New Study Offers Remarkable Statistic on Teens Raised by Lesbian Mothers
November 10, 2010 by Ellen Kahn, Family Project Director
The following comes from the Director of HRC's Family Project, Ellen Kahn:
A Nice, Round Number Says A Lot Amid the ongoing public debate about whether LGBT parents are “good enough,” and assertions from our conservative opponents that children raised by lesbian and gay parents are “at risk,” another powerful study published today that should put a pall on this conversation. 0%---that is the number of 17 year olds raised by lesbian moms, who report being physically or sexually abused by a parent or other adult caregiver in a recent report from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study. This number is quite remarkable, particularly in contrast to the dreadful statistic that in general, 26% of adolescents report being physically abused by a parent or caregiver, and 8% report being sexually abused. In addition to the 0% abuse statistic in this study, just 2.8% of these same teens identify as gay or lesbian, consistent with statistics in the general population. This should go far in debunking the myth perpetrated by anti-LGBT forces that children raised by gay parents are more likely to be gay themselves (as if that’s a bad thing!)—that we can somehow wield that kind of influence on sexual orientation. I’m sure many of our parents would be the first to testify that as hard as they tried, prayed or wished for us to be heterosexual, they could not influence us. 78 teens were included in this groundbreaking longitudinal study headed by Dr. Nanette Gartrell, all of whom were born into lesbian-headed families.
I hope that people pay attention to this study and are curious about why these particular families do not experience violence. I also hope that professionals and organizations that support families and children can identify effective approaches to supporting the millions of children and youth who do face abuse in their own families.