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What about the children? Arguments against lesbian and gay parenting

Clarke, Victoria


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Dr Victoria Clarke
Associate Professor in Qualitative & Critical Psychology


In this article, I explore arguments commonly used to support the claim that lesbians and gay men should not be parents. Thematic analysis of recent media representations of lesbian and gay parenting and six focus groups with university students highlighted the repeated use of a number of arguments to oppose lesbian and gay parenting. I critically discuss the six most prevalent in this article. These are: (1) “The bible tells me that lesbian and gay parenting is a sin”; (2) “Lesbian and gay parenting is unnatural”; (3) “Lesbian and gay parents are selfish because they ignore ‘the best interests of the child’”; (4) “Children in lesbian and gay families lack appropriate role models”; (5) Children in lesbian and gay families grow up lesbian and gay; and (6) “Children in lesbian and gay families get bullied.” I examine these themes in relation to other debates about lesbian and gay and women’s rights, and highlight the ways in which they reinforce a heterosexual norm. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


Clarke, V. (2001). What about the children? Arguments against lesbian and gay parenting. Women's Studies International Forum, 24(5), 555-570.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2001
Journal Women’s Studies International Forum
Print ISSN 0277-5395
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 5
Pages 555-570
Keywords homophobic bullying, homosexuality, media representations, same-sex parenting, thematic analysis
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