Though the United States has made great strides toward LGBTQ equality, many same-sex and LGBT couples often face unique challenges regarding marriage, parenting, and legal protections. Legally, it's much harder for LGBT couples to adopt, and spouses regularly navigate complex situations concerning major life transitions, housing, adoption, and more.

With this in mind, it's essential that you're aware of these issues that impact LGBTQ+ couples and how to find dedicated counselling, couples therapy, or marriage counselling that meets the needs of you, your partner or spouse, and your family members. Here's what you should keep in mind.

Parenting laws are pretty restrictive

Currently, a comparatively small number of states allow LGBTQ couples to parent together legally. For gay couples talking about adoption, a lesbian couple seeking a donor, or queer partners taking steps toward parenthood, LGBTQ couples throughout the U.S. face difficulties if they choose to pursue second-parent adoption. Though several states prohibit agencies from discriminating against LGBTQ couples for gender expression and sexual orientation, there are plenty still that make adoption and foster care difficult.

Parenting discrimination can impact same-sex couples and LGBTQ community members because there are relatively limited legal protections. When same-sex couples or LGBTQ partnerships pursue parenting, teams should know that both they and their children are legally protected.

The LGBT community faces difficulties with violence

Whether couples face concerns surrounding domestic violence or they're exposed to hate crimes and public prejudice, it's frequently tricky for LGBT+ individuals to navigate violent situations. In addition, transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of colour, face disproportionate rates of hate crimes and violence. And still, too many states do not provide for sexual or gender identity under the existing hate crime legislation. This further promotes vulnerability within already vulnerable groups and exposes them to unnecessary prejudice and discrimination.

Whether you're working with a couples therapist or you're taking a premarital counselling course, it's beneficial to discuss safety strategies when situations become violent. It's also necessary to promote empathy within intimacy that can help build a healthy relationship. When LGBTQ couples are aware of these risks, they can take steps to find safe spaces within the local community and resources for counselling, therapy, or social services that can assist couples impacted by violence.

Employment discrimination can harm intimate relationships

Finances are an expected source of marital and relationship strain, especially if income disparities, employment difficulties, and workplace secrets. For instance, a gay man who needs a job to support his husband may attempt to hide more about his personal life, sexual orientation, or identity to secure employment or prevent workplace harassment. In some states, if an employer disagrees with that man's identity, they can fire the individual, causing loss of income that then develops relationship strain.

LGBTQ couples require access to safe workplaces. However, since so many states lack adequate legal provisions and protections, this means that legislators can wield existing laws against some of society's most vulnerable populations. Often, this makes life more difficult for LGBTQ couples than heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, it can also make life more dangerous.

There are resources for LGBT couples

Whether you're considering following up on a friend's online therapy referrals or you're trying to find a safe place to discuss the problems affecting your intimate relationships, LGBT couples counseling is a helpful, often necessary, resource. A mental health specialist who's a member of the LGBTQ community can respond to your needs more acutely, assist, and help connect you to resources that help you circumvent legal or social roadblocks that affect your relationship. For significant life transitions, relationship issues, and couples counselling needs, it's critical that LGBTQ couples know that existing services can help them thrive and live proudly.