Effects of Gay and Lesbian Parents on Children Essay

Intoduction

            In the past, condemnation of gays and lesbian are blatant that it creates dehumanizing effects especially to the children of homosexuals. The social stigma being put to homosexuals are merely destructing in one’s personality. The treatment to them is too harsh that can damage child’s mental behavior. It is also recognized before as disease or mental disorder until 1970’s upon the uplifting made by  “American Psychological Association” (Gloria Hochman, 2003). Since then people became more aware of the true nature homosexual and studies were held in understanding of gays and lesbians especial to their children’s development.

In present societies around the world, there is an increase in numbers of gays and lesbians living together because, in spite of so much disgrace upon settling with the same sex, gays and lesbians of today are becoming much more assertive and progressive as clearly proves by so many organizations emerging in most of the countries that promote their welfare. The continuous struggle of gays and lesbian in the society is a form of affirming their strong desire to achieve equality and experience the way of life that heterosexuals have.

Building a Family

            Cohabitate is the usual preference of two gays or two lesbians in order to further develop and strengthen the existing relationship between them. After all, this is the usual aspiration of most individual in a society. Having a partner in life is the most valuable achievement because the emotional part of human being is being satisfied. And gays and lesbians also deserve to settle to another person who has the same sexual preference.  Later, they will come up to the realization that having a partner is not enough in fulfilling a relationship. The need to have a child will come to their mind to complete their own conception of a family that heterosexuals easily achieve since the governing standards of family favors to them (heterosexuals).  A family does not only include two individual but also a child or children that they can nurture and enabling them to express their love and care.

This is one of the difficulties encountered by gays and lesbian because of common misconceptions about them regarding their capabilities of parenthood such as “Homosexuality is immoral”, “Children will be molested by homosexual parents”, “Children will be teased and harassed”, “Children raised in homosexual households will become gay” and “Children will develop problems growing up in an ‘unnatural’ lifestyle” (Gloria Hochman, 2003). These mistaken beliefs create a barrier for gays and lesbians in enabling them to experience building their own “home”. Instead of being pessimistic about the current situation, gays and lesbians choose to struggle and prove the non existence of these misconceptions

Parenthood

            Parenthood is not as easy as it is, thus, it is considered as one of the major decisions faces by gays and lesbians. In Parenting 101, achieving success in parenthood is balancing the “3F’s” that stands for “Firm”, “Fair” and “Friendly” (“Parenting 101”, 1998- 2006 ). Although it is not impossible to achieve, it is quite difficult to practice regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents. Nevertheless the practice of these three would create positive effects among the children. Another guide in parenthood is the book authored by Edward L. Schor entitled “Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12”  that provides wide ranging advices in handle the development of children especially in the crucial stage of “adolescence” (Schor, 1999). This will be of great help for gays and lesbians in undertaking parenthood.

Effects on Children

            Undeniably, the effects of gays and lesbians to children clearly exist because of the early interaction the same manner in heterosexual parents. Obviously, parents have a great influence over their children it is the primary source of socialization before other factors’ influences will create impact to their personality. However it does not mean that the effects would be negative and disadvantageous to children if their parents are gays and lesbians.  This is clearly manifested in the study of “American Psychological Association”. Despite of critiques given by other sectors in our society, the result of this study remains substantial and strong in enlightening the public about gays and lesbians particularly with regard to the issues concerning the children.(Patterson, 1995).This increase the morale, that has long been tarnished in the society, of gays and lesbians in insisting their right

            In enlightening the public the study addresses the issues of children in gays and lesbians parenthood given by the courts such as “development of sexual identity”, “other aspects of personal development” and “social relationships” (Patterson, 1995). The clarity of these three issues is necessary in assuring the public that the gays and lesbians effect on children is not as bad as other heterosexual people believe. And this will help in fully understanding and accepting of gays and lesbian to their chosen family life by heterosexuals in the society.

“Development of Sexual Identity”

            The identification of sexual preference is necessary in every person, which is quite common process in human development. According to the research conducted by Colby College, sexual identity pertains to the individual desirability of personality relative to the common grouping in society as being “man” and “woman” (“Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transsexual Transgendered Intersexed Queer Questioning (GLBTTIQQ)”, 2006). The belief that “Children raised in homosexual households will become gay” has been clarified by many studies (Gloria Hochman, 2003).

Common people are easily persuaded by the idea that major negative effect of gays and lesbians is the modification of sexual identity bias to homosexuals. In fact, it became the widespread notion of the people whenever they encounter gay or lesbian partners having children. “Heterosexism”, the barring other sexual orientation in many aspects of society because of the notion that “heterosexual” is supreme than other (“Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transsexual Transgendered Intersexed Queer Questioning (GLBTTIQQ)”, 2006), usually arises and the problem with this is the discrimination being experience among gays and lesbian family. But in examining the children’s behavior in gay and lesbian families, the result might challenge to this tale.

Peery argued that children are expected to be the same as their parents as seen in many aspects such as family dimension, “educational attainment, “career choice” and much more particular in choosing sexual identity, however, a counter argument was given by another researcher that the mere fact that “homosexuals” arises in “heterosexual” family clearly indicates the non existence of direct relationship between sexual identity of the parents and sexual identity of the children. In support to this, Tremitier states that a large number of children from big family prefer small family, which directly refutes Peery’s argument regarding the choices of children of family dimension  (Gloria Hochman, 2003). See for instance when a gay or lesbian raised in a conventional family, the parents can not possibly change him/her into a straight girl or boy albeit their strong desire to do so. Also according to the study of “APA”, for the record, the data in the study does not suggest any involvedness of sexual identity of parents to the sexual identity of their children (Patterson, 1995). The children’s continuing process of growth and maturity is much more powerful in deciding what they truly feel and their inner self will eventually tell them the sexual identity they accept and not what the parents or any other individual tell them to do so. In other words, it is not the parents’ sexual identity that will dictate what the sexual identity of their children.

         In terms of “Gender-role Behavior”, which has been carefully analyze in order to fully understand of effects to children of gay and lesbian parents, study shows the action actions of children is the same in conventional family. The mentality of the parents in both types of parents is the same that clearly seen in the way their “toy preferences”, “activities”, “interest”, or “occupational choices” (Patterson, 1995). Another study conducted by “Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI)” concluded that there is no dependence cause “masculinity” and “femininity” of the parents to the children (Patterson, 1995).

“Other Aspects of Personal Development”

            For the reason of uncommonness of gays and lesbians families relative to the whole population and the non customary way of living of gays and lesbian with regard to the society, people suggest the there is a negative effect to the children’s development. In the article of Working with Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents states that children of gays and lesbians are susceptible to mockery from other children (Gloria Hochman, 2003). This is usually the result of aforementioned about “Heterosexism” in the society. People believe that the there will be irregularities in the way children will deal to their environment outside the family. However a lot of researches and studies suggest otherwise.

            Researcher of children’s “aspects of personal development”, whose parents are gays and lesbians, such as “separation-individuation”, “psychiatric evaluation”, “assessments of behavior problems”, “personality”, “self-concept” among others, provide no reason to worry to the development of children under the supervision of gays and lesbians. Although in the study of Patterson in regard to “self-concept” that in lesbian parents the anxiety is more than heterosexual parents, however the existence of a “greater overall sense of well-being” of children in lesbian parents leads her to the conclusion that the performance of gays and lesbians as parents is excellent in children’s’ development (Patterson, 1995).

Indeed a sense of well being is the most important thing that parents can be imparted to children. Although anxiety must be also be addressed by the parents. Since the gay and lesbian parents are well conscious about the possible negative influences to children by other individual especially the mockery of “peer groups”, they are able to make certain actions on how to handle the predicament as presented by many professional upon studying the families of gays and lesbians (Gloria Hochman, 2003). In this sense the children can be equipped on how to handle the mockery of other people so that their self-worth will not be weakened.

“Social Relationships”

            The social environment in which the interaction of children takes place can either help or hinder children. Thus it is important to carefully analyze the behaviors of children coming from gay and lesbian families to their environment in order to identify if there is a strong effect of the gay and lesbian parents that is quite disturbing. Surprisingly, in the studies made by many researchers, a more optimistic result was found in the analysis of relationships of children of gay and lesbian parents to other persons. Golombok among others detailed those children as well as gay and lesbian parents have “normal development of peer relationships”. This due to the support of the individuals whose truly appreciate and recognize their well being. Another study conducted by Harris and Turner, in the case of divorce parents, the children of gay and lesbian parents have a more cooperative relationship with regards to their previous mother of father after the separation as compared to divorce heterosexual parents (Patterson, 1995).

            In terms of the issue on the abused children within the family of gays and lesbians, the study of APA illuminates the public. There is an alarm from other sector especially religious organizations and children’s advocate that blatantly express their disapproval of gay and lesbian parenthood because of high possibility of abuse under the presence of homosexual to the children, however, this was disproves by “Child Welfare League of America”  and presented that “pedophiles” committed by heterosexual males reaches to “ninety percent” of the overall cases (Gloria Hochman, 2003). And because of this, the institution’s policy regarding adoption clearly states that “Sexual preference should not be the sole criteria on which the suitability of the adoptive applicants is based and consideration should be given to other personality and maturity factors and on the ability of the applicant to meet the specific needs of the individual child” (Gloria Hochman, 2003) .  Investigators provide substantial information that heterosexual male are to be expected to commit “sexual abuse” to children. So the prejudice of other people that the gays and lesbian would likely to abuse children has no concrete source of study (Patterson, 1995). Many other studies also support this conclusion in regard to sexual abuse on children.

Summary and Conlusion

            Summing up the study conducted by APA, the institution substantially proves with the back up previous studies that the effects of gay and lesbian parents on children is positive  in constructing “psychosocial relationships” in the present relationship and those children of gay and lesbian parents have the same advantage as compared to children of heterosexual parents (Patterson, 1995). Many misconceptions about child rearing of gays and lesbians have been proven false.

            In spite of these positive effects on children of gays and lesbian parenting provided by many studies and research, the society is still having difficulty accepting it. The wrong perceptions about gays and lesbian family of many people are still rooted to the foundation of strong bias to what religion dictates. Prejudices still exist in the society that keeps on haunting gays in lesbians in their fulfillment in life.

            These positive effects on children must be considered in accepting and letting gays and lesbians to have a family on their own despite of the non normative way of living. It does not mean that if particular way of living does not conform to the norms governing in a society, it is wrong. By carefully taking into consideration the benefits to the child’s development, a much more enhance psychosocial development for the children regardless of sexuality of the parents.

References:

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transsexual Transgendered Intersexed Queer Questioning (GLBTTIQQ). (2006).   Retrieved November, 2006, from http://www.colby.edu/diversity/glbttiqq_q&a.pdf

Gloria Hochman, M. P., and Anna Huston (2003). Working with Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents.   Retrieved November 17, 2006, from http://www.adoptions.com/aecgaylez.cfm

Parenting 101. (1998- 2006 ).   Retrieved November 17, 2006, from http://www.cdipage.com/

Patterson, C. J. (1995). Lesbian and Gay Parenting.   Retrieved November 17, 2006, from http://www.apa.org/pi/parent.html#I.%20SUMMARY%20OF%20RESEARCH%20FINDINGS

Schor, E. L. (1999). “Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5-12”  624 pages.