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Children’s gender identity is indepdendent of sexual orientation of parents

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There seems to be an assumption that the sexual identity of children is primarily determined by the sexual identity of their parents. However new research shows that the gender identity of children is generally not influenced by the gender identity of their parents.

It has been reported by Springer that the gender identity of adoptive children is not influenced by the gender identity of same-sex couples. Research shows no major differences in the development of gender identity in kids raised by same-sex parents in comparison to kids adopted by couples that are heterosexual.

The lead author of the study, Rachel Farr of the University of Kentucky, has said that the toys which kids show a preference for playing with during their preschool years serve as a more reliable indicator of whether or not they will grow up conforming to typical norms in dealing with gender. The kind of play and behavior which is displayed by most kids has been observed to generally be typical of their gender.

The minority of preschool kids who played more with toys which are not generally assigned to their sex were found to be more likely as their school years progressed to desire jobs and prefer activities which are not generally associated with their gender. It was observed in this study that family structure did not have much of an influence on the development of a child’s sense of gender.

It does not appear that lesbian or gay parents tend to encourage or allow more nonconformity of gender in their kids. Farr says the results of this study have suggested that the gender development of kids who are adopted by both lesbian and gay parents moves along in generally typical ways, and is very much like that of kids who are adopted by couples who are heterosexual.

It seems that having both a male and female role model in the home does not facilitate typical gender development in kids who are adopted. This also does not appear to discourage nonconformity of gender identity.

This study has been published in the journal Sex Roles. There has not been a significant difference observed in gender identity of kids as a function of sexual orientation of parents. It therefore appears that having caring parents with adequate financial resources is what’s most important to give kids a chance to develop well.

Dr Harold Mandel

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