Lesbians' kids found psychologically OK

November 23, 1992|By San Francisco Chronicle

In the largest study of its kind to date, a University of Virginia psychologist has found that children born to or adopted by lesbians are psychologically healthy.

The study involved 4- to 9-year-olds in 37 lesbian families from the San Francisco Bay Area. Although other studies have indicated that the children of gay parents show normal personal and emotional development, most of the earlier research has focused on children born to heterosexual couples in which either parent later came out of the closet.

The parents in the new study by Charlotte Patterson were open lesbians when they had children. The study will be published next year.

Gay and lesbian rights advocates say that it will help them legally in custody, adoption and foster care proceedings.

"It's crucial to have documentation that says we're good parents because these studies get cited in custody and other disputes," said Liz Hendrickson, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

No one knows exactly how many children have been born in recent years to openly lesbian mothers, although one researcher estimated the number at 5,000 to 10,000.

Ms. Patterson noted some differences between the children in her study and children of heterosexual parents.

The lesbians' children were more likely to report both feelings of stress, such as anger and fear, and feelings of well-being, such as joy and contentedness.

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