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Gay Parents

Gay Males In The Parenting Role

As noted previously, the preponderance of research investigating gay male parents and parenthood has been conducted in the United States using European-American, well-educated, affluent, and urban samples (Patterson 1996). Such research has demonstrated that gay male fathers and heterosexual fathers do not differ in their motives for becoming parents (Bigner and Jacobsen 1989). However, gay male parents reported being more responsive and more likely to exhibit authoritative (e.g., limit setting, open to negotiation), as opposed to authoritarian (e.g., dictatorial), patterns of parenting behaviors than their heterosexual counterparts. Gay fathers also emphasized nurturing in their approach to childrearing and fostered a climate of acceptance and respect for diversity that heterosexual fathers did not as frequently endorse. Future research on parenting quality needs to be conducted with larger and more representative samples of gay and heterosexual fathers before definitive conclusions can be drawn in this regard.

Although a gay man choosing to become a parent within an established, committed relationship with another man faces many of the same adjustment issues that arise for a heterosexual man, issues specific to his stigmatized social status make it imperative that he seek information and support. Specifically, gay male parents need timely information about developmental factors unique to children of gay parents, health concerns, legal matters, and financial planning (Patterson and Chan 1996).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsGay Parents - Gay Relationships And Legal Matters, Gay Fathers As A Distinct Group, Becoming Parents And Negotiating Parenthood