LGBTQ Families Are Beautiful & Resilient

This year marks the 16th annual #LGBTQFamiliesDay, a time to celebrate the beauty and resilience of LGBTQ families and to increase knowledge about who they are, the challenges they face, and what policies are needed to support them.

LGBTQ families are part of the fabric of communities across the country. Research finds that LGBTQ parents and their families are racially and ethnically diverse, live in all areas of the country, and navigate many of the same parenting joys and challenges as other parents.

Best estimates suggest that there are nearly 3 million people in the United States who identify as LGBTQ and are parents. LGBTQ people become parents in many ways, including:

  • People who choose to parent individually
  • People who choose to parent with one or more other people, sometimes referred to as ‘intentional LGBTQ parents’
  • People who had children from a previous relationship before identifying to others — or even recognizing their own identities — as LGBTQ

Overall, it is estimated that 29% of LGBTQ adults are raising a child who is under 18. The highest proportions of same-sex couples raising children who are minors reside in Southern, Mountain West, and Midwestern states — largely in rural areas, which have the fewest protections for LGBTQ families.

Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the monumental economic hardships it has brought to millions in the United States, it is helpful to understand the economic diversity and lives of LGBTQ parents and their families.

LGBTQ households experienced higher rates of job losses, serious financial problems, issues accessing health care, and increased challenges navigating at-home learning for their children, as compared to non-LGBTQ households. For example, MAP’s analyses from November 2020 show that during the pandemic:

  • 64% percent of LGBQ people and their families experienced a job loss or disruption, compared to just under half (45%) of non-LGBTQ households.
  • 52% of LGBTQ households with children were having trouble keeping their children’s education going compared to 38% of non-LGBTQ households with children.
  • 29% of LGBTQ households had serious problems with internet connection for work or schoolwork at home, compared with 17% of non-LGBTQ households.

A recent book about LGBTQ families features a chapter specifically focused on the economic wellbeing of LGBTQ parents and their families. Co-authored by MAP deputy director Naomi Goldberg, “LGBTQ-Parents Families in the United States and Economic Well-Being,” concludes that LGBTQ people and same-sex couples raising children face greater economic challenges compared to their non-LGBTQ and different-sex couple peers. This is in large part due to the fact that some LGBTQ parents are more likely to be women and thus paid less and have higher rates of poverty; are relatively young; and are more likely to be people of color (34% of same-sex couples raising children). Particularly important today is the fact that these are the same communities — women, younger workers, and people of color — who are bearing the economic brunt of COVID-19, especially when they have already been at risk for higher rates of economic insecurity prior to the pandemic.

Hundreds of people have taken part in #LGBTQFamiliesDay, including parents across the LGBTQ spectrum, LGBTQ individuals without children, children of LGBTQ parents, and non-LGBTQ allies. Anyone who supports LGBTQ families is welcome to participate:

  • Post, tweet, or share on any social media channel in celebration and support of LGBTQ families on June 1st, and include the hashtag #LGBTQFamiliesDay.
  • Follow the hashtag #LGBTQFamiliesDay throughout the day and share the stories, images, and thoughts from other participants.
  • Visit mombian.com/lgbtqfamiliesday to learn more.

MAP is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.