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The Influence Of Parents On Their Children's Sexual Orientation

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372 words
Social Issues

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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 have been
some positive results in some prenatal studies (Meyer-Bahlburg 12).
It has been found that gay and lesbian families both reinforce and
punish homosexual attitudes in their children in about equal numbers (Patterson
3). So then, why do only 10% of the children in these families become
homosexual? This question brings up much debate, but ...

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