New research from Boston’s Tufts University indicates that children raised by gay fathers turn out the same as children raised by straight couples.
The new study, conducted by researchers from Tufts Medical Centre, compiled responses from 732 gay fathers in 47 states across the US, raising children under the age of 18. The study is an attempt to address the dearth of qualitative studies available around the experiences of gay men raising children. “It has been established that children raised by lesbian parents are likely to be successful in emotional, academic, social, and vocational realms,” reads the introduction.
“Little is known about the wellbeing of children raised by the ∼31,000 male couples raising children under 18 in the US.”
Respondents were asked a range of questions including why they chose to be parents, how they raised their children, and whether their families experienced any stigma or discrimination, reports Medical Daily.
Of the fathers surveyed, 88% said it was untrue that their child is unhappy or depressed, compared to 87% of straight fathers – whose responses were garnered in an earlier survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – said the same of their children. 72% of fathers reported that their kids didn’t “worry a lot” versus 75% of straight fathers.
The self-described frequency of parenting activities such as reading, feeding, and going on outings were similar to those reported for fathers of heterosexual families according to the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, states the study.
However, a third reported feeling stigmatised for their decision to raise children, while a similar percentage said their children also experienced stigma from friends and religious institutions.
“Gay fathers report that their parenting activities and their perceptions of their children’s well-being are similar to those of children with heterosexual parents, despite barriers to becoming fathers and ongoing experiences of stigmatisation,” said the study’s authors.
The findings were presented to the annual US Pediatric Academic Societies’ meeting this week.
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