While many conservatives and anti-equality people argue that gay and lesbian parents hinder a child’s emotional and psychological development, research and science provide no evidence to support this claim. In fact, they provide evidence for the opposite effect. In general, same-sex and opposite-sex parents foster children who are practically the same in terms of development. There are, however, benefits to having same-sex parents.
I have provided a link under this paragraph to a YouTube video for which I am getting my information. I will also review an academic journal referenced in this video.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many benefits of having non-heterosexual parents. When a gay or lesbian couple chooses to adopt, artificially inseminate, or have a surrogate mother, the couple always want to nurture a child of their own and they have planned for it. On the other hand, some heterosexual couples may accidentally become pregnant when they did not want to have a child. This isn’t to say that it is wrong or bad to have an unplanned child, but sometimes a couple may not be ready or financially stable to support a child, which could then put strains on the family. Another benefit to same-sex couples is that they are often adopting children of minority races or children older than three-years-old. These two groups spend the most time in foster care so it is beneficial that these couples are getting them out of the system and into a loving home.
One study done by Abbie E. Goldberg, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, goes against conservatives’ claims and shows evidence that people raised in these nontraditional homes have actually developed emotionally stable, if not more stable than people raised in traditional family structures. For example, children of same-sex parents felt less restricted when it came to gender stereotypes. The study addressed the experiences and perceptions of 46 adults who were raised by at least one lesbian, gay, or bisexual parent. The adults were interviewed and asked how their LBG parent(s) influenced them as they were growing and developing. The analysis covered five topics: (1) the adults’ reflections on their value system in general, (2) their sensitivity to heterosexism (discrimination or prejudice against homosexuals on the assumption that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation) and how they respond to it, (3) their ideas about gender and sexuality, (4) their experiences negotiating membership in the LGB community, and (5) challenges they faced regarding trust and honesty.
- Many of the adults in the sample felt that having LGB parents made them more open-minded and non-judgmental people as well as being able to embrace diversity. Seeing the discrimination their parent’s faced, as well as the ridicule they faced from bullies in school, led them to understand minorities’ and marginalized people’s struggles. They could sympathize with other groups, even if unrelated to them, because they realize that they are people too just trying to fit into society, especially because they too are not in the “norm.”
- Growing up with same-sex parents, these adults learned throughout their lives that not everyone sees being gay as okay. In fact, many people see it as wrong, since we live in a heteronormative (relating to a worldview that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation) society. Many of the participants said they felt sensitive to society’s judgments and they took note of the misrepresentation or lack of representation of LGB people in the media or their lives outside of their family. For example, many participants would grimace at homophobic words/phrases like “fag” or “that’s so gay.” In addition to this, the heterosexual adults felt they needed to overcompensate their sexuality by making it extremely clear that they are well-adjusted adults, despite the fact they were raised by non-heterosexual parents. On the other hand, the homosexual adults felt they needed to mask or hide their sexualities in order to refrain from perpetuating the stereotype that homosexual parents raise homosexual children. They were highly sensitive to society’s expectations that they would “fail” when it comes to sexuality because of their parents who “failed” to raise them straight.
- Many adults in this study felt that having LGB parents helped them feel less restricted when it came to gender norms created by society. They realized that gender and sexuality is more fluid/flexible than society claims it to be. Many of the adults that thought of sexuality as being fluid felt that it existed on a continuum rather than being a binary (relating to, composed of, or involving two things), like being only gay or only straight. They felt more confident to explore their sexuality and embrace people and not focus on what gender they are and if they are solely gay or straight.
- As adults, the participants sought supportive communities and non-judgmental people in order to protect themselves and their family from hatred or prejudice. They were careful to select people into their intimate life, making sure they displayed no signs of homophobia or discrimination of marginalized groups in general. In addition to this, these adults were divided when it came to feeling like they belonged in the LGB or queer community. Some of the adults no longer felt they were a part of this community once they were living on their own and not under their same-sex parents’ household. Others, however, labeled themselves as culturally queer, meaning that they had been shaped and affected by the gay community’s values and ideals through their parents, regardless of the fact if they were straight or not.
- Some of the adults had issues with trust, while at the same time, highly valuing honesty in their relationships. This issue with trust rooted from their parents concealing their sexual orientations from them until later in life (this does not apply to children originally adopted by two same-sex parents). Because of their trust issues, it highly impacted their need for honesty when it comes to being involved with another person.
Ultimately, having (a) homosexual parent(s) can greatly influence children as they develop. I interpret their influence as being positive while also having some negative consequences, but no more negative than if they were raised in a traditional family with a mother and a father. I also feel it should be noted that some of the participants made it clear that having homosexual parents was not the most influential aspect of their lives. For two of the women in the study, their parents divorce influenced their development the most. Another male and female also noted that growing up in poverty was the biggest influencer in their lives.
So in conclusion, having one or more homosexual parents will influence many aspects of your life and development, but it will not be the ultimate determiner of who you are as a person and there will definitely not be any major, negative differences between children raised in nontraditional or traditional-style homes.