Fatherless boys and motherless girls need stable, healthy, same-sex adult role models to understand how their gender role fits society as adults, says William J. Maier, PsyD., member of NARTH and psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO.
Many fatherless boys Maier counsels suffer from 'father need,' where they are desperate for adult male attention and affirmation. But they can't receive this from a gay man no matter how good the disposition of the gay male. "Big Brother's don't match adult men with teenage girls, because the situation would be risky and could lead to sexual abuse," Maier says. So, he asks why Big Brothers would pair gay men up with teenage boys, since gay men are attracted to the same sex. Maier says, that while most gay men are not pedophiles, mainstream gay leaders promote the virtues of sex between men and boys.
Bert Juneau, 34, a financial consultant fathered his daughter 14 years ago, and raises her with his partner Martin Senn, 33, in Northern Wisconsin. Aside from society's challenge on sexual orientation, "there are few [parental] challenges we face that heterosexual parents do not also face," said Juneau. This two-father home could be as natural as their teenaged daughter's newfound "boy" craze.
New York City psychologist, Dr. William Wedin said, "Scientific research shows no difference between gay and straight fathers so far as their kids turn out as adults."
Sexuality is biologically determined, and nothing, not even reparative therapy, can change one's sexual orientation. The percentage of those who are gay remain equal across all environments and cultures, "from the streets of Manhattan to the jungles of Borneo," Wedin said.
The mental health of a child may in fact be better through parenting by gay men, as those fathers may not have had children on their own unless they really wanted a child, so gay parents have made a conscious decision to adopt and love the child.
Juneau and Senn say they strive to include female influences in raising their daughter, "She is very close to Martinís mother and mine, they both live within a short walk from our home," Juneau said.
At the core of this argument resides conjecture. On NARTH's website, the organization states, "Try as they might, gay couples cannot model the three important relationships that are crucial examples to children at home: that of a husband and wife, mother and father, and male and female. Despite the higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness, suicide, and promiscuity among same-sex couples, the AAFP seems more concerned about mainstreaming homosexuality than about maximizing a child's health and happiness." While there is some research to validate this statement as it applies to single homosexual males; no mental health or scientific research concludes the same results for homosexual couples.
Typically, gay men who become fathers tend to be as straight looking and as straight acting as their 'straight' counterparts, said Wedin. And if you research the background of these men you'll find they grew up thinking they were straight and may not have changed their minds until after they'd married and had children. The onset of homosexual feelings varies widely with men beginning with childhood, or beginning in adulthood.
Both sides agree that science doesn't know why the onset of homosexuality occurs at different times in gay men; but they disagree on whether or not the response is
One patient of Wedin's, a pro-football player, started experiencing homosexual feelings after the player joined professional sports. "Throughout high school and college, he was exclusively attracted to women, and enjoyed straight sex a lot. Then bam!" Wedin's patient experienced sexual feelings towards a member of the team, and "his world fell apart," said Wedin. "He asked me, 'How can a guy like me turn into a fag like that?' So, we had a long talk about onset, and how sudden it can be; 'You're right about that doc,' he told me, 'It is like that guy hit a switch in me.'"
Some men decide to become a father after they've completed the coming-out process and developed a long-term relationship with another man. They might be described as 'straight on the street, and gay between the sheets,' Wedin said. "That is, their straightness is not just an act they put on. It's part and parcel of their true identity, just as their being a father is."
"I have an Irish policeman as a patient right now who is in a relationship with a black physician. They are in the process of adopting a child, which is legal in New York state," Wedin said. The patient, while growing up, knew he was gay and reports that his brothers knew it too, although it did not bother anyone in his family, it only made the policeman tougher, he said.
Such open acceptance "may not be typical of Irish American families in general, it is the kind of family that lets a gay boy grow up wanting the same things that his brothers want--and believing he can have them too," that defines emotional stability.
Pedophilia, which is what NARTH claims is a serious factor Big Brothers ignores, is something else. "What makes these forms [pedophilia] of sexual attraction pathological is that they are not sublimated. Instead, they manifest themselves in sexual words and actions, directed towards the child in question," Wedin said. Sexual attraction towards one's own children in that "attraction is sublimated into admiration of the child's physical and mental attribute," known as "being the apple of your father's eye," is good for all kids; especially when they are developing "their own self-image," Wedin said. "Research shows that homosexual pedophilia and hebephilia are actually less common than their heterosexual counterparts." The myth of gay men molesting boys remains popular in the masses however, especially with the Catholic priest scandals yet to be fully explained.
NARTH says research published in 2001, by "Professors Take Issue With Gay-Parenting Research," shows daughters of lesbian couples dressed, played, and behaved in ways that do not conform to sex-typed cultural norms when compared with heterosexual couple's daughters. Sons of lesbians behaved in less traditionally masculine ways, appeared to be more nurturing and affectionate than boys parented by heterosexuals; while lesbian daughters were more likely to engage in same-sex relationships as adults, the males were not. Teenaged girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to be more sexually adventurous than girls raised by heterosexual mothers. Boys were actually more chaste when raised by lesbians. The study reports "no significant differences between children of lesbian and heterosexual mothers in anxiety, depression, self-esteem and numerous other measures of social and psychological adjustment."
From the fathers' point of view, "We are conscious that we are two men raising a female and we want her to have the benefit of female insight of what itís like to be a little girl, and I know there are parts of that that only a woman can help her with. I would give the same advice to a single mom or a lesbian couple with a male child," said Juneau. He and Senn say they expose their daughter to as many different types of people as possible.
Psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, PhD, president of NARTH, questions whether or not the differences are healthy, in that lesbian mothers have a feminizing effect on their sons, and a masculinizing effect upon their daughters. He said, more research is needed to understand how a rejection of conventional gender roles can have a constricting effect upon identity and psychological health. Despite the gay-parenting research report, the absence of a father in the home is not good for families.
"My daughter once said to me that the thing she liked most about me is that I am gay," said Juneau. "I asked her what she meant by that. I expected some flip answer like 'itís cool to be gay now' or 'no one else has a gay dad at my school,' but she thought that it made me a better dad."
"You listen to me more than my friends' dads do, and I can talk to you about anything," Juneau conveys. Juneau says children of gay people may be more empowered, "They watch us persevere in our daily lives and against the grain of society." Children of gay parents learn how to survive in a constricted world and learn to take nothing for granted.
For more on gay parenting, visit this resource page: http://www.arkparenting.com/gayparenting/