Parenting in lgbt homes
- Sexual orientation and gender role
- Homophobia and transphobia
- Trans parenting
- Developing methods
- Further reading
Sexual orientation and gender role
LGBT people can become parents through various means including current or former relationships, coparenting, adoption, foster care, donor insemination, reciprocal IVF, and surrogacy. A gay man, a lesbian, or a transgender person who transitions later in life may have children within an opposite-sex relationship, such as a mixed-orientation marriage, for various reasons.
A 1993 review published in the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage identified fourteen studies addressing the effects of LGBT parenting on children. The review concluded that all of the studies lacked external validity and that therefore: "The conclusion that there are no significant differences in children reared by lesbian mothers versus heterosexual mothers is not supported by the published research data base."
Homophobia and transphobia
In the United States, studies on the effect of gay and lesbian parenting on children were first conducted in the 1970s, and expanded through the 1980s in the context of increasing numbers of gay and lesbian parents seeking legal custody of their biological children. The widespread pattern of children being raised from infancy in two-parent gay or lesbian homes is relatively recent.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are parents. In the 2000 U.S. Census, for example, 33 percent of female same-sex couple households and 22 percent of male same-sex couple households reported at least one child under the age of 18 living in the home. As of 2005, an estimated 270,313 children in the United States live in households headed by same-sex couples.
According to a 2013-2014 survey conducted in Poland by the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IP PAN) on 3000 LGBT people in same-sex relationships living in the country, 9% (11.7% of women and 4.6% of men) of coupled LGBT people were parents. Canadian census in 2011 had similar conclusions to these of the Polish study - 9.4% of Canadian gay couples were bringing up children.
Scientific research consistently shows that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as those reared by heterosexual parents. Major associations of mental health professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Australia have not identified credible empirical research that suggests otherwise.
Some children do not know they have an LGBT parent; coming out issues vary and some parents may never reveal to their children that they identify as LGBT. Accordingly, how children respond to their LGBT parent(s) coming out has little to do with their sexual orientation or gender identification of choice, but rather with how either parent responds to acts of coming out; i.e. whether there is dissolution of parental partnerships or rather if parents maintain a healthy, open, and communicative relationship after coming out or during transition in the case of trans parents.
Insemination is a method used mostly by lesbian couples. It is when a partner is fertilised with donor sperm injected through a syringe. Some men donate sperm for humanitarian reasons, others for money or both. In some countries the donor can choose to be anonymous (for example in Spain) and in others he cannot have his identity withheld (United Kingdom).
To all our readers in the Netherlands,
We will get straight to the point: This Thursday we ask you to protect Wikipedia's independence. We depend on donations averaging about €10. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this gave €2, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of your coffee this Thursday is all we need. If cyberspace is the vast ocean, websites like Wikipedia are like the ships that leave Rotterdam and Amsterdam daily to every corner of the world. We don't have ads or paywalls as they are like dams and floodgates, controlling the flow of information. Wikipedia is a place for you to learn, not a place for advertising. It unites all of us who love knowledge: contributors, readers and the donors who keep us thriving. Please take a minute to help us keep Wikipedia growing and flood the world with free knowledge.
Many of these studies suffer from similar limitations and weaknesses, with the main obstacle being the difficulty in acquiring representative, random samples on a virtually invisible population. Many lesbian and gay parents are not open about their sexual orientation due to real fears of discrimination, homophobia, and threats of losing custody of their children. Those who do participate in this type of research are usually relatively open about their homosexuality and, therefore, may bias the research towards a particular group of gay and lesbian parents.