Today’s NY Times has a discussion of the parenting of same-sex couples. It looks at Abbie E. Goldberg’s new book, “Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children,” which is an analysis of more than 100 academic studies, most looking at groups of 30 to 150 subjects. Most of the focus is on lesbian parenting, since gay men parented much less until recently. The news is all good for the cause of same-sex marriages. And some is intriguing.
First of all, the children are the same as children of heterosexual marriages on all the standard measures of doing well socially. They are popular, make friends and don’t have gender identity problems – at least all in the same measure as other children. And this is interesting:
More enlightening than the similarities, however, are the differences, the most striking of which is that these children tend to be less conventional and more flexible when it comes to gender roles and assumptions than those raised in more traditional families.
Girls in particular are more likely to be interested in jobs like being a doctor over being a nurse, and they’re more likely to play with “boy’s” toys.
Of course, when I first read it, I thought of all those studies that claim that within a few days of birth gender interests are showing up. Could the environment of same-sex parents show that’s not innate? But I now suspect not. After all, supposing an interest in Barbie is innate, it’s just the sort of thing one might think lesbian parents lack and so don’t pass on. O dear!
I guess we’re just back to the basic implausibility of 20th century gender markers being carried by those pesky old genes.