Cameron, Paul, Cameron, Kirk, Adolescence
How do children fare when raised by a homosexual? Sharply different views are held by traditional and pre-1973 psychiatric opinion as compared to recent professional literature. Common opinion holds that, like drug use, homosexuality is a learned pathology passed from generation to generation by modeling and seduction (Levitt & Klassen, 1974). Contagion was the theory of choice for many years (e.g., "it is vain to blind oneself to the fact that the problem of male homosexuality is in essence the problem of the corruption of youth by itself and by its elders. It is the problem of the creation by means of such corruption of new addicts ready to corrupt a still further generation of young men and boys in the future" (Rees & Usill, 1956, p. 29). Most people believe that children of homosexuals are apt to acquire parental sexual proclivities as well as being subject to additional sexual harm (Bigner & Bozett, 1989). As a consequence, homosexuals, until recently, have been prevented from adopting or foster-parenting.
Recent professional literature and opinion, however, stresses the irrelevance of parental homosexuality. A review article on lesbian parenting by Falk (1989) in the American Psychologist, complained that courts "often have assumed that their children are likely to be emotionally harmed, subject to molestation, impaired in gender role development, or themselves homosexual. None of these assumptions is supported by extant research and theory" (p. 941). Further, "there is no evidence either that homosexual parents are more likely to seduce or allow their children to be seduced than their heterosexual counterparts or that lesbian mothers or their acquaintances molest children more often than heterosexual individuals. However, research on the point is scant" (p. 944). And "research on the sexual orientation of children of lesbian mothers does not confirm the 'contagion' assumption inherent in so many court decisions" (p. 946). And, "it is important to note that no research has identified significant differences between lesbian mothers and their heterosexual counterparts or the children raised by these groups. Researchers have been unable to establish empirically that detriment results to children from being raised by lesbian mothers" (p. 946).
Similarly, a review of research on homosexual fathers stated that "[t]here is no evidence of any kind that demonstrates that living with a homosexual parent has any significant negative effects on children. In fact, it appears that gay parents are as effective and may be even more so in some ways than nongay parents" (Bigner & Bozett, 1989). Bozett (1989) contended that "[t]here is no evidence whatsoever that children reared in households in which one or both adults is homosexual are in any way at harm, either physically or psychologically." The American Psychological Association accepts the thrust of these conclusions so sufficiently, it provided expert testimony to that effect in the joint adoption of a boy through artificial insemination by male homosexual partners in the District of Columbia in 1992 (Washington Blade, 6/19/92). More importantly, the American Psychological Association joined the National Association of Social Workers in an amici curiae brief in Bottoms v. Bottoms, November 15, 1993, in which the APA asserted that: "the belief that a child raised in a household with a lesbian or gay parent is more apt to become lesbian or gay is without any basis in fact" (p. 23); "the research suggests that lesbian mothers have parenting skills that are equivalent to or better than those of heterosexual parents" (p. 12); and "there is no social science evidence that even suggests that lesbian or gay parents are more likely to sexually abuse their children, or to allow them to be molested by others" (p. 13).
Does the existing research warrant such strong statements as "no evidence," "no evidence of any kind," "without any basis in fact," "no social science evidence that even suggests" and "no evidence whatsoever?" Is the research on this issue so rigorous, compelling, and definitive that it enables a prudent person or a professional association to completely disregard common or traditional opinion? It seems to us that the objectivity of the research on homosexual parenting is open to considerable question. Most, if not all of the studies have: (1) been conducted and reported by those sympathetic to the homosexual movement, (2) been drawn from samples of convenience, and (3) assessed with measures not clearly related to historic societal objections to homosexual parenting (e.g., drawings, toy and game preferences, parenting questionnaires of uncertain validity), rather than molestation experiences or possible sexual orientation "contagion." What is the magnitude of the issue, e.g., how prevalent are homosexual parents? How many homosexuals have children? We obtained some data that bear upon these issues during random sampling in six U.S. cities and a survey of homosexual obituaries.
In 1983 we gave an extensive self-administered questionnaire on sexual issues to 9,129 adults (completed by 4,340 or 47.5%) obtained via one-wave, systematic cluster sampling in five U.S. metropolitan areas chosen for high (Los Angeles, Washington, DC), intermediate (Denver, Louisville), and low (Omaha) levels of homosexual activity as indexed by published homosexual guides to sexual opportunities. One respondent per family unit was asked to complete anonymously an extensive questionnaire on sexuality and return it to the interviewer sealed in a provided envelope or, if more convenient, to mail it.
Among the 500+ questions were included: "How would you rate your sexual desires? not really sexual, not interested/only sexually interested in and attracted to members of the opposite sex (I'm exclusively heterosexual)/generally attracted to members of the opposite sex, but sometimes am sexually attracted to members of my own sex/equally sexually attracted to members of both sexes (I'm bisexual)/generally attracted to members of my sex, but sometimes I'm sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex/only sexually interested in and attracted to members of my own sex (I'm exclusively homosexual); I am a heterosexual/bisexual/homosexual." Respondents were also asked an extensive series of questions on sexual advances from and sexual interaction with various authority figures (e.g., teachers, religious leaders) and family members (e.g., parents, siblings); and a series of questions about their first sexual experience (e.g., their age, with whom, what transpired). Demographic information included whether they were married, how many children they had, "if you are married, how would you characterize your parenthood/childlessness? I'm delighted to be a parent/I'm pleased to be a parent/I'm a 'reluctant parent,' circumstances made me a parent, but had I my choice I wouldn't have been/I'm 'reluctantly childless,' but had I my choice I would have children/I'm pleased to be childless/I'm delighted to be childless," "If you are childless, do you want to have children?" and background questions on their upbringing: "As you were growing up, to which parent were you closest? (mother/father/neither/does not apply); As you were growing up, did you want to be: a girl? (yes/no); a boy? (yes/no); As you were growing up, were your. parents conventional in their roles (father did the male-type things, mother the female-type things)? (parents were very conventional/parents were conventional/roles were mixed and unisexed/parents were unconventional/parents were very unconventional); As you were growing up, did you feel: treasured/accepted/rejected/betrayed by your mother (yes/no) father (yes/no) (asked for each item). "Generally speaking, while you were growing up, who was dominant? (mother was dominant/father was dominant/neither was dominant/does not apply (only one parent, etc.)"(1)
After being asked whether they were "a heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual," respondents were asked "why do you think you became this way? (please check all that apply), followed by 42 pre-coded choices including "one of my …
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Publication information: Article title: Homosexual Parents. Contributors: Cameron, Paul - Author, Cameron, Kirk - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 31. Issue: 124 Publication date: Winter 1996. Page number: 757+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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