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Note: this blog post was originally published on Kinsey Confidential.
Recent research on the impact of parents’ sexual orientation on their children has indicated that the children of same-sex couples are just as healthy and happy as the children of different-sex (heterosexual) couples. In fact, they might even have an advantage over the children of heterosexual couples.
Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Parents
Researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA have found that a substantial number of same-sex couples report having one or more children, a number that’s not far from the number of heterosexual couples that report having children.
A host of researchers in the social sciences have attempted to compare the parenting styles and effectiveness of same-sex and different-sex couples in an effort to replace myths about the impact of parents’ sexual orientation on children with documented findings.
Sociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy J. Biblarz conclude, in their review of these studies, that parents’ sexual orientation has little, if any, impact on children; in fact, parents’ gender actually has an impact that trumps the impact of sexual orientation.
That being said, then, it may come as no surprise that the latest study in this line of research has found some evidence that lesbians make better parents than heterosexuals: their children are less likely to trapped in rigid, traditional gender roles and are more likely to pursue prestigious male-dominated careers regardless of their gender.
Same-Sex Couples As Role Models For New Parents
Adding to this research is the awareness that same-sex couples, in general, tend to be more intentional and thoughtful in their journey to parenthood.
That is, unlike the ease at which heterosexuals may become pregnant, same-sex couples tend to pursue means that are not likely to occur by accident: adoption, egg/sperm donation, surrogate parents.
So, when same-sex couples do become parents, they have likely spent a great deal of time planning and strategizing, and have decided that they’re ready and willing to be parents. In addition to producing kids that are more likely to reject rigid gender roles and traditional gendered careers (e.g., women as nurses, men as doctors), same-sex couple parents can serve as a role model for others to be very careful and intentional in their sexual behaviors and family decision-making.
Open communication between partners and the use of safe sex practices (e.g., the pill, condoms, regular sexual health check-ups and sexually transmitted infection testing) can reduce the number of unexpected (and, in some cases, unintended) pregnancies, like that in the recent hit movie, Knocked Up.