Rainbow Families

Love Makes A Family

In Australia there are many different kinds of families. There are one-parent, two-parent, and grandparent-headed families. There are step-families and divorced, blended, foster and adoptive families. There are families with one child, families with ten, families with no relatives and families where many different generations live together and care for the children. And there are increasing numbers of children who come from families with same-sex parents – sometimes called 'rainbow families'.

Rainbow families also come in different shapes and sizes. Children may have two mums or dads, or any combination of parents or co-parents caring for the children. It is also important to remember that some sole parents are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Some rainbow families may include known donors or surrogates in their extended families, and some are created through fostering. Rainbow families are as diverse – in socio-economic background, disability, language, culture and religion – as all Australian families. However, fear of discrimination means that some parents feel that they cannot always be open about their family.

Mission Statement

Rainbow Families is part of Rainbow Communities Tasmania. We are all volunteers and aim to build a resilient, joyful, proud and empowered community of Rainbow Families that can support each other and be recognised for their contribution to the community as a whole.

What the research says

In the past 30 years, there has been a significant body of rigorous Australian and international research comparing outcomes for children raised in same-sex and opposite-sex parented families. It has consistently found that children raised in same-sex parented families do at least as well as children in opposite-sex parented families in all significant areas. Specifically, the research tells us:

  • There is no difference between the two groups of children in intelligence. Both achieve equal levels of academic and physical competence as measured by teachers.
  • 'Gender role behaviour' is the same – that is, children tend to play gender-typical games, and adult offspring have no more of what researchers call 'gender identity' problems.
  • Children's emotional development is no different, either as children or adults. In particular, adult offspring show no greater incidence of stress, anxiety or depression.
  • There is no difference in psychological or behavioural development, as measured by parental and teacher reports, using validated behavioural checklists.
  • Children of same-sex parents are more likely to be attuned to diversity, and resilient to discrimination, than those raised by heterosexual parents.

"What should we call you?"

Talking about children having two mums or two dads does not mean starting a conversation about "what is a lesbian?" or "what is a gay man?". Children can easily understand and accept a simple message like, "Some children have two mums and no dad, and that is OK!. Most families do not distinguish between the biological and non-biological parent, so you should not either.

Important recent legal changes

In 2008 many state and federal laws were reformed, removing much of the legal discrimination previously faced by rainbow families. Children with two mums can now have both parents recognised as their legal parents.  Federally, same-sex couples are now treated equally for the purposes of taxation, superannuation, Centrelink, Medicare and access to the Family Court.


Life Without Barriers - Foster Care

Life Without Barriers is currently seeking compassionate individuals, couples and families to become foster carers by providing long or short-term or weekend respite foster care for children and young people who are unable to live with their families.

Foster carers can be single or partnered, married or unmarried, with or without children, and/or same sex couples. We value equality and diversit and welcome people from any cultural background. When you become a foster carer, the children who come into your home will present both challenges and opportunities. The challenge is caring for children who have experienced difficult circumstances in their life and may be insecure, frightened and sometimes angry.


Deidre Murray

Deidre Murray: deidre@rainbowtas.org Ph: 0412 931 974