Influence of parents on their children’s sexual orientation

Do parents influence their children's sexuality? The answer may surprise you: no they do not. It has been found that about 90% of sons of gay fathers are heterosexual (Bailey 124). It was also found that 90% of daughters of lesbian women are also heterosexual (Golombok 4). According to a poll taken by Northwestern University almost 95% of people expect children of homosexual parents to be homosexual themselves (Bailey 125). This popular belief has affected many child custody decisions because of the possibility of the parents molesting the children, or the possibility of the children becoming homosexual themselves. Even if the children becoming homosexual is a possibility, why deny custody to a parent based on his or her sexuality?

The question has been raised on what can and what can't make a child homosexual. Some believe that children learn by imitating their parents. This theory cannot be totally rejected, but due to recent research it is believed to be more unlikely. Others have said that children identify with an opposite-sex parent and copying their behavior, this coupled with a distant same-sex parent makes the argument even more believable. It is also possible that homosexual parents reinforce certain types of behavior, either homo - or heterosexual (Bailey 125-126).

Some say that hormones affect the sexuality of children, which may be inherited from the parents. For example, an anatomical difference in the hypothalamus of homosexual men has recently been identified, but the reason for this difference is still unknown (Golombok 4). Sex hormones are seen by some as the likely factor in the development of sexual orientation because sex hormone action underlines sexual differentiation and the development of secondary sex characteristics. Studies of the association of sex hormone levels during adolescence and adulthood have yielded negative results, but there have been some positive results in some prenatal studies (Meyer-Bahlburg 12).

It has been found that gay and lesbian families both reinforce and punish homosexual attitudes in their children in about equal numbers (Patterson 3). So then, why do only 10% of the children in these families become homosexual? This question brings up much debate, but the only real answer is still unknown. There are many good theories, but none are yet to be proven. In an estimate of homosexual persons in the United States, it was found that there are more than 20 million, or 10% of the population, homosexuals in America. Is it a coincidence that 10% of America's population is homosexual, and 10% of the children of homosexual parents become homosexual (Bailey 126)?

This point was brought up by Bailey, and it is a very good point, could the results be just a reflection of the entire country? In order to find out, a poll must be taken to find out what percentage of children of heterosexual parents were homosexual. He found out that 9% of the children of heterosexual parents polled were homosexual. This further supported his theory that parent influence does not contain that much weight in whether or not a child becomes homosexual.

In the article written by Charlotte Patterson, she states that there is no evidence of difficulties encountered by children of gay or lesbian families. She also found, as others have, that many children of gay and lesbian families, many of the children identify themselves as heterosexual. She also found that that sexual orientation was unrelated to the amount of time the children spent living with their homosexual parents, a result that would seem to be at odds with many versions of environmental theories about the transmission of sexual orientation (Patterson 5-6).

Due to incomplete research an answer is still unknown to why children become homosexual. It is known that the influence of parents is unlikely, but still very possible. Whether it be hormones or genes inherited from the parents, or the environment a child is brought up in, researchers still need to complete their studies on the issue to find out the truth behind the matter.




Please do not pass this sample essay as your own, otherwise you will be accused of plagiarism. Our writers can write any custom essay for you!
  • Children reared by lesbian couples are just as well-adjusted as kids of heterosexual couples
  • That was the lead line in a story posted by the Associated Press on April 3, 1997. My question upon reading this headline is, why is this news? Why is it so hard for people to believe that lesbian couples can raise happy, healthy kids? Not one study, but three, were done to prove this
  • Homosexual adoption
  • «Whatever the final equation of factors influencing sexual orientation and identity, there's an immediate implication for the increasing number of gays and lesbians forming families» (Of Boys 27). Today, many gays and lesbians are «out of the closet» and they are not afraid of facing society with what many people consider abnormal sexual orientations. We
  • Aids in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Fiction
  • Based on reflections made as part of activities of the project developed by me along with Professor Italo Morriconi at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, entitled Body and History in contemporary literature and culture: the writing of AIDS (critical reading and documentary researches), and having as its start point a comparative study on
  • Lesbian By Choice
  • Sample essay topic, essay writing: Lesbian By Choice - 631 words There are many labels, names and categories that have been assigned or given to lesbians. What is 'lesbian'? Is it a certain type of woman? Does one lesbian have an identical feature or character as another lesbian? Does a lesbian have something extra or something
  • Critique of ‘Confronting Child Sexual Abuse’
  • I believe the film "Confronting Child Sexual Abuse" enlightened myself on the service of CPS. To be a social worker you need to be able to deal with stress and to be able to leave the job at work when you go home. The case manager is responsible to assure that all the medical and