Depressing: The Advocate reports on a survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality. Among the findings: “Fifty-six percent (56%) of American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender respondents reported having attempted suicide compared to 41% of all study respondents.”
The Australian Psychological Association has refuted the claims made in the Senate submission, arguing that the most comprehensive, longitudinal data show that children raised in same-sex families are not disadvantaged due to their parents’ sexual orientation. In some cases, the data show the opposite - and it all goes back to the economic and social resources available to parents. This includes emotional support from supportive networks. The biggest disadvantage to children raised in lesbian, gay, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) families relates to how societies or communities fail to accept and integrate the diverse reality of modern families.
Much the same as the tired old argument on kids raised in single-parent families, it is not the type of family that children belong to that affects their life chances, but rather the socio-economic conditions and stigma to which families and children are exposed. Another important distinction on the outcomes of children is how parents interact with one another and with their children.
A difference is not necessarily a deficit.
Children raised in LGBTQI households are less likely to stick to traditional gender scripts, with daughters more likely to express a desire to enter professional fields traditionally dominated by men, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and astronauts. Sons are less likely to be aggressive. While heterosexual parents are more likely to reinforce stereotypical feminine and masculine activities for their children, gay and lesbian parents are more likely to allow their children to play in gender-neutral ways. Stacy’s colleague Timothy Biblarz notes: ‘Lesbian and gay parent families offer a unique opportunity to examine ways in which gender differences affect parenting practices and outcomes’. Despite some differences in their gendered behaviour, experiences of psychological and social distress are similar amongst kids who come from queer families and kids raised in two-parent heterosexual households. Biblarz observes:
While all children probably get teased for one thing or another, children with gay parents may experience a higher degree of teasing and ridicule. It is impressive then that their psychological well-being and social adjustment does not significantly differ, on average, from that of children in comparable heterosexual-parent families. Exploring how lesbian and gay parent families help children cope with stigma could prove helpful to all kinds of families.
Today’s story about the Australian Senate submission represents a nasty example of scientists misusing their social authority. Medical professionals have misrepresented data to suit their narrow conception of what constitutes a “good” family environment. Misquoting statistics to incite a moral panic is nothing new. This tactic has been used over and over, but there is simply no empirical scientific evidence to back up this tired, antiquated view of families. This argument that LGBTQI families were somehow morally corrupt was around when I first studied sociology in the early 1990s, but it seemed almost passé when I was teaching the sociology of the family a decade later.
Scaremongering must be cyclical, particularly as “gay marriage” is an on-again-off-again political topic in Australia and elsewhere. The evidence is overwhelming - there are no social disadvantages to children of LGBTQI families, except those societies create for them.
Is white skin really fair skin?
Something as basic as the color of our skin has shaped our lives, opened doors, put us at the head of the line.
Granted us privileges we don’t even realize.
We don’t experience the daily disadvantages - the looks, the fear, the hassles - that thrive in the unspoken world of white entitlement.
And that’s unfair.
Another video on LGBT rights, from Argentina. On a positive note on the transformative power of social activism, this video was posted by Blabbeando, who writes:
A year ago, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to grant same-sex couples full marriage rights. Before this year is over, the Argentinean congress might very well pass a groundbreaking transgender-rights law extending health care protections to transgender individuals and making it easier for trans folk to change their ID’s to better reflect their gender identity without requiring proof of gender reassignment surgery.
Getting to this point has certainly taken years of work by Argentinean LGBT organizations, activists, advocates and allies. It has also inspired some pretty amazing television and online video ads.
Stay inspired sociologists! To view the other ads, click here.
(Thanks again Google+ friend!)
'It's Time': a Get Up campaign video from Australia on the need to legalise marriage for LGBT couples. This video is beautifully shot and, like my previous post, the clip celebrates love and commitment.
It is most certainly time to give all people access to equal rights - regardless of their sexuality, so please share this with friends and loved ones.
Music by Oliver Tank - Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion.
(Thanks to my new Google+ Friend for sharing this!)