A lot of opponents to gay marriage and homosexuality in general like to argue that kids raised by lesbian and gay parents won’t grow up to be “normal” (whatever that means). They gripe that if your have two moms or two dads, you’ll grow up with gender, psychological, and sexual identity issues of your own. A new study came out (see what we did there?) that examines exactly how having lesbian or gay parents affects kids.
And guess what? When it comes to your gender and sexual identity, having lesbian or gay parents pretty much doesn’t give you issues. Booyah, homophobes!
Something called the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) examined 78 children of lesbian parents over time in California and Amsterdam, and it was determined that the lack of a father figure–and the presence of two women–didn’t cause any kind of psychological problems for the kids. One of the doctors in the study explained it in a little more depth. “Our [study] is an in-depth, longitudinal, prospective (meaning it is happening in real time, not asking questions about events that occurred 30 years ago) study of planned lesbian families (meaning that the mothers were out, identified as lesbian, before the children we have been studying were born) that began 26 years ago.”
This means the study is a lot different from one the University of Texas conducted recently that claimed children of gay parents grow up to have a whole slew of problems. The University of Texas study came under some deservedly harsh criticism for the conclusions it drew. The University of Texas study examined 3,000 children whose parents were at one time or another been involved in a same-sex relationship–but who weren’t necessarily in one now, nor even identified as lesbian or gay. That’s a lot different than being in a planned family with a stable partnership of any gender pairing at its foundation, so the homosexuality factor is hard to draw an accurate conclusion from. If a child’s parents are unsure of or in denial of their own sexuality, or if their parents aren’t in stable relationships, then, yeah, the child may not be perfectly adjusted. But it’s super important to know all of the factors at play here–and the child having gay parents is only one of them. It’s irresponsible and ignorant to assume otherwise.
This isn’t to say children of planned families with lesbian or gay parents have it perfectly smooth sailing, either. Half of the couples in the NLLFS have since split (the study began in 1986), but kept both parents in the children’s lives to maintain as much stability as possible.
What’s the gist of all this? Every family is different, no matter what the genders of the parents are. But the pattern seems to be that planned families with mature and stable partners, even if they’re split, do the best. And that’s pretty much common sense. So whether you have a mom and dad, two moms, or two dads, whether you have straight or gay parents–as long as you have structure and love, chances are you’re gonna be just fine.
Do you have gay parents? Do you think having gay parents can psychologically damage a child, or do you think gay parents can be beneficial? Do you think it makes no difference? Sound off in the comments!