Same-Sex Couples May Feel Pressure to Raise Heterosexual
FRIDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Social pressure for gay
parents to raise heterosexual children can cause stress for these
families and make it harder for gay children of gay parents to get
the support they need, says an expert.
Research shows that children raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender parents are psychologically healthy and often do
better at school and have a lower incidence of social problems than
their peers, according to family therapist and social worker Arlene
Istar Lev of Albany, N.Y.
But many gay parents still feel that in order to prove they're
good parents, they have to raise heterosexual children, Lev
explained in an article published in the September issue of the
"Gay parents [just like heterosexual parents] may struggle with having gay or transgender children, in part because they identify with the obstacles their children will face, and in part because of the societal pressure they feel to raise 'normal' children," Lev pointed out in a news release from the journal's publisher.
She added that gay parents who see their own identity as an
advantage, instead of something to be overcome, have a unique
ability to nurture their children's emerging selves.
"If it is okay to be gay then it has to be okay for the children of gay people to be gay also," Lev said in the news release.
Most children of gay parents are heterosexual and some are not,
just like the children of heterosexual parents, noted Lev, who's
been working with gay families for nearly three decades.
Gay parents' differences should be acknowledged and honored,
rather than pressuring them to be "just like" straight parents, she
"We need to stop saying that being [gay] has no influence on children's identities; of course it does. Maybe whatever it is that we are doing 'differently' is the reason our children are doing so well," Lev suggested.
The American Psychiatric Association has more about
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