The Influence of Parents on Their Children's Sexual Orientation

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The Influence of Parents on Their Children's Sexual Orientation

By | October 1999
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The Influence of Parents on Their 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 as the likely factor in the development of sexual orientation because sex hormone action underlines sexual differentiation and the development of secondary sex characteristics. Studies of the association of sex hormone levels during adolescence and adulthood have yielded negative results, but there...
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