The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) is a long-term investigation, which took place over the course of 24 years. The study evaluated rates of child abuse among families with lesbian parents. The authors of the study probably anticipated that child abuse rates would be similar to the general population, but the actual results of the study were shocking.
Among the 78 teens raised by lesbian mothers, not a single participant reported any form of abuse from either parent. In other words, the study revealed that lesbian mothers have a zero percent rate of child abuse.
This contrast is far from negligible. A whopping 26% of adolescents with heterosexual parents report physical abuse, while another 8% report sexual abuse. By comparison, a 0% rate of abuse among lesbian moms is stunning.
The study revealed another interesting finding. While nearly 10% of the general population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, less than 3% of teens raised by lesbians identified themselves as gay. Good news to conservatives– queer is not contagious.
Reasons for the Findings
Although the authors of the study did not investigate the reasons for te zero percent rate of child abuse among lesbian moms, several factors may influence this sharp contrast. Most lesbian moms intentionally adopt or seek sperm donation, but nearly half of children born to heterosexual couples are unplanned. An unplanned pregnancy certainly doesn’t automatically mean that the child will be abused, but the amount of deliberation involved in lesbian motherhood probably decreases the likelihood.
While people of all genders and orientations can abuse children, most cases of sexual abuse are perpetrated by heterosexual men. For this reason, kids raised by straight parents are more likely to experience these forms of abuse, which appear to be almost completely absent in two-mommy households.
Effects and Limitations of the Study
Because the study found a 0% rate of child abuse in lesbian households, this investigation can help to dispel myths regarding gay parenthood. Conservatives have long argued that gay adopton is bad for society or bad for children, but this 24-year investigation revealed just the opposite. Lesbian households yield a near-zero percent rate of child abuse, and most kids raised with two mommies are emotionally stable– and heterosexual.
However, like all studies, this one does have limitations. A 0% rate of child abuse does not mean that no children with gay moms experience mistreatment. It is important to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement authorities, regardless of the parents’ orientation. Just like heterosexual parents, lesbian moms are individuals and may make bad– and irrevocably harmful– decisions regarding parenting. A scientific study can not account for irresponsible behaviors among individuals.
Source-National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, accessed 11/11/10