Should a gay child be fostered by a gay parent? The answer is obvious
according to Gena Hymowech of campaign organisation ProudParenting.com.
There are many reasons why a gay child may do better in a gay household. One of
the things a gay couple can give a gay child that a straight couple may not be able
to is a way of putting their life thus far into some sort of context.
David Hirst and Sean Galligan are a gay couple who foster
a gay child Adam.|
David in a BBC interview said that he has taught Adam “that sexuality is not
the biggest issue in his life; the baggage that came with it is."
The result of that
has been a renewed sense of self-confidence for Adam. “I had a bad opinion of who I
was and my sexuality before I went to live with them," he explained to the BBC, but he
is now much happier.
Another thing a gay couple can do is give a young child a positive role model. Straight
parents can be very loving, but there is something very encouraging about seeing a successful
gay man or woman when you are a gay child yourself. It makes you believe you can achieve great things too.
A gay foster couple also allows children to possibly be more open about their lives. When a
child is placed with straight parents, he may feel the pressure to be closeted, something that can
be detrimental to a teen’s social and emotional life. But a gay couple will encourage that child to
go out on dates, and find a boyfriend or girlfriend - in other words, to be just like any other kid
his or her age. And even if a straight couple supports a child’s coming out, there may be
homophobic brothers and sisters in that family who do not.
In fact, a recent article, published
in Boston magazine Edge detailed how LGBT children are facing homophobia in the foster care system.
Psychologist Gregory Banks explained in the story the harm foster parents do when they take
their foster child to a clergy person. Banks also said in the article that “a lot of kids try to
stay in the closet - they say 'Well, my parents abandoned me. I’ve been through six foster homes
in my life, Greg, and they’ve all abandoned me.’ So if the home’s going really good, they don’t
want to come out for fear of being thrown out."
A gay parent can also teach a gay child certain aspects about gay life
and gay history that a straight couple cannot. Learning about gay life and
its past can only give a gay child more pride in who he is.
Gay foster parents may also be able to serve as better advocates for their
children in the child’s school and in their town.
A straight parent hearing that a
child is teased in school may simply tell to child to shrug it off, but a gay
parent knows, usually from first-hand experience, that teasing about sexual orientation
can be more serious than the regular kind of teasing. That parent may be more likely
to fight for his child’s right to have an education undisturbed by homophobia.
LGBT families with love for all - Photo: OutUK
And what does a gay foster parent get out of the situation? Besides the unconditional
love of a child, he gets a chance to parent a child with the kind of open-mindedness he
may not have experienced when he was a child, and that is a huge thing.
The Albert Kennedy Trust with offices in London and Manchester provides help and advice
to young gay people who need to find a supporting home environment.