STUDY: Half of Teens With Lesbian Moms Face Stigmatization At School

According to a new study from the Williams Institute, exactly 50 percent of 17-year-olds who grew up with two moms felt like they were treated unfairly because of having a lesbian mom.

Says the study:

The results further revealed that teens’ peers were most often the source of negative comments, teasing or ridicule. Thirty percent of reported incidents occurred in elementary school and 39 percent occurred in high school.

“The findings suggest that educational systems could play an important role in preventing stigma incidents by discouraging homophobia in their anti-bullying programs,” said lead author Loes van Gelderen, MSc, University of Amsterdam.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of the studied teens used effective, adaptive coping skills. Most teenagers tried to comfort themselves while others confronted the perpetrators to make it clear that teasing and ridicule were unacceptable. Some choose to be with friends who were supportive of their family situation, or looked for social support by telling others what happened. Other teens, however, used coping skills that were less effective, such as trying to avoid confrontation. For example, one teenager said, “I soon learned to keep my mouth shut and use the term ‘parents’ instead of ‘moms’.”

While the Anoka-Hennepin school district has given us a tragic example of what happens when teachers aren’t allowed to stand up for anti-gay bullying, not much effort has been put into seeing how we can protect the children of gay parents from stigma.

So, yes, we need a message of “it’s okay to be gay,” but in these modern times of modern families, do we also need some new slogans to live by: “I’m glad to have two dads” and “I got mad aplomb for my two moms”?

Photo via AJ Alfieri-Crispin

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #childrenofgayparents #it'sokaytobegay #lesbians stories and more


  • PTBoat

    Sounds like a study that hate groups will harp on. Any child, with any difference, is subject to ridicule in high school. Teaching tolerance is a way to curb this, but definitely watching for the escalation of teasing into bullying is the most important.

  • Spike

    All any child has to do is look to politics and religion and they will understand
    anything that identifies you as different from the status quo opens you up to attack.

    No point in teaching tolerance in schools when the adult world accepts and promotes
    intolerance as a norm for survival.

  • Dave

    @PTBoat: The sad part is, you’re right. And when the hate groups do latch on to this to suggest it’s a reason to object to same-sex parenting, they won’t even have the decency to choke to death on the irony. “Gay parenting is bad because of the stigma, bias, and persecution we choose to heap on kids with gay parents.”

  • Evan Mulvihill

    @PTBoat: Yeah, I think they may have needed to raise the bar as far as what level of intimidation/threats the kids faced in school. They definitely need to include a question about whether the kids feel bullied, verbally or physically. Also, it only considered 78 children of lesbian moms, and that’s a very small sample size.

  • Queer Supremacist

    This is why only gays should be allowed to raise children.

  • Hyhybt

    I do like the idea behind saying “parents” instead of “moms.” At least theoretically. It makes it far more likely that by the time someone notices that both parents are Mom, they’ll know you for you.

  • Greg

    I agree with Hyhybt they’re someone’s parents.

  • Okama

    As far as I can see, no one here so far was actually raised by two moms. Well, I was. But, for full disclosure, I should also say that I grew up in Greenwich Village in New York City, so I’ve not really experienced much of the harassment that is talked about here. That said, I didn’t start telling people out-right about my moms until 7th grade, when a girl repeatedly asked me if some famous person who shared my last name was my father. I eventually told her, in easy earshot of the entire table (I said it loudly) that it was impossible, because I had two moms. By 9th grade, I was using it as a “filter” for liberal-minded friends, and last year, when the marriage-equality bill passed, I had to take the day off from school when my parents got married; I told the teachers whose classes I would be missing that my parents were getting married, and, when asked why they were getting married so late in my life, I proudly and defiantly declared that they were gay. I have specifically told them to come to parent-teacher conferences this year so that they can “filter” all of my teachers. Even though I don’t tell everyone so defiantly about my own sexuality (bisexual, and, naturally, my lesbian parents know), my family is something that I feel only pride and love for. And as for anyone who wants to challenge that, well, in the immortal words of Lilly Allen, “Fuck you, fuck you very, very much”.

  • drums

    Holy shit, could that guy’s sign be any more offensive? Combines Islamaphobia with an obvious inability to understand or care that women are usually victims in polygamous relationships like the one he’s implying, with a healthy dose of violence solving everything.

  • Huh ...

    @drums: You have it wrong. The photo is from an anti-Prop-8 demonstration, and the sign is directed at the Mormon Church. Nothing “Islamophobic” about it.

Comments are closed.