Monday, October 29, 2012

Yet another study finds gays and lesbians make great parents

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LGBT parenting

It looks like homophobes will need yet another change of underwear, as a new report in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry concludes that not only are same-sex parents every bit as good as their heterosexual counterparts, even when raising “high-risk” children, but they’re actually more likely to help underprivileged kids in the first place:

Of the 82 foster children that psychologists at UCLA monitored for the study, 60 were placed with straight parents and 22 with gay or lesbian parents. After a two-year period of evaluation, the psychologists found little difference between the children’s positive outcomes.

According to the study’s lead author, doctoral candidate Justin Lavner, “The children showed meaningful gains in heterosexual, gay and lesbian families. Their cognitive development improved substantially, while their behavior problems and social development were stable.”

There was, however, one important difference: Gay and lesbian parents were significantly more likely to adopt children with heightened risk factors — such as premature birth, prenatal substance abuse or repeat placements in foster care. And yet, despite the additional challenges, these children made near-identical gains to the others in the study.

This isn’t the first report that indicates how LGBT parents may actually be better on average at raising well-adjusted kids. I suspect the cause for this is more cultural than biological; after all, who better to teach young’uns to be loving and understanding than people who faced problems with acceptance back in their own formative years? There’s no reason to believe that sexual orientation in itself has anything to do with one’s parenting instincts, but our society’s treatment of LGBT people most certainly affects how they go about their child-rearing duties, having “been there”, themselves.

Meanwhile, friend of Preliator Rob F posits the following theory:

This is why anyone who is why simultaneously being both anti–choice and anti–LGBT adoption is a hopelessly incoherent position. These people cannot possibly think that research going on since the 1970′s and all showing the same result (same–sex couples are just as good as different–sex couples) is inadequate. The only possible explanation is that they really do believe that being raised by a same–sex couple is worse than death. If they do believe that then they really are the worst sort of homophobe. If they don’t, then they are simply the usual anti–choicer who sees forced birth as a woman’s punishment for daring to have sex. That’s why those people’s opposition to LGBT adoption is motivated not only by homophobia but also by deep misogyny.

I see his point, but I think the answer is actually simpler. What I’ve seen from homophobes (and other regressives in general) leads me to believe that people who devote their time and energy to hatred and advocating for oppression generally lack the clarity of mind to recognize their own prejudice, resulting in an unholy amount of cognitive dissonance in their closed little minds. They can be perfectly intelligent and aware otherwise, and may even present the occasional semi-cogent (if invariably fallacious) argument, but I don’t believe they have it in them to realize the glaring incongruity in opposing both abortion and LGBT adoptive rights. Rather, they’re simply victim to knee-jerk reactionism against both and never bother to try and reconcile the differences between the two contradictory positions.

After all, bigotry isn’t particularly renowned for its cognitive vigor.

Edit (10/29/12 10:11 PM ET) – Fixed a typo (via Grammar Nazi).