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Number 43 (2017)

Wycisk , J. (2017). Heterosexism and its significance for psychological work with LGB families. The situation in Poland

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Jowita Wycisk
Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan

Families of individuals raising children in same-sex relations are an important part of contemporary Western society. In Poland, the existing legislation does not recognize these families, whilst stereotypes and prejudice about homosexuality contribute to their stigmatization. Both parents and specialists working in counseling agencies are often reluctant or afraid to contact each other. That state of affairs is a challenges to professionals who take care of or help children and their families. The aim of this article is to understand the causes of the aforementioned resistance using the contemporary psychological concept of heterosexism. Heterosexism is defined as a system of beliefs claiming that homosexuality has a devalued status in society, which influences the social structures and institutions, as well as the opinions, emotions and behaviors of individuals. I begin with explain the terms heterosexism, homophobia and the ones related to them. Then I present basic information about families of same-sex couples raising children. I use the concept of minority stress in order to illustrate the impact of heterosexism on non-heteronormative families. Next, I make an analysis of its effect on the psychologists’ work. I indicate three crucial sources of constraints connected with social and individual heterosexism: (1) the lack of proper legislation recognizing these families, (2) insufficient education and little Polish research on these families, (3) personal prejudices impeding the process of settling the ethical dilemmas. The article is an invitation to reflect and discuss the attitude of the Polish psychological community to non-heteronormative parenting and its readiness to work with this type of families.

Keywords: heterosexism, homophobia, LGB families, non-heteronormative families, sexual prejudices,
ethics in psychology

Cite this article as:

Wycisk , J. (2017). Heterosexism and its significance for psychological work with LGB families. The situation in Poland. Psychologia Społeczna, 43, 415–429. doi: 10.7366/1896180020174305
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