Myths about gay & lesbian parenting

1. Children need male and female role models
Children need loving men and women in their lives. It would be unhealthy for the parents to be the only role models in any family. Good parents can find an abundance of positive role models of many different ages, races, abilities and interests. Research clearly demonstrates that parenting skills within the family are much more important than the sexes of the parents . Same sex parents are a part of their extended families with grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as a part of their childrens’ lives, as well as scout leaders, schoolteachers and sports coaches providing a range of role models.

2.The traditional family will collapse
In Australia today we have step families, blended families, single parent families, grandparents parenting their grandchildren, families where the parents are married and where they are not and an increasing number of families with same sex parents. The traditional family hasn’t collapsed – it has grown.

3. Gay parents will abuse their children
Some people confuse homosexuality with paedophilia. In fact the majority of paedophilic perpetrators, including those who abuse boys, identify as heterosexual .

4. Gays can’t produce children therefore they are not ‘meant’ to have them
Gay people are producing children. The children already exist. Legally recognising same sex parents is not about giving gay people the ‘right’ to have children – everyone, even gay people, already has the right to have children. It is about recognising the family structures that children are being born into. In the 2001 Australian Census, an estimated 4,000 same sex couples were living with children.   And in a 2009 community survey taken by a gay media organisation , 40% of lesbians said they intended to have children at some stage. The law needs to catch up.

5. Gay parents raise gay kids

Does that mean that heterosexual parents only raise heterosexual kids? To date, most gay people have been raised by heterosexual parents. Parents cannot “train” their children to be a sexual orientation. Inevitably, most kids growing up with gay parents will be heterosexual. Those that do turn out to be gay will have grown up in an accepting environment where their sexuality is respected.

6. The gay lifestyle is not suitable for children

What is the “heterosexual lifestyle”? Heterosexuals have many “lifestyles”: they may be an active member of a mosque; they may be an avid football fan; they may get drunk every evening; they may make model trains or breed dogs; they may be nudists or greenies or anti-abortion activists. To say there is one “gay lifestyle” is as meaningless as saying there is only one “heterosexual lifestyle”.

7. The children will be bullied because the parents are gay
Child bullying is abhorrent. Our communities and our leaders should be doing everything they can to prevent it. This means encouraging communities to be more accepting of diversity, rather than preventing gay people/Indigenous people/NESB people from having children because the children may be bullied.

8. God/Allah/Jehovah says homosexuality is wrong
Some members of some religions do believe homosexuality is wrong. Other members (e.g. Bishop Desmond Tutu) are convinced that the persecution of same sex attracted people is wrong. In Australia, the 100Revs project recently involved 100 Christian leaders apologising to the gay community for the church’s treatment . Faith-based communities provide guidance for people who choose to follow those faiths. But as Australia is a secular country, the opinions of some people from some religions should not be the sole determining factor for law making that affects all of us.

9. The American College of Paediatrics (or other important sounding organisation) says same sex parents are bad for children

Unfortunately, some people set up “front groups” with important sounding names to deceive ordinary people into thinking that scientific evidence supports their view. In fact, “Rarely is there as much consensus in any area of social science as in the case of gay parenting, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics and all of the major professional organizations with expertise in child welfare have issued reports and resolutions in support of gay and lesbian parental rights”cited in Cooper & Cates, 2006, p. 36 These include the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychotherapy Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Australian Psychological Society. All conclude that the research indicates there is no evidence that same sex parenting is  inferior, and that “Children’s optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes

10. It’s not normal/natural to be gay
It is “normal” to be gay, it’s just not as common as heterosexuality. Just because something is not common does not mean it is bad. Red hair is not the norm. Left handedness is not the norm. But, like gayness, these characteristics are a perfectly natural part of human variation.

11. We shouldn’t provide special rights for gays
Our treatment of minority groups is a measure of us as a society. Sometimes there is a need for laws, policies and programs to help address disadvantage, such as overcoming racism or improving access for people with disabilities. However, treating same sex parents and their children the same way as we treat heterosexual parents and their children is not “special treatment”.

12. If we make it easy to be gay, heterosexual people will turn gay

Gay people are courageous. We must find ways to live positive lives in the face of social and family disapproval, police and religious persecution, and threats of physical violence. Perhaps if we were not persecuted, some people who are “closeted” would feel comfortable coming out. Perhaps less gay youth would commit suicide. However, social acceptance will not change anyone’s innate sexual orientation.

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4 Responses to “Myths about gay & lesbian parenting”


  1. […] just posted twelve Myths about gay & lesbian parenting – you’ll find it under “resources and research” at the top right of this […]


  2. […] to what to expect. Check out the research into same sex parenting, here and here. Have a look at the common concerns about rainbow parenting.  Get clear on how the current lack of recognition affects you (or the person you are supporting, […]

  3. Tony Dustan Says:

    Hi
    I am gay and wondered if there were any gay guys in that awful Calais clearance of “illegal” immigrants’ ?
    I have home and income to support one of them.
    Or would that be too complicated?
    Tony D.


  4. […] documents with me: – The Action Reform Change Qld (ARCQ) position paper – Summary of the research – Myths about gay & lesbian parenting – “Meet the families” – some real life stories about how the laws  currently […]

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