Gay Parents and the Fight for Acceptance

While an estimated two to three million children are currently being raised by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents in the United States alone, the issue of adoption by same-sex couples or single LGBT individuals continues to be a hot-button issue around the world.   Though numerous studies show that children with sexual minority parents tend to be as well-adjusted as the children of opposite-sex parents, opponents continue to cite moral and religious objections concerning the fitness of LGBT parents as well as the prejudice that the adopted children can be expected to face.

Along with the bullying faced by many sexual minority children in schools,  children raised by LGBT parents can experience harassment as well.  A 2008 study looking at K-12 students in the United States found that 40 percent of children raised by sexual minority parents reported some form of harassment while 23 percent reported feeling unsafe at school due to their family structure.   The majority however, did not report problems due to having LGBT parents.  Even for students who deny overt bullying, there can still be more subtle examples of "microaggression," including verbal insults or social snubbing, that can be emotionally damaging as well. 

There is also the question of how supportive schools are in general to students and their sexual minority parents.  These parents can also find themselves being stressed over how they interact with teachers and school boards who may contribute to the negative environment students encounter.   But what are the long-term outcomes of this kind of harassment?  And how common is it in many schools?    

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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