Homosexual Parents: The Myths and Stereotypes

by Beverly Greene
June 1996

Lately there has been a lot of debate going on around the world concerning nontraditional parents, including gays and lesbians. All over the world, people are asking the same questions. Do we have the right to have children? Should we be allowed to adopt children? Is it harmful to the children to grow up in a home with homosexual parents? Will our children be gay? With all of these questions on everyone's minds, do we have any answers?

Well, some researchers would say yes. Some studies show that lesbian and gay parents raise unstable children who are more likely to be gay, thus emotionally unstable and unhappy. Some other studies show that this is not true, that children are just as likely to be gay or straight as children of straight parents. They also show that these kids are just as likely, no more and no less, to suffer from emotional problems. So where do we find answers?

While most gays and lesbians know that there is nothing wrong with us being parents, we seem to have to prove it to the rest of the world beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are as good, responsible, and loving as parents as our heterosexual counterparts. Sound like a criminal trial? Well, it is. Our rights are what we have to defend and fight for. Face it, we're guilty until proven innocent! While gays and lesbians are making small progresses in some areas of civil rights, little is being done to protect the rights of homosexuals to parent children, either biological or not.

Well, let's look at these questions logically. Does a gay or lesbian parent make a child more likely to be gay or lesbian? In my opinion, of course not. No truly comprehensive study has been done that proves this either way. However, most gays and lesbians do not have gay or lesbian parents, therefore, if gays and lesbians come out of straight families, what makes people think that the same percentage (perhaps slightly lower) of children from gay and lesbians households won't be straight? Perhaps it is the fear that we want to take over the world and sexually enslave all straight people, or something else just as outlandish or absurd. Who knows what makes some of these idiots think they way they do?

Ok, so, if we don't believe that children are more likely to grow up gay or lesbian just because they have two mommies or two daddies (which would make them luckier than a lot of kids!), would gay or lesbian couples (singles) be good parents? This question is laughable to me! Why wouldn't we? We are not abnormal people. The only way we are different from any other human is in the sex that we choose to commit our lives too. Other than that, we have our jerks and we have our wonderful, nurturing, caring people, just like any other group of human beings. So, yes, of course we could make just as good parents as straight couples (singles), and in some cases, better.

I think that one of the main concerns of most of the opponents to gay and lesbian parents if that of child abuse. Well, if they had taken the time to read the extensive research done on child sexual abuse they would know that the majority of abuse is done to a child of the opposite sex. However, when the abuse does occur with a child of the same sex, in most cases, the abuser is not a gay at all, they are a pedophile which is entirely different. They are people who can not have sex with adults for various psychological reasons. So, they prey on the innocence and trusting nature of the children they have access too, which is most often a child of the same sex.

Of course, there are some gay and lesbian pedophiles, just like there are straight pedophiles. I'm not trying to say that this does not occur in our community, only that we are not all that way. In fact, there are no more (percentage wise) pedophiles in the lesbian and gay community than there are in a straight community. A gay pedophile/abuser/rapist/murder just make a better front page story! We must protect our children from this type of horrid abuse, but by trying to prevent same sex couples from raising children is NOT the way!!

I've also heard the argument that more gays and lesbians were abused as children and are therefore more likely to abuse their own children. Again, I ask these people to look at the available statistics. 1 in every 3 woman suffered some sort of sexual attack before the age of 18. Some studies suggest that 1 in 5 men also suffered some sort of sexual assault before the age of 18. Even with the most generous estimate, that is no where near the same numbers of gays and lesbians in the population. Gays and lesbians who were abused are no more and no less likely to carry on the cycle of abuse than their heterosexual counterparts. Getting involved in the fight to prevent and get help for survivors of child abuse is something we ALL need to do to help the future be better than the past.

It has been suggested again and again that some sort of childhood abuse is one of the factors resulting in homosexuality. I have yet to see a study that would confirm or deny this. However, I do personally believe that this is an absurd idea created to make us seem sick and give hope to those who believe that we just need some therapy and then we could be "good", "normal" people. I do know lesbians who were abused as children, myself included. I also know of lots who were not. On the other hand, I know just as many, if not more heterosexuals who were abused. The idea behind this concept is that a child experiences abuse at the hands of the opposite sex and therefore recoils from the opposite sex and thus becomes homosexual. Others, starting with Freud (who, by the way, had a lesbian daughter!) have suggested that a child was so bonded/not bonded to a parent of the same sex that they seek out the same sex to get that bond throughout life. Yet others have said that adults try to gain some sort of respect/love/approval from the abusing sex by proxy in that they seek out same sex partners who remind them of the abusive parent. I know, I know, all of these ideas not only contradict themselves, they are also just plain hard to follow since the train of thought behind them is so warped. Apparently, anything and everything is a "reason" for homosexuality, giving some hope that it might be "curable". However, if this theories did hold true, wouldn't the heterosexuals be in the gross minority of the population? (Just some food for thought there!)

I don't pretend to know what "causes" homosexuality. I don't think there is one true answer. Some believe that they choose it while others believe that it is something they were born with. I do know, however, that gays and lesbians are not that different from other humans and we deserve the same rights given without a second thought to heterosexuals. We all want to stop child abuse and have healthy, emotionally stable children, but don't keep homosexuals from our right, privilege, and joy of having and raising children. So, my challenge to all of you (homosexual and heterosexual) is to get involved with the fight against child abuse, join the push for parenting classes for ALL to be parents (hopefully BEFORE conception), and put stiffer laws in to force to punish child abusers more severely. Keeping gays and lesbians from being parents is NOT the answer to any of the problems our children face today! Love is the only answer, and that knows no boundaries!

Beverly Greene, 20, is from British Columbia, Canada. She can be reached online at: poetica@Unix.infoserve.net.
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