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The Gay Baby Boom

The Psychology of Gay Parenthood

Suzanne Johnson, Elizabeth O'Connor

Publication Year: 2002

The gay and lesbian community is experiencing a baby boom. Advances in gay rights coupled with increased availability of alternative reproduction techniques have led to an unprecedented number of openly gay and lesbian parents. Estimates are that between 6 and 14 million children in the United States are being raised by at least one parent who is gay. Yet, very little is known about how gay or lesbian headed families function, or whether they differ in any relevant ways from families headed by straight parents.

Written by two developmental psychologists, The Gay Baby Boom reports the findings of The Gay and Lesbian Family Study, the largest national assessment of gay and lesbian headed families. By asking participants detailed questions about the way they parent, the authors are able to describe for the first time exactly what takes place within gay and lesbian headed families across the county. Traditional research has tended to assume that there is something uniquely different and potentially psychologically damaging about children being raised by gays. The authors draw on their data to show these fears unfounded.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

There are a number of people whose contributions to this book we wish to acknowledge. We are especially indebted to Nanette Silverman, our research assistant, who provided invaluable help at every stage of this project. We are also grateful to Kelly Taylor...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

The gay and lesbian community is experiencing a baby boom. Advances in gay rights, coupled with increased availability of alternative reproduction techniques and liberalization of legal restraints, have led to an unprecedented increase in the number of openly gay and lesbian parents. Estimates are that between six and fourteen million children in...

Part One

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pp. 9-10

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1. Ask the Experts: What Makes a Good Parent?

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pp. 11-21

Developmental psychology studies the processes involved in children’s development, encompassing many areas, including cognitive development, language acquisition, sensation and perception, social relations, self-concept, moral development, and childhood psychopathology. Developmental...

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2. The (Nonbiological) Ties That Bind

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pp. 22-35

Gay and lesbian families include at least one, if not two, nonbiological parents. Of course, gay and lesbian families are not the only types of families of which this can be said. Adoptive families and families that have been created via assisted reproductive techniques such as donor insemination...

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3. Are the Children Normal?

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pp. 36-53

question that has been asked, in many different ways, about children being raised by gay men or lesbians is, Are they normal? That is, how do these children compare to their peers who have heterosexual parents? Is their experience so far removed from that of children raised by heterosexual...

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5. Family Life in Gay and Lesbian Families

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pp. 54-67

Referring to a group of families, such as gay- and lesbianheaded families, as if they were a homogenous collection of families is misleading. Gay and lesbian families are a diverse group, not only in terms of the usual factors that differ among families, such as economic and racial backgrounds,...

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5. The Challenges of Studying Gay and Lesbian Parents

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pp. 68-77

A number of issues face psychologists as they embark upon research. They must investigate their area of interest; design their study, deciding which measures to use; locate a group of participants willing to be in the study; and analyze and interpret their findings. Psychologists who wish to...

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6. The National Study of Gay and Lesbian Parents

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pp. 78-87

We set out to do a study that would tell us about family life for gay and lesbian parents in the United States today. We were interested in hearing about how these parents came to form their families, what difficulties they had experienced or expected to experience, what strengths they saw in...

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7. Creating a Family

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pp. 88-122

We were eager to explore how gay and lesbian parents came to become parents in the first place-not only how it came about, but what their decision-making process had been, what options they had considered, and what kind of responses to their plans they had received from others.....

Part Two

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pp. 123-124

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8. Gay and Lesbian Parents’ Beliefs about Parenting

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pp. 125-148

All parents have concerns about their children, goals they wish to strive for as parents, and experiences they feel are important for their children to have. We asked our subjects about these issues in order to see how gay and lesbian parents view their priorities as parents. We deliberately asked...

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9. Life within Gay and Lesbian Families

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pp. 149-168

aising children and maintaining a household are neverending tasks. Research on heterosexual parents has found that the manner in which couples share these responsibilities influences how satisfied they are with their relationship, and this in turn influences their parenting (see Chapter 1...

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10. Conclusion

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pp. 169-178

There are two questions we wish to address in concluding our study and our book. The first is, How are gay and lesbian families doing in the United States today? The second, more specific, question is, What are the most promising future directions for psychological research on these...

References

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pp. 179-190

Index

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pp. 191-192

About the Authors

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pp. 193-194


E-ISBN-13: 9780814743775
E-ISBN-10: 0814743773
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814742600
Print-ISBN-10: 0814742602

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2002

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Subject Headings

  • Gay parents.
  • Children of gay parents -- Psychology.
  • Parenting.
  • Parent and child.
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