Book Reviews -- Social Services for Gay and Lesbian Couples Edited by L. A. Kurdek

Article excerpt

New York: Harrington Park Press. 123 pp. Paper ISBN 1-56023-052-5, price $14.95.

Kurdek notes in his introduction that many professionals working in the area of social services have received little or no training with regard to the special needs of gay and lesbian couples. This book can be useful to social service providers in helping to fill the knowledge gap regarding both general and specific information related to lesbian and gay couples. The book is a collection of five papers that have also been published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, Volume 1, Number 2, 1994.

Two of the papers offer general information regarding gay and lesbian couples. "Difference and Diversity: Gay and Lesbian Couples" by Murphy reviews current knowledge about lesbian and gay couples and provides therapeutic implications for working with couples. The major theme of Murphy's paper is diversity. She discusses ways in which gay and lesbian couples differ from heterosexual couples, ways that gay and lesbian couples differ from each other, and the diversity within both lesbian couples and gay couples. Murphy further outlines for the reader how the study of diversity is embedded in a larger context of belief systems regarding gender, sexual orientation, and power. "Relationship Characteristics of American Gay and Lesbian Couples: Findings from a National Survey" by Bryant and Demain presents descriptive data regarding fourteen topics relevant to relationships: relationship length, commitment, and quality; terms of address for partner; finances; relationship experience; discrimination; living situation; sex; first meetings; support for the relationship; challenges for the relationship; children; legal arrangements; and AIDS. Attention is given to distinctions between male and female couples and factors correlated with relationship quality.

"Lesbian and Gay Couples Considering Parenthood" by Patterson addresses the special needs of lesbian and gay couples who are considering parenthood, including educational, medical, legal, financial, social, and emotional issues. …