But bring up gays adopting children, and all of a sudden even the staunchest allies grow a little less vocal. There is still something about gays and children that make people nervous. The myths surrounding homosexuals and adoption persist, even among professionals who should know better. One state, Florida, bans gay adoption entirely. Others don’t explicitly prohibit gay adoptions but don’t allow them either.
This article looks at the myths that many people still believe about homosexuals and adoption.
Myth: Gays are likely to molest children.
Fact: One of the most common arguments against homosexuals and adoption is that gays want children only to molest them. According to the American Psychological Association, however, there is not a single shred of evidence that gays are more likely to molest children than heterosexuals. In fact when one looks at the percentages, straight men are the group most likely to molest children, but nobody would seriously suggest preventing heterosexual men from adopting children.
Myth: Gays recruit children.
Fact: Gays don’t reproduce, or so the argument goes, so they must recruit children into the “gay lifestyle.” The truth is that being raised in a gay household does not make a child any more or less likely to become gay. In fact, most studies suggest that sexual orientation is probably determined even before birth. The role of the environment is small, if indeed it exists at all. Otherwise, all of us gay people raised in homophobic, heterosexual families would have turned out straight.
Myth: Children raised in same-sex families are poorly adjusted.
Fact: According to the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers, there is no evidence that the sexual orientation of one’s parents or adoptive parents interferes with one’s social adjustment. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that children raised in gay households function just as well cognitively, socially, and emotionally as children of heterosexual parents.
Myth: Children raised in same-sex families don’t have proper male/female role models
Fact: While it is true that children need role models of both genders, there is no evidence to show that these role models necessarily need to be part of the nuclear family unit. Otherwise, every child raised in a single parent home would be severely disadvantaged which is obviously not the case. Role models can come from friends, extended family, and social programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Some of the myths about homosexuals and adoption are so absurd that they would be funny if they didn’t hurt kids. But we live in a society where, according to the Children’s Bureau, more than 100,000 children are in foster care and waiting to be adopted. At the same time, many gay and lesbian couples are aching for the chance to adopt. It’s time to release the tired old stereotypes and allow children needing adoption to go to the loving, same sex couples that are waiting for them.