MELBOURNE — The world’s largest study on the welfare of children of same-sex parents, currently under way at Melbourne University in Australia, found that children of gay and lesbian are doing as well as, or better than, children of heterosexual parent in a number of key health indicators.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) was designed to explore for the first time the complete health and well-being of Australian children with same-sex parents, and in particular the impact that anti-gay discrimination has on them.ACHESS collected data on 500 children aged 0-17 years from 315 index parents.
According to the study:
- For 80 percent of the children a female parent completed the survey, 18 percent were completed by a male parent, with 2 percent having a transgender parent;
- These parents describe a range of sexual orientations including homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer;
- 93 percent of parents are currently in a relationship;
- The children come from all states and territories in Australia, with the exception of the Northern Territory;
- 15 percent of children were born overseas and 11 percent speak a language other than English at home;
- On measures of general health and family cohesion, children aged 5 to 17 years with same-sex parents showed a significantly better score when compared to Australian children from all backgrounds and family contexts. For all other health measures there were no statistically significant differences.
The study also found that Australian children with same-sex parents and their families continue to face discrimination in a variety of contexts.
“Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying,” said lead researcher Dr Simon Crouch.
“This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis,” he said.