"Parents Sexual Orientation Matters, study finds"

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Wed May 2 00:23:32 EDT 2001

"Parents' sexual orientation matters, study finds"

By Sarah Tippit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Children raised by homosexual couples have
different attitudes toward gender roles and sexual preferences than
children raised by heterosexuals, according to a University of Southern
California analysis of studies on the subject published this week.

USC sociologists Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey examined 21 studies
on the subject dating back to 1980 and found that children of lesbians
and gays are more likely to depart from traditional gender roles than
children of heterosexual couples. Their findings were published in the
American Sociological Review.

In an interview on Friday, Biblarz said that the study found that
information on the subject had previously been stifled and the
differences played down.

"Social research hasn't been fully free to explore differences among
children. Research has been stifled and researchers have downplayed
almost any finding of difference at all between children raised in gay
and lesbian families versus straight families. Unfortunately, this
produces a consequence in the science arena of not advancing
knowledge," he said.

"One of the things we are calling for in the paper is that sometimes a
difference really is a difference and we ought to be exploring them and
acknowledging them," Biblarz added.

Biblarz said there were some modest "but very interesting differences
... as we would expect there should be."

For example, he said, teenage boys with homosexual parents were more
sexually restrained then their counterparts who were raised by
heterosexual couples. And boys raised by lesbian couples exhibited less
aggressive and more nurturing social behavior then boys raised in
heterosexual families.

On the other hand, teenage girls showed an opposite trend. Girls raised
by lesbians gravitated towards less stereotypically feminine dress,
play and occupations, Biblarz said.


Teenage girls raised by lesbians also appeared to be more sexually
adventurous and less chaste than girls raised by heterosexuals.

The study also showed that more children from homosexual households
gravitated towards same-sex relationships although they were not
statistically more likely to identify themselves as lesbian, gay or

There seemed to be no difference in the mental and emotional health of
children based on whether their parents were homosexual or
heterosexual, or in the quality of the parent-child relationships, the
analysis said.

   "They are doing extremely well," Biblarz said. "There's no evidence
that in terms of their adjustment and development and well being ...
that kids (from homosexual families) are suffering greater harm."

   He added that, "Children brought up by lesbians and gay men are well
adjusted, have good levels of self esteem, are as likely to have high
educational attainments as children raised in more traditional
heterosexual families.

   Biblarz said the USC study focused mainly on children raised by
lesbians, because fewer studies of co-fathers exist. He added that
there seemed to be advantages to lesbian over heterosexual parenting in
that co-mothers tend to be more involved in their childrens' lives and
more nurturing than heterosexual couples. They also exhibited greater
harmony in their parenting approaches, he said.

   "Co-moms seem to spend more time with their children than their
hetero male counterparts," Biblarz said. "Women in general seem to come
out (higher) in many dimensions having to do with care of children
relative to men and that's a function of gender differences," he said.
((Sarah Tippit, Los Angeles newsroom, +1 213-955-6776, fax +1 213-622-
0056, sarah.tippit at reuters.com))

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