Gay Parents and LGBT Families
LGBT Families - A Growing Segment of the Population
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, approximately 600,000 same-sex couples live in the United States and more than a third of these have at least one child. Of those LGBT parents, about half have two or more children. That means there are approximately 200-400,000 children in the United States currently being raised by same-sex couples, not including single lesbian or single gay parents.
If you include single parents, research indicates that there may be as many as nine million children being raised by at least one gay or lesbian parent.
This lens is for LGBT families looking for resources about families like ours.
LGBT Family Events
Need some other lesbian and gay parents to hang out with? Want something fun to do? Check out these links for groups that make it easy to connect with other families.
Books for Young Children of Gay or Lesbian Parents
Children enjoy reading stories that include children in families like their own. Here are a few now available.
Interview with Abigail Garner, author of "Families Like Mine"
If you're thinking about becoming a parent or already have kids, check out these resources for advice and research.
Books for Lesbian and Gay Parents
Research on Lesbian and Gay Parenting
Research on LGBT families has shown that children raised by gay and lesbian parents grow up as successfully as children raised by straight parents. Here are some key findings.
- There is no evidence to suggest that gay men or lesbians are unfit to be parents. (American Psychological Association, 1995).
- Children with one or two parents who are gay or lesbian fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. (Perrin, 2002).
- Evidence shows that children's optimal development is influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by its particular structural form (Perrin, 2002).
Links to Research on Gay Parenting
- Human Rights Campaign - Gay and Lesbian Families in the United States
- American Academy of Pediatrics - Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents
- ACLU - Overview of Lesbian and Gay Parenting, Adoption and Foster Care
- Child Welfare League of America - Position Statement on Parenting of Children by Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults
- Child Welfare Information Gateway - Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents
- American Psychological Assocation - Research on Lesbian and Gay Parenting
Legal Rights of LGBT Parents
Where you live determines what type of legal rights you will be entitled to as gay parents. Laws vary widely from state to state.
According to the ACLU, 21 states currently allow second-parent adoptions to lesbian and gay couples and 22 states have allowed lesbians and gay men to adopt children. But two (Florida and New Hampshire) have laws that expressly bar lesbians and gay men from ever adopting children.
You can check for laws and legislation concerning gays and lesbians in your state by visiting the Human Rights Campaign.
In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents
12 Reasons Same-Sex Marriage Will Ruin Society :-)
A parody of arguments against gay marriage, including parenting
I love this list. It was originally created by the very funny folks at the Gator Gay-Straight Alliance at the University of Florida.
1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.
8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.
Permission to Marry Video - A thought-provoking video produced by Public Interest
High-Profile or Famous Lesbian Moms and Gay Dads
Role Models and Trailblazers
Want to know what high-profile gays and lesbians are saying about parenthood? Here are links to some articles.
Melissa Etheridge - in Metro Weekly
Rosie O'Donnell - in The Advocate
Jeff Lutes, Executive Director of Soulforce, Inc. - on About.com
Clay Aiken on CNN.com
Ricky Martin in the Seattle Times
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A portion of the proceeds from this lens are donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.