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By Ellen C. Perrin and Family Health


ABSTRACT. A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children's optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes. CURRENT SITUATION Accurate statistics regarding the number of parents who are gay or lesbian are impossible to obtain. The secrecy resulting from the stigma still associated with homosexuality has hampered even basic epidemiologic research. A broad estimate is that between 1 and 9 million children in the United States have at least 1 parent who is lesbian or gay. 1 Most individuals who have a lesbian and/or gay parent were conceived in the context of a heterosexual relationship. When a parent (or both parents) in a heterosexual couple "comes out " as lesbian or gay, some parents divorce and others continue to live as a couple. If they do decide to live separately, either parent may be the residential parent or children may live part-time in each home. Gay or lesbian parents may remain single or they may have same-sex partners who may or may not develop stepparentin

Year: 2002
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