Growing Up in a Lesbian Family: Effects on Child Development
Ongoing legal battles over same-sex marriage have drawn increasing public attention to the question of whether lesbian and gay families can raise happy, healthy children. Opponents of the legal recognition of homosexual unions have based their arguments in part on the premise that children brought up by parents of the same sex face significant social and psychological disadvantages. This pioneering volume provides an objective and long overdue look at the experiences of the children themselves. Presenting a unique longitudinal study of 25 children raised in lesbian mother families, and a comparison group raised by single heterosexual mothers, the book lays out the developmental effects of growing up in a same-sex household -- and confronts a range of myths and stereotypes along the way.
The book focuses on the follow-up interviews with grown-up children who took part in the study -- all of whom were born to heterosexual partnerships but whose mothers later entered lesbian relationships. Shedding light on the quality of their family life, young adults share what it was like to grow up with a lesbian mother and her partner and discuss their level of awareness during childhood of growing up in a lesbian-headed home. Also considered are ways children from lesbian mother families integrate their family background with their school environment and cope with prejudice.
The study's painstakingly compiled findings clearly demonstrate that:
Expanding our notion of what "family" really means, this volume has important implications for child custody disputes involving a lesbian mother, as well as adoption and foster-parenting policy and issues of access to assisted reproduction procedures, such as donor insemination. It will be welcomed by professionals, educators, and students in psychology, social work, and sociology; others interested in the long-term influences of childhood experiences on adult life; and readers in women's studies and lesbian/gay studies.