Among the 9 million LGBT community in the US, more than 250,000 same sex couples are married. Couples who get married eventually make room for another person in their lives; a baby. Marriage is often followed by building a family and it is no different to same sex couples. The desire to raise children have paved the way for more options other than adoption.
Today, IVF and surrogacy are the leading sources for same sex couples to have children. For lesbian couples, there is also a growing trend known as Co-maternity where one can opt to donate her eggs to be carried by the other partner.
Raising children in a same-sex home is not as traditional as the known family structure. This became one of the issues during the approval process of gay marriage in some states. It challenged the health and wellness of children raised in a same-sex environment.
A study has proven that there is no correlation of negative behavior associated with gay parenting. A recent study co-authored by University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light compared 19,000 studies of same-sex parenting dating back from 1977 to 2013. It reported that there is no difference in terms of development and health between the children of same sex couples and heterosexual ones.
Raising children is not an easy task. It does not require any gender or race for people to become parents. What is required is a big amount of patience and understanding in order to foster a nurturing environment for the child.
Raising children as gay parents also does not mean that they will turn out gay. Although their home environment plays a big role in their Psychosocial development, they still have their community and the guidance of their parents to explore their sexuality.
The quality of a parent’s relationship to his or her child determines the kind of adult a child transforms into. Children adapt faster than the most intelligent adult and what is often perceived is what is coined to be right. Raising kind and compassionate children rely on the kind of attitude a parent demonstrates because it is in our own nature to mimic what we think is right. And because parents are adults which children perceive to be always right, follow what they see is practiced if it is not the right behavior.
Guidance is always the main tool in raising children especially in a same-sex family. It needs to be carefully explained so that children will not feel stigmatized by the difference they notice with others. It should be coupled with a nurturing environment where questions are heard and addressed in a proper manner.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation author, said it best: “I don’t think it matters how many parents you’ve got, as long as those who are around make their presence a good one.”
April Parker writes about her greatest frustrations in life as that’s what fuels most passions. She earned her degree in Marketing at Cornell University, pursues a career in motherhood, highly passionate about gender equality, surrogacy and fitness.