Why is there so much prejudice against gay parenting?
Who decides that homosexuals cannot be parents? Within society there has been opposition toward it due to the idea that homosexuality is not natural. But homosexuals are parents, many from previous heterosexual relationships, others through adoption, and very few from sperm donors or invitro fertilization. Research done on these situations has shown no negative effects toward the child. If the child is brought up in a loving environment it does not matter weather one mother, two fathers, or one mother and one father are the people raising the child. The risk of molestation or any other form of abuse of a child, which is being raised by a homosexual, is the same, if not lower that of that of a child being raised by heterosexuals. The standard which society sets for a family and who may raise a child should be examined and reevaluated to include loving parents, not just heterosexual couples.
Society has a huge problem with homosexuals having and raising children; this problem is sprung from the idea that homosexuality is not natural. This idea then leads to the argument that since homosexuality is not natural, is it natural for homosexuals to raise or have children? Lets say that it is normal for there to be homosexuals then the argument is that God has prevented them from having children, and they are not meant to raise children. If one takes this argument then you have to take into consideration that by this definition society is condemning heterosexual couples that can not have children. Is this what society wants?
Most children that are contained in a homosexual relationship are from previous heterosexual relationships, although the percentages are moving toward the other two forms and the percentages are starting to even out (Shapiro 1996). Gaining custody of a child or children from a previous heterosexual relationship is the most common form of children being placed in a homosexual “family”. This form of placing a child in a homosexual family is the least controversial because there is one parent from the child’s original family. This particular form is the most socially acceptable because the child has usually experienced the relationship that their heterosexual parents had. This means that the child would have a more diverse and better view of his/her choices to do with sexuality; having a better view than a child from a heterosexual relationship.
Adoption is another way for homosexuals to acquire children. Some issues relating to this are: if one takes the argument that homosexuals were not made to have children, then you have to agree that heterosexual couples that are not able to have children, should not be able to adopt. (Brienza) The fact of the matter is that we as humans have a common urge or desire to raise children regardless of our sexual tendencies and there should not be any discrimination due to social prejudices.
The most controversial way that homosexuals are having children is through the use of donor sperm or Invitro fertilization for the lesbians. Lesbians are artificially inseminated by gaining access to sperm and impregnating themselves. There are two ways for lesbians to become impregnated. Either a man inseminates them naturally, or they go to a sperm bank. This is the major issue because of the very fact that gays cannot have children with their partners, this problem is only there, once again, because of social prejudice. It is socially acceptable for heterosexual couples or females to conceive by non-natural methods, but when a lesbian wants to have a child and follow her natural tendencies there is an uproar.
The research that has been done with children raised in gay families is very limited and there have been no documented case studies. This is because the issue has only really come to a head in the last 20 years. This means that the long-term effects, if any, on the child’s mental health have not had a chance to be recognized. The research that has been done, however; has not uncovered any adverse effects.
The main issue is the family environment that the child is being raised in. If a child is raised in a loving and stable home, they are generally classed as normal children and they usually grow up to join the bulk of society. (Crawford) So the question is whether a loving and stable gay family is different from a loving and stable heterosexual family. There are a lot of good aspects of children being raised in gay families. The children have a greater openness toward minority groups and other groups that are subject to social prejudice. (Benkov) Prejudice is the highest form of ignorance and since the child has grown up in an environment that is very open and they have experienced discrimination at a high level, they will inevitably be more accepting. Children that are raised in homosexual homes are not as affected by taunts when they are growing up as similar children raised in heterosexual homes. This means that these children are much better equipped to cope with schoolyard bullying. Wouldn’t it be a good thing that children do not worry about these situations as much? As a result of the children understanding that major taunts are more important than schoolyard minor problem they would not dish out insults.
The main concern of society isn’t that gays as humans are raising children but the affect that being gay is going to have on the children, and whether or not they are going to turn out “normal.” An American study found that children of homosexual parents have similar IQs, develop typical friendships, have a normal mental health and are no more likely to be confused about their sexuality (Shapiro 1996). This is not to say that the children are distributed in the same ratio in sexual preference. Actually, homosexual parents have a higher percentage of gay offspring. This is unlikely to do with the parenting style of the gay parents; however, considering that the latest research shows that homosexuality is largely genetic (Shapiro 1996). It may mean that there is an earlier realization of the child’s sexual preference.
The general social idea is that, both a mom and a dad are essential for a balanced upbringing. If we take the example of a boy, he needs both a mom and a dad for the various parts of his mental and physical development so he can turn out to be a normal man (Not In Their Best Interest). The very fact that normal is dictated by society is the biggest downfall in this argument. If being gay were fully acknowledged by society and seen as part of being normal then there would be no problem with a “normal” gay person raising children. If homosexuality is genetic then being gay is part of being normal. This means that it would make sense if gay parents raised gay children for the very reason that the parents would be more open and less prejudiced about being gay. Another advantage of gay parents raising children is that they are raised in a world that they can see both sides to sexuality and they can make a more informed choice and follow their inner sexuality.
There is only one more issue that is of major concern to the general population and that is the one of pedophilia. This is a major concern because:”Even though homosexuals represent less than three percent of the US population, at least on-third of all child molestations involve homosexual activity. Thus, the propensity for pedophilia is far higher among homosexuals”(Dudley 1992).
Going on these factors, it is a very big risk to let homosexuals raise children. These results are not of homosexual parents but are of homosexual activity, thus not all performed by homosexuals and there is a very slim chance that the figures would include gay parents. If one thinks about the possibility of molesting a child and even their own offspring, it is utterly revolting. There is unfortunately a small percentage of the population that feel that this is normal or feel the need to act in this way. Although the majority of these acts are homosexual in nature the very act that these people perform is perverted and not parenting.
In today’s society there is a given “norm” of what a family should and shouldn’t be. The very word, family, is referring to a relationship that contains children. The socially accepted version of a family is that there is a mom and a dad and children; not two dads or two mothers. There is a growing number of the latter type of families and society is very split on whether these “families” are right, and fit for raising children.
Society in general has to take a look at themselves and start to work out their own prejudices toward homosexuals. The fact that someone is homosexual is not sufficient enough reason for him or her not to be able to have and raise children in the manner they feel fit. Society will have to get used to the fact that homosexuals are humans too.
Benkov, Laura \\\”Gay With Children\\\”. The Advocate. October 1997 p81
Brienza, Julie. Joint adoptions by gays are put on even ground with heterosexual couples. Trail. March 1998. p 98.
Crawford, Jill M. \\\”Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services\\\” May-June 1999, Volume 80.
Dudley, W. (1993) Homosexuality- opposing views. (pp 184-197) USA: Greenhaven Press, Inc.
“Gays Adopting: The horror” Current Events-US. 24 December 1997 http://usnews.about.com/new/497.htm
Gallup Poll. Increased acceptance of same sex marriages, adoption. 28 May 1998.
Gay couples can adopt. Trial. September 1995 p 107.
McGraw, Dan. “The governor and gays.” U.S. News. 5 April 1999.
Not in Their Best Interests. Homosexual activists demand the right to adopt. 19 March 2000. http://www.cwfa.org/library/family.
Shapiro, J.P. (September 16, 1996) Kids with gay parents: as lawmakers battle gay marriages, a look at how the children fare (pp 75-79) U.S: U.S. News & World Report Inc.