Change often causes a division between those that are in support of the change, and those that aren't. Gay and lesbian parenting is one such change. Supportive people tend to reflect on the positive benefits of having gay or lesbian parents while those who are not supportive may claim unreal negatives linked to having two moms or two dads. Research studies have been completed on gay and lesbian parenting with some interesting, myth-busting results.
Myth: Parenting Choices are Influenced by Sexual Orientation
Fact: According to a 1999 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), gay and lesbian parents did not parent based upon their sexual orientation. The ACLU states that “good parenting” involves supplying a nurturing home with love from both parents and gay/lesbian parents can effectively offer that to their children.
Myth: Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents Grow Up Unhappy
Fact: The same 1999 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), revealed children of gay and lesbian parents were just as happy as children raised by heterosexual parents. This could be true and untrue at the same time. In 2004, Barbara Walters interviewed children of gay and lesbian couples to find that some had problems during middle school years when peer pressure and teasing was heaviest. Some skeptics may state that all children have trouble during middle school years with these same issues whether parents are gay or not.
Myth: Children of Gay and Lesbian Couples are Less Intelligent
Fact: There are no known studies that support the idea that children of gay and lesbian couples are less intelligent. Children are also not proven to suffer additional mental problems, behavioral problems, drug addiction or eating disorders.
Myth: Gay and Lesbian Parents Cannot Provide Good Foster and Adoption Homes
Fact: Each year, more and more children enter the foster system with fewer couples willing to adopt. With research supporting the gay and lesbian parental unit, there is no reason to stop them from opening a well-rounded home to a child that would otherwise by stuck in the system. There are research studies, however, that link a lack of a supportive home unit to problems throughout childhood and adulthood.
As long as there are alternative lifestyles there will be myths and facts to set straight. Not every gay and lesbian couple is perfect for parenthood – but not every heterosexual couple is either. There are pros and cons of every parent, independent of their sexual orientation.