LGBT couples face violence, discrimination, and stigma every day. How does that reflect on their children? How can you deal with the difficulty of having gay parents? Take a look at our article to learn about some challenges of LGBT parenting, as well as see how it really impacts a child and what you can do about it.
The Issue About Sexuality
Even though we live in the 21st century and stances on sexuality have become a lot more open, having gay parents could still be difficult.
Firstly, there is a belief that infants need the balance of fatherly and motherly roles. However, most studies have proven that children who have gay parents grow up just as well as those who have heterosexual parents.
Actually, most studies have found that being a child with gay and lesbian parents does not differ in terms of sexual orientation. It doesn’t harm the child’s emotional functioning. The same applies to mental health, gender identity, behavior, learning, stigmatization, and average school grades.
However, some of the differences that were discovered were mainly in favor of heterosexual couples. For instance, children raised by heterosexual people claimed that they felt more connected in their school and community.
Moreover, parents face the same issues when planning for a child. That includes responsibilities, time, and money. Obviously, same-sex parents face the difficulties of physically having a child. Most have to resort to adoption, donor insemination, or they choose to co-parent their biological child from a previous marriage. Some of the biggest differences between heterosexual and LGBT families involve the social stigma and the social adaptation that comes as a result of same-sex parented families.
The Lack of Guides
So far, same-sex parenting suffers from tons of conflicting arguments. If you are worried about being a sex-same parent or if you are trying to deal with having gay parents, note that you should rely on objective findings and reliable information. That’s the only way to learn exactly how gay parenting can impact a child’s life.
Also, it may be tough to seek help regarding LGBT parenting issues. We live in a mainly homophobic and heterosexist climate. As mentioned, you’ll find a lot of conflicting arguments and false information on how a homosexual marriage or relationship can impact a child’s life.
One of the most helpful ways to find the right information and overcome the challenges of being gay or lesbian parents is through therapy. If they are comfortable with it, gay fathers and mothers could talk to a therapist who specializes in LGBT issues. They can provide a non-judgmental and safe environment.
At the same time, a therapist can provide support and guidance as well as the correct information that LGBT parents and children may not find in the wider social arena.
The Authenticity and Validity of Their Family
Another factor that can impact family relationships and endanger the child is disagreement from other (heterosexual) family members. Same-sex couples still struggle to get support from their extended families when trying to raise a child. This could impact a family’s support system and cause distress or conflict.
Another complication arises with gay couples who form a blended family with kids from a previous heterosexual marriage. In this case, same-sex families can face additional discrimination and negative assumptions.
What’s more, gay parenting can become incredibly complicated depending on where you live. Gay marriage is legal in less than 30 countries (mainly in America and Europe), while any kind of gay relationship is criminalized in over 70 countries. That includes Yemen, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, and Syria.
Other countries have decriminalized it but still do not have a liberal stance. Some include Russia and Egypt. In the U.S., same-sex relationships and parenting are becoming more common. Still, couples and their kids face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis.
Social Stigma on the Family
In the States, couples still experience stigmatization and discrimination from their extended families, neighbors, and figures in their community (e.g., employers, salespeople, etc.).
According to research, over 60% of gay fathers face stigma. Most of them tend to avoid tackling the problem due to fears of discrimination or mistreatment.
What’s more, around 30% of homosexual couples also claim that their children were discriminated against by children of heterosexual couples. Additionally, one out of five children who are raised by same-sex couples also reports avoiding friendships to minimize discrimination and other issues like bullying.
The stigma gets deeper once you look at the daily lives of same-sex families. Studies show that the majority finds it hard to explain their family and relationship status to others. Like we’ve said, they might face constant discrimination from extended family members who aren’t open to homosexuality. Furthermore, they might have trouble expressing their status to their children as well as school professionals or other crucial personnel. All this stigma can make it difficult for couples to bring their child up. Parenting could become a daily struggle for them.
What We Have to Realize
Obviously, there are some things that we can and cannot change. The first thing you should be aware of is that, theoretically, having gay parents does not impact a child’s development directly.
We have to understand that social stigma, legal issues, and conservative stances are shaping our society in a negative way. Perhaps, we should blame those issues on the negative impacts on the children of lesbian and gay couples. Essentially, having a child should be no different at all when compared to heterosexual parents.
Most research agrees that the sexual orientations of LGBT couples do not compromise them from being competent parents. We need to know that society is too quick to condemn gay parents, and one way to deal with that is to get help with parenting through therapy. Another thing you should do as a parent or a child is to ignore the misinformation and false propaganda regarding same-sex parenting and seek reliable sources to help you improve life for your same-sex family.
Same-sex children and their parents should not be treated differently compared to heterosexual families. Still, our society has a long way to go to realize that, but it’s important to know that you are not alone and that you can find support from the LGBT community as well as therapists who specialize in lesbian and gay issues.