Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) couples across the United States are parents. Some are conceived in heterosexual union, others have conceived (or raised from birth) children either as single parents or in committed relationships through adoption, alternate insemination, surrogate or foster parenting. Attitudes regarding same-sex relationships have improved over the last several years. In 2010, Pew Research Center conducted a study that found an estimated 43% of the American population said LGBT couples raising a child was bad (down 7% from 2007). Not surprisingly, those individuals that were college graduates were more accepting of LGBT parents (36% said it was bad), compared to those individuals without a college education (46%).
So is it really so bad? Can having LGBT parents affect a child’s social or moral development? Can LGBT parents negatively impact a child’s self-esteem or create an identity crisis for the child? All the evidence suggests – No. James Smithers, President and Founder of Polaris Counseling says this, “it all boils down to the quality of the parent-child relationship the same way it does in a more traditional family dynamic. Almost all the research shows that a parent’s sexual orientation has no effect on a child’s emotional and social development. LGBT parents do, however, face the unique challenge of guiding their children through a number of social pressures (sometimes teasing and bullying) that arise in junior high and high school. It is important that LGBT parents help prepare their child to deal with questions and comments about their family, role-play specific scenarios and create an environment of open communication. Like any other family they will have their ups and downs, but they are no more likely to raise a budding sociopath or an LGBT child than the next family!”