Nurture and Nature - Influence of Parents on Children's Sexual Orientation

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Influence of Parents on Children's Sexual Orientation

    Do parents influence their children's sexuality?  The answer may

surprise you: no they do not.  It has been found that about 90% of sons of gay

fathers are heterosexual (Bailey 124).  It was also found that 90% of daughters

of lesbian women are also heterosexual (Golombok 4).  According to a poll taken

by Northwestern University almost 95% of people expect children of homosexual

parents to be homosexual themselves (Bailey 125).  This popular belief has

affected many child custody decisions because of the possibility of the parents

molesting the children, or the possibility of the children becoming homosexual

themselves.  Even if the children becoming homosexual is a possibility, why deny

custody to a parent based on his or her sexuality?


        The question has been raised on what can and what can't make a child

homosexual.  Some believe that children learn by imitating their parents.  This

theory cannot be totally rejected, but due to recent research it is believed to

be more unlikely.  Others have said that children identify with an opposite-sex

parent and copying their behavior, this coupled with a distant same-sex parent

makes the argument even more believable.  It is also possible that homosexual

parents reinforce certain types of behavior, either homo- or heterosexual

(Bailey 125-126).


        Some say that hormones affect the sexuality of children, which may be

inherited from the parents.  For example, an anatomical difference in the

hypothalamus of homosexual men has recently been identified, but the reason for

this difference is still unknown (Golombok 4).  Sex hormones are seen by some...

... middle of paper ...

... Whether it be hormones or genes inherited from the parents,

or the environment a child is brought up in, researchers still need to complete

their studies on the issue to find out the truth behind the matter.




Bailey, J. Michael. Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers.

Developmental Psychology.  1995, Vol. 31, No. 1, 124-129


Golombok, Susan. Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children?

Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Lesbian Families.  Developmental

Psychology.  1996, Vol.        32, No. 1, 3-11


Meyer-Bahlburg, Heino F.L. Parental Influences on the Development of

Homosexual Orientation.  Developmental Psychology. 1995, Vol. 31, No. 1, 12-21


Patterson, Charlotte.  Sexual Orientation and Human Development.  Developmental

Psychology.  1995, Vol. 31, No. 1, 3-11


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