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5 Gay Parenting Myths

Kids Will Be Gay
Having gay parents doesn't predispose children to homosexuality.
Having gay parents doesn't predispose children to homosexuality.
Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images

One of the most common anxieties regarding LGBT parenting is that the children will, inevitably, come out as homosexual. To that, University of Virginia psychologist Charlotte J. Patterson points out that such anxiety is unfounded, since non-heterosexual orientation was long ago eliminated as a disorder or illness. Still, regardless of whether homosexuality is viewed as a negative outcome for a child, the statistics indicate that children don't necessarily inherit the identical gender and sexual identities of their parents.

Research on kids raised by lesbian couples (data on gay male parenting remains relatively sparse) has found that they conform less to pink-and-blue divided gender roles and stereotypes, but a majority ultimately identify as heterosexual in adulthood [sources: Park, Patterson]. For example, in one 1989 study of adolescents raised by lesbians and heterosexual parents, the only participant to identify as homosexual belonged to a hetero-headed household [source: Patterson].

A controversial 2010 study from Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm did suggest that gay and lesbian parents may sway their children's orientations toward non-heterosexuality [source: Schumm]. In his examination of 262 children of gay fathers and lesbian mothers, the number of those who identified as LGBT spanned from 16 to 57 percent. Schumm's research did, however, come under fire from other academics who criticized the study' small sample size of 262, which may have inadvertently inflated the results [source: Kix].

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