Children with same-sex parents fare just as well as any other kids – but most of us already knew that!
A study, titled ‘The kids are OK: it is discrimination not same-sex parents that harms children‘ has shown that kids raised by same-sex parents are equally successful as kids with heterosexual couple parents. The results showed kids across the board fared similarly well emotionally, socially and educationally. The discrimination, on the other hand, is where trouble lies.
In 2017 the Public Policy Research Portal at Columbia Law School reviewed 79 studies. The review came to the conclusion that,
“an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children”
Family processes VS family structures
It is family processes, not family structures, that were found to make a more meaningful impact on kids’ wellbeing and positive development.
Family processes include parenting quality, parental wellbeing and the quality of and satisfaction with relationships within the family. On the other hand, family structures refer to the number, gender, sexuality or cohabitation arrangements of parents.
Acceptance makes all the difference
Children and their families who experienced homophobia, discrimination, prejudice and social stigma were noted to have emotional effects. To add to this, same-sex couples are also statistically at a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health and suicide.
Same-sex parented families do better in communities that display more accepting attitudes, the study found. Living in a social that limits their legal and social rights results in negative psychological outcomes for these families.
Negative psychological and relational consequences were shown when these families were exposed to instances of feeling devalued or discriminated against.
LGBTQIA+ young people were found to have better mental health and wellbeing if they live somewhere that same-sex marriage is legal. In fact, there was a 7% drop in suicide attempts from students in the LGBTQIA+ community living in states where same-sex marriage laws had been enacted, according to data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System in the US.
Not same-sex parents, but hateful attitudes create negative outcomes
Kids with same-sex parents are doing just fine, according to the review. This is despite the discrimination they and their families have experienced.
The study warns that this perseverance in the face of hostility cannot last forever, though. It is up to society to ensure that community attitudes towards these families improves. It warns:
“Inaction is not an option when harm is the likely result.”
Read how The Wiggles promote diversity and how parents responded.