In society today there is a given norm of what a family should and shouldn t be. By the very word family I am refer to a relationship that contains children. The socially accepted version of the family is that there is a mum 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. There are several issues that relate to the raising of children in a homosexual relationship, these are the affect on the child, should homosexuals be able to raise children, the means that they become parents.
Effect on the children
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 are they going to turn out normal. An American study found that children of homosexual parents have similar IQs, develop typical friendships, have a normal metal 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, 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. This is inevitably going to mean that there are going to less marital break ups, because of adults realizing that they are gay.
The affect on children is a hotly debated issue; 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 metal and physically development so he can turn out to be a normal man. The very fact that normal is dictated by society is the biggest down fall in this argument. If being gay were full 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 prejudice 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.
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 has been done has not uncovered any adverse effects.
Should homosexual couples raise children
Apart from the dilemma to do with the fact if they are right or wrong in their sexuality, the raising of children by homosexuals is a very controversial topic for the fact that they can not have children with their partners. This problem has two sides to the argument one: they, as a group of people, have chosen not to have children by being gay, the other is that homosexuals are still humans and they still have the same human nurturing characteristics that heterosexuals do. The very argument that homosexuals do not have the right to raise children because they are gay is a unsubstantiated. It is implying that they are not human. It is not OK for gays to raise children but if a murder wants to raise a child it is OK, on the grounds that he is heterosexual.
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. 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. 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 excepting. Results of another American research project (Crawford 1999) shows that 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; Maybe all children should be raised by gay couples.
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.
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 is homosexual in nature the very act that these people perform is perverted not parenting. The homosexual parents would not perform these acts. There are a minute percentage of all parents that molest their children but the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual would be the same and may even be less.
It is really hard for gay couples or even gay singles to even think about the prospect of having children, this it means that there needs to be firm ideals and generally a strong base to build a family on. If the gay person/s didn t have these ideas then they would not consider becoming parents, whichever way they decide to have children.
Means of becoming parents
There is a huge problem that society has 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 them 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 condeming heterosexual couples that can for some reason not have children, is this what society wants?
There are three ways that gay or lesbian couples are able to gain a child:
1. By winning custody of a child that was part of a previous heterosexual relationship, by adoption or by alternative means of conception. 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.
2. The gaining of custody of a child or children from a previous heterosexual relationship is the most common form of children being placed in a homosexual family situation. This form of placing a child in a homosexual family is the least controversial because there is one parent from the child s original parents. This particular form is the most socially accepted because the child has usually experienced the relationship that their heterosexual parents had. This would mean that the child would have a more diverse and better view of his/her choices to do with sexuality, in so having a better view than that of a child from a heterosexual relationship.
3. Adopting is the next way for gays to gain children. There a few issues relating to this, 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. 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 because of social prejudices.
The most controversial way that gays are gaining and having children is that of using donor sperm or IVF for the lesbians. Lesbians are artificially inseminated by gaining access to sperm and impregnating themselves. There are two ways this is gained one and usually gained from a gay male and the child is going to be given to the gay father or kept by the mother, the other is that the sperm is gained from a sperm bank. This is the major issue because of the very fact that gays can not have children with their partners, this problem is only there, once again, because of the social prejudice. It is socially acceptable or 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 uproar.
The main problems that society has with gays raising children are:
1. The affect on the children- it has been proven that being raised by gay parents is the same if not better for the children, than if they were raised by heterosexual parents.
3. The means that they become parents- the only reason that gay become parents is so they can fulfill there human desires to parent.
I think that society in general has to take a look at them selves 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, gain and raise children in the manner they feel fit. Society will have to get used to the fact that homosexuals are humans too.
Editor K. Healey (1995) Issues for the nineties. (pp 10-12). Vol 39 Australia: The Spinney Press.
Editor K. Healey (1995) Issues for the nineties. (pp 36-37). Vol 41 Australia: The Spinney Press.