Monday, June 23

Some research on gay fathers...

...with no religious credo, political bent, or personal elucidation attached:
  1. Children of gay parents are not more likely to be gay themselves.
  2. They may have a more difficult time being judged by their peers.
  3. They tend to develop a less prejudicial view of the world.
  4. Gay fathers place greater emphasis on verbal communication.
  5. They show more consistency in enforcing limits.
  6. They respond more reliably to the perceived needs of their children. 
(From Fatherneed, by Kyle Pruett, M.D, and The Value of Children to Gay and Heterosexual Fathers by Bigner & Jacobsen.)

Do you have any research (cogent conjectures and scurvy rejoinders are also welcome) to add to this?  I am interested.


  1. Is having gay fathers the equivalent of having 2 mothers and is having gay mothers the equivalent of having two fathers?


  2. I don't know... what is the difference between a mother and a father, cultural mores aside?

  3. Even if they are not equivalent -- do they NEED to be? Or would a child get a unique experience with his or her relationship with his or her parents whether the parents were men, women, or mixed. No two people have an identical upbringing (even in the same family) -- perhaps focusing on how to keep our children's upbringing uniform is unnecessary.

  4. I think that individual differences in parental personality, culture, SES, values, etc. have a lot more to do with a child's experience than the gender of their main attachment figures. What I think we need to worry most about is helping parents parent, regardless of gender or family make-up.

  5. After reading some of the research, I think for now, the impact of gay fathers is still inconclusive.
    With such a tiny sample group of gay fathers (only 33) from such a specific region, (all gay respondents were in a support group from Denver) how can you get any meaningful data to support these statements?
    In our society, any gay person who is a parent has undoubtedly been constantly criticized, scrutinized, and analyzed and (IMO) would answer a survey about parenting differently than the heterosexual fathers whose role as fathers aren’t under such scrutiny.
    Also, how do you quantify things like, "They tend to develop a less prejudicial view of the world”? Is there really a scale one can use to measure his/her child in that area?
    When a study comes out that has a much larger sample group and more quantifiable data, I'll be much more inclined to give it consideration.

  6. hill family:

    Thanks for brining up those points!

    Re: “how can you get any meaningful data to support these statements?” + “larger sample group”
    Those are important considerations, for sure! One, two, or five studies certainly do not prove anything, but they do begin to build a knowledge base around a topic.

    As an example, one of the researchers I love is John Gottman, who studies marriages. He has found things like “2/3 of wives have a drop in marital satisfaction after the first baby is born” and he can predict whether a couple will divorce with over 90% accuracy after watching them discuss an issue for 5 minutes. If he only had a few studies, I would echo your comment above. In his case, he has been researching marriages for over 20 years, ostensibly with hundreds of couples. Combining his research with others, one can really get a sense of how marriages work in specific areas.

    I do not know as much about gay parents, and so I cannot say the same thing here. I agree with you, in the sense that there really needs to be more studies and more date (perhaps there are, hence my inquiry to those who may know). You are right (imo) in giving little consideration to just one study. One or two studies begins to build the knowledge, and hopefully there is, or will be, more data.

    Incidentally, a commenter on another blog once told me there was “evidence” that children are better of with “a mother and father.” In a sincere, not agreeing nor disagreeing way, I asked him for the evidence, i.e. research. He has yet to respond.

  7. Re: "They tend to develop a less prejudicial view of the world”?

    Upon thinking a research statement like this, I would assume any downtrodden, non-minority, or persecuted group in society would naturally be less prejudicial. That is obviously just my assumption, which means almost nothing, lol.

    As for quantifying it, prejudice can be studied, with very reliable results. I don’t have it in front of me right now, but there is a way to measure prejudice (that has been used in research) that is not just a survey, which to me is not as reliable. Interesting stuff.

    That being said, there will always be bias in every research project on whatever the topic, hence the need for multiple studies from different sources and populations.


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