Family and Having Children

Can lesbian and gay people be good parents?

Text from APA, edited by Uta Krüger and Dr. phil. Gisela Wolf

Many lesbian and gay people are parents; others wish to become parents. According to experts from the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg, some 16,500-19,000 children in Germany live in same-sex family units, statistical errors considered.

As the visibility and legal status of lesbian mothers and gay fathers improves, many people still express their concern for the wellbeing of children in these families. Many such questions derive from negative misconceptions about lesbian and gay people. The majority of studies on this topic question whether children raised by lesbian or gay parents are disadvantaged as compared to children who are raised by heterosexual parents. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions in this regard and the accompanying answers:

1. Do children of lesbian and gay parents have a harder time in developing their own sexual identity? Do these children for example have issues with their gender identity or gender role?


The answers according to existing studies clearly show that sexual and gender-specific identity (including gender identity, gender role behaviors and sexual orientation) develops in the same way in children of lesbian mothers as it does in the case of children of heterosexual parents. Unfortunately, only a limited number of studies have been carried out on the children of gay fathers; therefore, no definitive conclusion can yet be reached in this case.

2. Do children raised by lesbian or gay parents have problems in their personal development beyond sexual orientation? Are for example children of lesbian or gay parents more likely to suffer from mental disorders, or do they have more behavioral disorders than other children?


Studies on personality, self-image and behavior found few differences between children of lesbian mothers or heterosexual couples. It should be assumed that children of lesbian mothers grow up in a similar way to those of heterosexual parents. Again, unfortunately there are only a limited number of studies in the case of children of gay fathers.

3. Is the likelihood of difficulties in social relationships higher in the case of children of lesbian or gay parents?

Is it for example more likely, that they are bullied by their peers or mistreated in other ways?


Once again, studies show that children of lesbian and gay parents possess normal bonding abilities as compared to their peers and other adults. The picture drawn from these studies shows that children with lesbian or gay parents enjoy a social environment typical for their respective age, in terms of their connection with peers, parents, family members and friends.

4. Are these children at more risk of being sexually abused by a parent, the partner of a parent or an acquaintance?



There is no scientifically supported reasoning for children of lesbian and gay parents to fear being sexually abused by their parents or their lesbian, gay or bisexual friends and acquaintances. Quite to the contrary in fact; growing up in a lesbian family was actually shown to rather protect children from sexual abuse.

In summary, it should be noted that it is scientifically proven that the above-mentioned concerns regarding the parenting abilities of lesbian or gay people are unfounded and can therefore be exposed as prejudices. Principally speaking, the studies show that in terms of their development, adaptability and general wellbeing, children of lesbian and gay parents are no different from children of heterosexual parents. Children who grow up with homosexual parents are just as happy as children with heterosexual parents. 


APA = American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC. [available at].

Last updated: 02/26/2021 - 10:42

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