Same-sex couples do not influence their adoptive children's gender identity

There is no major difference in the gender identity development of children raised by same-sex parents compared to those adopted by heterosexual couples. These are the findings of a new study in Springer's journal Sex Roles. Lead author Rachel Farr of the University of Kentucky in the US says that the toys that children prefer to play with in their preschool years are much more tell-tale about whether they will grow up to conform to typical gender norms or not.

The study included 106 families headed by lesbian, gay or heterosexual . Farr and her team examine how gender-typical behavior develops over time within different family structures, and whether it remains relatively consistent as children grow older. The researchers observed the play styles and the toys that the families' preschool children preferred during playtime. The parents also completed relevant questionnaires. Farr's team returned five years later to interview the children.

The types of play and behavior that most children displayed were found to be typical of their gender, and already appeared to be set in motion from early childhood onwards. The few who played more with toys that are not typically assigned to their sex were in their later school years more likely to aspire to jobs and to prefer activities that are not typically ascribed to their gender.

The data show that family structure had little influence on how children's sense of gender would develop. Moreover, little truth was found in the idea that lesbian or gay parents might encourage or allow more gender nonconformity among their children.

"Parental sexual orientation and family type did not affect children's gender conformity or nonconformity in any significant way," emphasizes Farr. "Our results suggest that the gender development of children adopted by both lesbian and gay parents proceeds in typical ways, and is similar to that of children adopted by . It therefore appears that having both a male and female role model in the home is not necessary for facilitating typical gender development among adopted children, nor does it discourage nonconformity."

Farr believes that the findings may help attorneys, judges, social workers, and adoption agencies when they consider issues about how the sexual orientation of parents may influence the development of their 's .


Explore further

No differences noted over time for children of gay, lesbian adoptive parents

More information: Rachel H. Farr et al, Children's Gender-Typed Behavior from Early to Middle Childhood in Adoptive Families with Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Parents, Sex Roles (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s11199-017-0812-5
Journal information: Sex Roles

Provided by Springer
Citation: Same-sex couples do not influence their adoptive children's gender identity (2017, August 15) retrieved 16 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-08-same-sex-couples-children-gender-identity.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
59 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Aug 15, 2017
Among other things, this is a complete repudiation of the claim the "feminists" said was "scientifically" proven that the types of toys children play with is not related to sex! They insisted that girls can play with bulldozers and boys can play with dolls!
Also, there is no indication, in the vague language used, of how sex and gender were being referenced! Are they saying that only girls played with kitchen sets, or that boys of homosexual parents who "gender identified" with girls played with kitchen sets? There can be "conformity" with gender, but the child can still be mentally unstable. Did only boys plays with cars, or were there girls who "gender identified" with males who played with cars?
Also, there is no real indication that the choice of toys determines sexual direction! The homosexuals kept insisting that homosexual men were not all decorators and homosexual women were not all car mechanics! This "experiment" proves nothing!

Aug 15, 2017
It's like you trained a two-layer neural network using the content of the article and a couple old people's facebook screeds.

Aug 15, 2017
I guess if they are really bad parents, who would want to grow up like them?
But on the other hand in that case, I guess they did influence the child.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more