5 Gay Parenting Myths


Gay Parents Raise Kids the Same as Straight Parents

Gay parents may be different, but they aren't deficient.
Gay parents may be different, but they aren't deficient.
Kevin Kornemann/Getty Images

The idea that same-sex couples raise children and manage households identically to straight parents might seem like something gay parenting advocates would want to preserve, but it simply isn't accurate. And that isn't a negative thing.

Until the early 2000s, research on gay parenting and child development outcomes were largely focused on drawing parallels between LGBT and heterosexual parents as a way to remove sexual orientation as some sort of dangerous ingredient in the complicated stew of child rearing. But, as New York University sociologist Judith Stacey points out, differences don't equate deficiencies in this case [source: Stacey and Biblartz]. Research has highlighted some unique hallmarks of lesbian parenting, including more equal division of chores and childcare and greater parent-child emotional openness [source: Belkin].

Of course, just as not all heterosexual couples make identical decisions and establish uniform household rules, neither do LGBT parents. But since data have clearly demonstrated that kids raised by gay and lesbian parents grow into successful, well-adjusted young adults, parents of all stripes can take away an important lesson: There is more than one road to raising a happy, healthy child.

Author's Note: 5 Gay Parenting Myths

Negative stereotypes about gay and lesbian parenting are beginning to fall by the wayside as the social definition of "family" has broadened beyond the heterosexual nuclear unit. While some moral objections remain, scientific research also has reiterated that children raised by gay or lesbian parents turn out just as healthy and happy as their peers. Maintaining objectivity on politically dicey topics like gay marriage and parenting can be a challenging tightrope to navigate, whereas myth-busting based on data and fact is a much more straightforward endeavor. And though science can't explain away lingering moral or religious anxieties about such non-normative households, it can offer plenty of empirical evidence to debunk stuck-in-the-mud stereotypes, like the preceding Top 5 Gay Parenting Myths.

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