Orientation expression until later because of social

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orientation expression until later because of social pressures in their communities (Munoz-Laboy, 2008). Today, people's abilities to integrate their sexuality into their self-awareness vary by individual, race, family of origin, faith, social class, and geographic region (Cianciotto & Cahill, 2010; Teunis, 2006). Learning to be Straight LGBTQ Family Formation Historically, LGBTQ people were forced to live in secretive ways that did not allow them to love each other or even to treat other gay men or lesbian women with dignity, respect, or equality (D'Emilio, 1998). In fact, until sometime in the 1960s, gay men felt that they could only love or have sex with heterosexual men, not other gay men, and the same was true for lesbian women. Today, it is possible to find love and to
create family with other LGBTQ people. Forming their own family is now considered an act of sexual orientation expression for many people in the world (Badgett, 2009; LaSala, 2010). Research reveals that when LGBTQ people can integrate sexual orientation into their families and familial relationships, they experience a greater likelihood of sexual well-being (Badgett & Herman, 2011; Herdt & Koff, 2000; Ryan et al., 2009). Page 352 CONTROVERSIES in Sexuality Can Same-Sex Couples Raise Well-Adjusted Children? Some political and social commentators believe that people can learn to be gay and so allowing gay parents to raise children can make them gay (Irvine, 2002; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001). For example, in 2008 when voters in California were to vote about legalizing same-sex marriage, a television commercial strongly hinted that young children would “learn” to be gay if same-sex marriage was made legal. No empirical evidence supports the notion that sexual attractions can be taught or learned in this way (Cianciotto & Cahill, 2010). In fact, researchers have found that this belief that people can teach others to be gay is a form of prejudice against sexual minorities (Herek, 2004). One meta-analysis of 21 studies of LGBTQ parents did show small differences between straight and gay parenting, but these differences appear to be generally positive in nature, not negative (Stacey & Biblarz, 2001). For example, daughters of lesbian couples aspire to occupations more traditionally filled by men compared to their heterosexual peers (Stacey & Biblarz, 2001). The researchers also found gender differences in the behavior of the offspring of gay and lesbian families. Boys raised by lesbian mothers, for example, tended to be less assertive than traditionally raised males. There was, however, no statistical difference showing that children are more likely to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Another study in The Netherlands looked at 100 heterosexual couples and 100 lesbian couples with children ages 4 to 8 who were raised by these couples since birth (Bos, van Balen, & van den Boom, 2007). Data were collected using questionnaires, observations, and a diary of activities to understand if there were differences in child adjustment, parental characteristics, and child rearing. The researchers found that lesbian mothers who were not the biological mothers differ from heterosexual fathers in certain

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