Opposition to Queer Parenting and the Facts
Opposition to Queer Parenting and the Facts
Stereotypes of Queer People
1. Queers are stereotyped as having 'mismatched or fraudulent genders'.
2. Lesbians want to be men or look like men.
3. Gay men want to look like women or be women.
4. Queers are considered
corrupt and sinister because they are considered child molesters and sex craved
maniacs (Richard, Tate, Advocate).
Judges use the last stereotype as the main stereotype in keeping the queer parent from having custody of the child. In cases where there is a queer parent, The idea of having an 'alternative lifestyle' is used against the parent in most cases. The standard of the best interest of the child is used when deciding who gets custody of the child. However, some judges have biases when making their decisions.
The Three Approaches Used When Deciding Whether a Queer Parent is Fit
The Per Se Approach
The sexuality of a parent is a barrier when obtaining custody. It is thought that queers are unfit and it is nearly impossible to prove his/her fitness as a parent. The per se approach was applied in the G. A. v D. A. case in the late 1980s. The lesbian mother was denied custody all because of her sexual orientation. The father, who according to the description, was considered less fit, was still given custody of the child.
The Middle Ground Approach
Queer parents are not thought of as being unfit, but instead that the child/children will be harmed through the conduct of the queer parent. Restrictions on the parent is usually made. In the case of N. K. M. v L. E. M. , a lesbian mother was not allowed to associate with her lover in her child's presence. Sexuality active queer parents are considered unfit. Even with testimony from others, sexually active queer parents are still denied custody because courts are going against court guidelines. Heterosexual parents on the other hand do not have to go through interrogation concerning their sexual lives. Extra marital relationships are only taken into account when it has negative affects on the child/children. The flaw to this approach, like the flaw with the per se approach, is there's no consideration of the specific needs of the child/children or the parenting abilities.
The Nexus Approach
This approach requires that there has to be proof that there would be a negative affect on the child/children Through this approach the idea of 'the best interest of the child/children' is considered and is unbiased. Compared to the middle ground approach the extramarital activity of the queer parent like the heterosexual parent is only taken into consideration when it has a negative affect on the child/children. In the case of Guinan v Guinan, a parent's sexual habits should not be an issue unless it has negative effects on the child/children.
Reasons to Deny Custody to Queer Parents
1. Psychosocial development
2. Societal stigmatization/harassment/intolerance
3. Inability of queers to be good parents
5. Exploitation/molestation by a queer parent
The Four Fears That Make Up This Category
1. Child/Children will develop inappropriate gender identity.
2.The child/children will acquire inappropriate sex role concepts and sexual behaviors.
3. The child/children will develop psychological behavior problems.
4. The child/children will develop a queer orientation.
The people behind these categories have been psychoanalytic and social learning theorists. According to the psychoanalytic theorists the oedipal conflict will be resolved through the presence of heterosexual parents. Also lesbian couples will cause a problem because of the lack of male figure in the child's/children's psychosexual development. The basis of the psychological development are modeling referring to the imitating adults of the same sex and reinforcement referring to the rewarding of the child/children for acting how they should for their sex.
Social Factors That Influence the Child/children
1. Parental reinforcement
2. Social pressure
3. Modeling and imitations of parents
5. Television characters
6. Own cognitive development
7. Child's/children's biological development
Also, social learning theorists forget that most queers have been raised by heterosexual parents which proves that being queer is not learned. It has been found that the percentage of queer children of queers is the same as found in the heterosexual population. Studies done on lesbian mothers compared to single heterosexual mothers showed no correlation between the sexual orientation of the mother and the psychosexual development or that it was a psychiatric risk to the child/children. The fear of peer group stigmatization or sexual identity conflict were not backed up in study findings. Marital problems and divorce affects the child'/children's psychological development instead of the mother's sexual orientation. In most cases the parent's sexual orientation is blamed when it is really marital problems.
A child/children raised in a lesbian household do develop an appropriate gender identity. They acquire appropriate sex role concepts and sexual behaviors. They usually develop a heterosexual orientation. Also, child/children of queer parents will become more tolerant to diversity.
By having a queer parent is thought that the child/children will be stigmatized by his/her peers as well as harassed.
The based on external societal source of which the parents have no control. Courts make more out of the idea that a child/children will be harassed than there actually can be proven. By having the courts say that this harassment will occur, they are just creating more discrimination in society. Also, children are harassed for various reasons and the harassment of having queer parents has been not found when dealing with custody cases. The child/children of ethnicity receive the same amount of harassment and are not taken away from their parents because of that.
Not allowing queers custody only increases discrimination and stereotypes that are negative.
Inability of Queers to be Good Parents
Queers have been labeled as mentally ill. Because they are considered to
be mentally, they are thought to be unfit parents. Lesbians get the back
lash of being less maternal. The basis of these two stereotypes are based
on Christian cultural traditions which considers queer activity unnatural
and considered it a mental disease. In 1973, the American
Psychiatric Association adopted a resolution that includes the idea that
queerness does not impair judgment, stability, reliability of general social and
vocational capabilities and includes that it is not a mental disease.
Even with that resolution, judges still make rulings using their own biases. Research once again has found that queer parents compared to heterosexual parents are no different in their parenting behaviors. Also studies have found that lesbian mothers are just as maternal as heterosexual mothers
The ability for a parent to parent a child/child is not affected by the orientation of the parent.
Gay fathers are denied custody because of the assumption that they will contract AIDS
AIDS has not been found to be used as a reason often in court cases but gay fathers are warned to be ready to argue their case.
Exploitation/Molestation by the Queer Parent
Gay males are stereotyped as being corrupt child molesters even though studies have shown that it is heterosexual males who are primarily the child molesters. Studies also show that molestation occurs between a heterosexual father and his daughter in most cases rather than a gay father and his daughter. The fear of queers molesting has no proof because queers are not sexually orientated towards children.
The problems with these studies is that they do not involve adolescent children or children that have had queer parents since birth. The children in the study have not been in queer house holds in their early years. Another thing to be considered is the effect of a divorce on the child/children.