Until now, it was generally assumed that children that are raised by same sex parents, are just as often gay as children of a heterosexual couple. A research from 1999 concluded that ‘the incidence of homosexuality is no higher if one is raised by a gay or lesbian parent, than if one is raised by a heterosexual parent’. But now there is a recent study that shows something else.
Longitudinal study in the US
In 1986 a Longitudinal study started. Children of lesbian couples were followed over many years to study their well being and development. Next to that, once the children became adults, also their sexual identity, attraction and behavior was collected.
In a new report that was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the results have been shown of 25 year olds that participated. There were 76 participants (37 women and 39 men). These participants have been compared to a group of corresponding adults.
Most participants in both groups identify as heterosexual. But, from the group that was raised by lesbian parents, a significant larger number of respondents identified as a sexual minority, was attracted to the same sex, or engaged in a same sex experience.
Of the children of lesbian parents, 30% of the women and 10% of te men identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. In the reference group this was 12% of women and 2% of men.
And of the children of lesbian parents 69% of women and 27% of men said they felt attracted to more than one sex. That is 46% of women and 9% of men in the reference group.
Children of lesbian parents also had same sex experiences more often; 54% of the women and 33% of the men. In the reference group this was 38% of the women and 9% of the men.
No, homosexuality is not contagious
It is easy to draw the wrong conclusions based on these figures. In any case it does NOT mean that someones sexual orientation is transferable, or that it is just mimicking behavior. That has been scientifically proven.
There is proof however, that sexuality is genetically linked. It might be, that children of lesbian parents thank their orientation and identity to the genes of their mother.
Another explanation for this difference is that children of lesbian parents might have a broader view on gender and sexuality, because they have been raised in a less traditional environment without prejudice on non-heterosexual relationships. The researchers suggest that these children might be more open to explore their sexuality.
But it could also be a combination of the two. Anyway, we can no longer just assume that the sexual orientation of the parents is of no influence on that of the children.