Thursday, Williams Institute at UCLA Law reports: Young adults with lesbian parents more likely to report same-sex attraction and experiences. This is the result of a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine summarizing findings based on data from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS). NLLFS is important scholarship because it has followed the offspring of lesbians since 1986 and it has a remarkable 92% retention rate.

The NLLFS has resulted in a large collection of peer-reviewed research published to first-rate academic journals.

Genetic rather than environmental:

Our adversaries might say that lesbians raise more gay people because they are lesbians. The more likely explanation is that the birth mother of these children was a lesbian. Therefore, these findings reinforce the idea that sexual orientation is influenced by genetic factors. Of course that is just a theory and it is not addressed by the study authors.*

Furthermore, in this case the term same-sex attracted is accurate and appropriate because (unlike the use of the phrase by conservative Christians) the study distinguishes between gay people and people who have some attractions to the same sex.

The study presents this as: “31% of female and 73% of male NLLFS offspring reported being only attracted to the opposite sex, compared to 54% and 91% of … females and males [in the general population].”

The more important conclusion:

I will quote directly from the letter:

In conclusion, in a large, prospective study involving 25-year-olds with sexual-minority parents, there were no significant differences in measures of mental health between those who were conceived through donor insemination and enrolled before they were born and those in a U.S. population–based normative sample.

In other words, the children of gay parents are no more neurotic than the children of straight parents. (Personally, I am of the opinion that social media has made teens and young adults maladjusted addicts.)


*Nanette Gartrell, M.D.

Williams Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Henny Bos, Ph.D.

University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Audrey Koh, M.D.

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.