During the past half century, the norm of the traditional family has changed, and today there is great diversity in what we call a “family”. While society has become less discriminatory and more accepting of what would call nontraditional families. Families with gay parents face a lot of social, legal, religious, and economic strugles. The assumption and expectations of our society is that all people are born as heterosexuals with straight parents. Yet, an estimated 4 to 14 million children have gay or lesbian parents (Ryan, 2008).
Can Homosexual parenting affect the up bringing of the child? Most studies show that being homosexual parent does not cause gender identity confusion, inappropriate behavior, psychopathology, or homosexual behavior in children. These myths are common in the U.S causing people to be miss informed, and form a prejudice towards gays.
Same sex families are looked as an accommodation to the middle class norm, strengthening such categories as “normal” and “desirable,” instead of accepting new alternatives, and acting on new models of family life. Queer asks why having children is seen as a necessary element of every family, also the gay one; why not abandon the idea of kinship and build families of choice, based on a voluntary participation? Finally, why not open space for a reconfiguration of the number of participants, with different levels of emotional, sexual, and rational attachments between members? Yet, what is implied by those stances is the need of the radical and groundbreaking revision of social bonds, as the response to the ongoing cultural process that significantly shifts and challenges institutionalized forms of traditional relationships (Appell, 2007).
Many articles and research and been dedicated to gay parenting. These studies further revealed that children of gay or lesbian parents were virtually indistinguishable from children of heterosexual single or divorced parents (Patterson, 2006). Research consistently show a lack of a connection between homosexuality and child molestation. This has been a common myth that has that closed minded people choose to believe. Research demonstrates that homosexuality and homosexual pedophilia are not synonymous and are, in fact, almost mutually exclusive. This is because the homosexual male is attracted to fundamentally masculine qualities, which are lacking in the prepu-bescent male (Hudson, 2008).
In the past several years, assisted reproductive technologies or “ART” has undergone rapid development, improving the methods of artificial insemination. This has helped gay men and women to become parents using their DNA. In doing that giving the new parent a since of pride to know that there child is there’s. Each year an increasing number of children are born using ART method of conceiving. Data from a 1995 report on family growth in the United States indicated that about 2% of women had used an infertility service within that year. Another 13% reported having used an infertility service at some time in their lives. In 2001, 107,587 ART cycles were reported resulting in 29,344 (27%) live births and 40,687 babies. Finally, changes in legislation have allowed a more diverse group of people to adopt children. Where in the past, agencies routinely weeded out applicants who did not meet specific criteria like being homosexual, economical status, and even a person’s health. Today adoptive parents include those with varying socioeconomic means, older and single individuals, and gay and lesbian individuals or couples (Ryan, 2008).
Parents make a more diverse group of people than ever before. Today parents may be biologically related, adoptive, foster parents, or stepparents. They may be either single, gay, or lesbian couples. First time mothers can range from younger than 15 years old up to 50, and the fathers with a greater age range than that. In many cultures, siblings take on parenting responsibilities, and in many nations, an increasing number of children spend a substantial portion of time being cared for by professional care providers (Appell, 2007). This shows that familys are diverse. From the age of the parents, type of caretakers, and even sexuality. Today, only about 35% of children in the United States live in what used to be the traditional household: a household comprising two parents, with one who stays home full-time (Patterson, 2006).
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, many thousands of same sex couples live with their adopted children. However, because data on gay or lesbian single persons who are also parenting adopted children were not also collected, this number is thought to be significantly under-reported, especially when one realizes that most states allowing gay or lesbian persons to adopt only allow single persons to do so (Hudson, 2008). Parent’s sexual orientation is not always collected in the adoption process. As a result of the the actual number of new adoptions of children by gay or lesbian parents is not really known. Best estimates show it at more than several hundred each year. From all adoption agencies weather international, private or public adoption sources.
Parenting is another important issue in same sex families, because of both spectrums, traditional and more modern unions. Having children is one of the key elements for the proper establishment of the family. People that don’t agree with homosexual parenting believe that gay parents damage character of what they consider family. Thinking that in order to raise a child that there has to be a “Mother” and “Father” role. More extreme thinking is that gay parents are more likely to molest or even rape their children. This could either be from ignorance or a person being homophobic. Main arguments are developed around the stereotype of homosexuals being pedophiles, the confusion of gender roles, and social ostracism that children might face (Crawford, 2007).
Homosexual parents point out that the first reason reveals its patriarchal character in the homophobia and the lack of consideration given to women (a universal discourse about “all homosexuals,” but really only about men). In addition, the reason is confusing sexuality with unlawful behavior (and vectors of desire toward, respectively, the same gender and different age group with lack of consent).
The second justification involves the belief that the proper development of a child can only occur within traditional gender division (Ryan, 2008). However, it fails to acknowledge that modern societies have developed and they are no longer solely based on the accommodation of genders, nor that socialization in the present day is largely occurring outside of the family.
The third rationale stresses the possibility that children of same-sex couples would be exposed to bullying in a school or peer ostracism. Having acknowledged that, same-sex parents highlight that this kind of behavior originates in attitudes of adults and the values they teach their children. Therefore, proper education and information about alternative lifestyles are able to successfully eradicate the danger of such antisocial behavior in schools, other peer groups, and in society (Appell, 2007).
Interestingly enough, the public debate about gay parenting concerns mostly the problem of “new” children, that is, adoption and artificial insemination. Less attention is given to parents who at some stage of their lives decided to live their lesbian or gay identity. In such cases, our ability to fulfill parental duties is not questioned, as we have already proven to society. However, the gay community is not without blame itself; the gay community reifies a hierarchy in the type of parenting (Patterson, 2006).
Many discussions about homosexual families are dominated by negative remarks, present also with in gay and lesbian communities, ie, there is noticeably less effort and struggle to support lesbian women in getting easy access to artificial insemination. Most of the attention about children in gay families is focused on adoption rights-the explanation could be the influence of patriarchal thinking over gay communities, putting the interest of men above women, gay men above lesbian women (Hudson, 2008). Weather or weather not a person is a good parent should not be considered by their bed room life, but by their ability to love and be loved. Everyone disserves a family.
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