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Children With LGBQ Parents, Gender Development and Identity

Does parental sexual orientation affect children’s gender development? And if so, how and to what degree? These questions have been widely discussed in legal and policy debates, such as those focused on marriage, child custody, and adoption by LGBQ adults. They have also been the subject of considerable social science research. This entry provides an overview of research findings that address these questions, focusing chiefly on “lesbian and gay” parents because comparatively little research has been conducted on self-identified bisexual or queer parents.

Gender development is often considered to have three aspects. The first is gender identity, a person’s internal sense of being male or female. This is generally discussed in binary terms—male or female—but gender identity can also fall outside of or between the typical ...

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