“My wife and I both wanted to have children. As a gay couple, our options were limited. She wanted a little girl she could show how to bake her famous chocolate mousse cake. I just wanted a child to love, but didn’t want to carry. After a lot of research and tears, we learned about surrogacy. Although it took time, we eventually found the surrogate we needed to have a child of our own.
If you are a same-sex couple wanting to have children, we recommend surrogacy. This being said, one of our best friends looked into adoption. He and his husband now have the cutest little boy you can imagine. All I know is having a child changed our lives. We are looking forward to the little things like watching her take her first step, her first birthday and going to school.” This is the story from one of our clients who we have helped to create a family.
Facts about LGBTQ+ Families
About 4.3 percent of all adults living in the United States are in the LGBTQ community. These individuals have identified as gay, transgender, bisexual or lesbian. According to this percentage, over 10.7 million LGBTQ adults are residing in the United States. Approximately 1.4 million of these individuals identified as transgender and 50 percent of the community as bisexual.
What does the family of a LGBTQ+ person look like?
Just like any other parent. An LGBTQ person can be single, married, divorced, separated or co-habitating. Some families are blended or intact with children living in two separate households. Many LGBTQ couples are able to have a family due to assisted reproduction and adoption.
There are fewer marriages taking place in the general population than in the past and the percentages are still decreasing. According to Family Equality Council, the opposite is true for LGBTQ couples since they were granted the right to marry throughout the nation. Almost 1.1 million adults living in the United States have married someone of the same sex. This means there are more than 547,000 married same-sex couples in the nation.
According to a Gallup Poll conducted in 2015, there were an additional 1.2 million LGBTQ adults in the United States in a committed, unmarried same-sex relationship. Since this poll took place before gay marriage was legalized in the United States, there is a good possibility some of these couples are now married.
How many children have LGBTQ+ Parents?
There are currently between two and 3.7 million children below the age of 18 living in the United States with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer parent. Roughly 200,000 of these children are being raised by two parents of the same sex.
The social and legal environment surrounding LGBTQ adults directly affects how families are formed. Same-sex couples and LQBTQ adults are more likely to adopt or foster a child than traditional heterosexual couples. However, to this day, many LGBTQ couples may not be recognized with equal parental rights, even if they are legally married. While same-sex relationships have become more acceptable in the United States, and we have a greater number of LGBTQ persons planning a family through adoption, surrogacy, foster care and assisted reproductive technology, there are still many challenges to family formation.
Diversity in Age, Ethnicity, Income Level, and Education
Of all LGBTQ adults below the age of 50, 20 percent of the men and 48 percent of the women are raising a child under the age of 18.
Over one-third of all LGBTQ couples with kids are ethnic or racial minorities. Roughly 15 percent are Latino, and 12 percent of them are Black.
LGBTQ individuals and couples with children have a lower income than traditional parents. Almost 24 percent of all kids raised by LGBTQ couples are living in poverty compared to only 14 percent of cisgender, heterosexual couples with kids live in poverty.
According to the Family Equality Council, same-sex couples alone have higher education levels. Interestingly, only a one-third of LGBTQ couples with kids have a college degree.
Growing Up with LGBTQ+ Parents
There are people still concerned that having LGBTQ parents will result in social stressors, a requirement for additional emotional support, and kids struggling with their own identity. According to the recent research, this is not true. Kids of LGBTQ parents have the same emotional development as those raised by heterosexual parents. If you are raising, or intend to raise a child as an LGBTQ person, there are some facts you should know.
First, the development of your child is based on the quality of the parenting you provide, and the strength of your relationship; not your sexual orientation.
According to AACAP, research has shown many of the common beliefs regarding LGBTQ couples are incorrect. In fact:
• LGBTQ couples are no more likely to have homosexual kids than heterosexual couples
• There are no differences regarding the gender identity of the children
• The risk of sexual abuse is no greater
• There is no difference in female or male role behaviors
• Data from the Netherlands (the first country to legalize same-sex marriage) indicates that children raised by same-sex parents from birth perform better than children raised by different-sex parents in both primary and secondary education.
Are there specific resources for LGBTQ+ family formation?
As previously mentioned, family formation can be particularly challenging for LGBTQ+ families, but there are a number of resources available. Here are some below:
Our Final Word
Whether you choose same sex adoption, surrogacy or any of the other options available, you can raise a happy, successful, and well-adjusted child. This outcome can be achieved simply by providing a good home, structure, and love. Your sexual orientation is not important. What is important is the way you raise your child.