look after foster or adopted children; a heterosexual mother who has a child with a gay friend or women or men couples who have joint forces to become parents. Or, or, or etc…
Do children need both a mother and a father?
Rainbow families and single parents are repeatedly reproached that children need a primary male as well as a female caregiver in the family. But recent research results show that children need a good family climate and good relationships with the people that care for them. The gender of that caregiver or caregivers is irrelevant since children often look for their role models outside of the family anyway.
A study commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Justice in 2009 shows that children from rainbow families develop just as well as other children.
What do rainbow children need?
Rainbow families have the same needs as other families. They want to be acknowledged and appreciated and do not want to explain or justify themselves. Relatives and professionals can strengthen children from rainbow families if they accept them as natural and acknowledge the social relationships. In practical terms, this means sending greetings to all four parents; to remember who is dad and who is daddy; to accept the sister as sister and to put questions about biological correlations on hold.