Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

Australian Institute of Family Studies (CFCA): Same-Sex Parented Families in Australia

cfca logo Around 11 % of gay men in Australia have children. Research is now challenging the belief that gay and lesbian parented families are harmful to children. In fact, research shows that children in gay or lesbian families do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as children from heterosexual families.

Studies show that qualities that make good fathers are not related to sexual orientation or gender. Factors that affect children's positive development and wellbeing include strong family relationships and the family's social and economic resources. The risk factors  associated with children's healthy development and adult outcomes include poverty, parental depression, parental substance abuse, divorce and domestic violence.

Gay Dads Wellbeing

Studies of gay fathers reveal that gay dads are more likely to have higher self-esteem than gay men who are not parents. Studies show evidence that parenthood for gay men brings great personal fulfillment and greater connectedness to their own parents and other family members.

Children's Wellbeing in Gay Families

The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS)  at the University of Melbourne is the first study in Australia that considers the health and wellbeing of children in same-sex parented families. Self-report data on 500 children aged 0-17 was collected from 315 LGBT parents using the Child Health Questionnaire and the Infant and Toddler Quality of Life questionnaire. The preliminary findings of this study is as follows. Children aged 5-17 in same-sex parented families scored higher on measures of general health and family cohesion than Australian children from all other backgrounds and family contexts. No statistically significant differences were found for all other health measures, which indicates that Australian children are developing well in same-sex parented families.

While same-sex parented families appear to get adequate support from their health care providers, evidence shows that further policies and practices could be developed to support same-sex parented families in Australian health, education, child protection, child protection and foster care systems.

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Australian Institute of Family Studies (CFCA)

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