The Kids of Same-Sex Parents are All Right

Is there a difference between kids who were raised by same-sex parents and kids who were raised by opposite-sex parents?A study that was published in the Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics found that there was no differences between kids who were raised by same-sex parents and kids who were raised by opposite-sex parents. In short, children who were raised by lesbian or gay parents are just as healthy as kids who were raised by one man and one woman.

The study included children who were between the ages of 6 and 17. The researchers compared kids who were raised by same-sex female parents versus kids who were raised by different-sex parents. In both cases, the researchers looked at “continuously coupled parents”. Researchers compared family relationships, parenting stress, children’s general health, emotional difficulties, coping behavior, and learning behavior.

The researchers used the National Survey of Children’s Health on emotional and physical well being. They matched 95 same-sex female parent households to 95 different-sex parent households based on a variety of characteristics Some of those characteristics includes: parents’ age, parents’ level of education, whether parents were born in the United States, family residence (urban or rural), child’s age, child’s race, child’s gender, and whether the child was born in the United States or elsewhere.

The results of the study were described as follows: “Children with same-sex parents and different-sex parents demonstrated no differences in outcomes, despite female same-sex parents reporting more parenting stress. Future studies may reveal the sources of this parenting stress.”

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Nanette Gartrell attributes that extra parenting stress to perceived homophobia. She noted that same-sex parents feel pressed to justify the quality of their parenting more than heterosexual parents do.

This study contradicts previous studies that found same-sex parents had a negative impact on childhood outcomes such as lower incomes or lower physical and mental health. The problem with those studies is that the researchers were comparing same-sex families who had experienced a divorce with different-sex families that had stable households. The new study is a true “apples-to-apples” comparison.

Want to hear what some kids who were raised by an LGBTQ parent think? Gabriela Herman has been photographing and interviewing adult children who were raised by at least one LGBTQ parent. Her project is another example that the kids of same-sex parents, or who were raised by at least one LGBTQ parent, are all right.

Image by torbakhopper on Flickr

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