The Gay Baby Boom: The Psychology of Gay Parenthood

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The gay and lesbian community is experiencing a baby boom. Advances in gay rights coupled with increased availability of alternative reproduction techniques have led to an unprecedented number of openly gay and lesbian parents. Estimates are that between 6 and 14 million children in the United States are being raised by at least one parent who is gay. Yet, very little is known about how gay or lesbian headed families function, or whether they differ in any relevant ways from families headed by straight parents.

Written by two developmental psychologists, The Gay Baby Boom reports the findings of The Gay and Lesbian Family Study, the largest national assessment of gay and lesbian headed families. By asking participants detailed questions about the way they parent, the authors are able to describe for the first time exactly what takes place within gay and lesbian headed families across the county. Traditional research has tended to assume that there is something uniquely different and potentially psychologically damaging about children being raised by gays. The authors draw on their data to show these fears unfounded.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Skillfully moves the dialogue from whether or not we should have children to how it is we actually, actively do this thing of being families. . . . Makes important distinctions between the health of our families internally and the effects of the outside world on our development as parents and on our children's development. Johnson and O'Connor engage readers to objectively view our families, the bonds we form, and the egalitarian models that we create for our children without apology and with clarity and respect for this generation of intentional families that has the potential to change the world."

-Aimee Gelnaw,Executive Director, Family Pride Coalition

"Serves to advance the understanding of lgbt families in the U.S. today, and helps provide guideposts for members of same-sex households as they pioneer new family formations."

-Terry Boggis,Director, Center Kids, The family program of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, New York

"Perhaps many heterosexual couples with children and less than harmonious households could learn something."

-New York Times,

"An effortless how-to book that would be recommended hand-me-down reading for prospective same-sex parents from those who've fingered the pages within."

-Metapsychology Online Book Review,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742617
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,146,054
  • Product dimensions: 0.47 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Johnson is Associate Professor of Psychology at Dowling College.

Elizabeth O'Connor has taught as an adjunct faculty member teaching in social and developmental psychology at Dowling College and St. Joseph's College in the psychology and education departments.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Ask the Experts: What Makes a Good Parent? 11
2 The (Nonbiological) Ties That Bind 22
3 Are the Children Normal? 36
4 Family Life in Gay and Lesbian Families 54
5 The Challenges of Studying Gay and Lesbian Parents 68
6 The National Study of Gay and Lesbian Parents 78
7 Creating a Family 88
8 Gay and Lesbian Parents' Beliefs about Parenting 125
9 Life within Gay and Lesbian Families 149
10 Conclusion 169
References 179
Index 191
About the Authors 193
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