Gay and Lesbian Parenting Issues
Gay and lesbian parents have been around for a very long time. But until the late 20th century, most of then kept their sexual orientation a secret for both their own and their children’s sake. Today, gay and lesbian parents in the UK have equal legal rights than heterosexual ones and the society is no longer as homophobic as was in the past. Nevertheless, gay and lesbian parents face a number of issues that are virtually unknown to heterosexual families.
The public view of gays and lesbians raising children, adopting and fostering has without a doubt changed dramatically in the last few years. But there are still many people who view gay and lesbian parenting as unnatural and even harmful for children despite the fact that most studies demonstrated that there are any significant developmental differences between children from heterosexual and those from homosexual families. Besides the usual parenting issues that are experienced by all parents regardless of their sexual orientation, most gay and lesbian parents also have concerns about the negative attitudes towards their sexual orientation affecting their children.
Some of the most commonly reported concerns by gay and lesbian parents include:
Children will be teased or bullied by other children at school.
Kids can be very cruel and sometimes an unconventional name or physical characteristic such as a bigger nose is all that is needed for a child to be teased or bullied his/her entire childhood. The number one concern for gay and lesbian parents is therefore that their children will be teased or bullied due to their sexual orientation.
Children/their family will be excluded from school and extra-curricular activities.
Despite the fact that same-sex families are legally equal to heterosexual ones, many gay and lesbian parents worry that disclosure of their sexual orientation may result in exclusion of their children and their families from school and extra-curricular activities.
Children will have to answer difficult questions.
Many gay and lesbian parents said they worry that family related questions may make their children feel uncomfortable or even ashamed.
Children will blame them for being “different”.
Although kids generally like to stand out and be different from other children, some homosexual parents worry that their children will hold their sexual orientation against them or blame them for being “different”.
Unfortunately, many gay and lesbian parents’ concerns aren’t unjustified. Their children are indeed more likely to be teased or bullied at school, face discrimination and other issues along the way. But if they are prepared for the challenges they may face, how to deal with them and above all, that they can always count on unconditional love and support from their mums or dads, they will do just fine.