New Democracy Maps

An Ally's Guide to Talking About Adoption by LGBT Parents

The Bottom Line

An estimated two million children in the U.S. are being raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parents. While parenting law is supposed to protect the best interests of children, for these families and for the thousands of children awaiting adoption into forever homes, it does not do so. Why? Because the law often denies children the permanency and security of having two legal parents or a forever home—simply because the parents who want to provide that permanency and security are lesbian or gay.

An Ally’s Guide to Talking About Adoption by LGBT Parents provides conversation tools that can help build and strengthen support for second-parent adoption and joint adoption by lesbian and gay parents. It also recaps what social science tells us about outcomes for children raised by gay and lesbian parents; underscores that adoption is about creating loving, stable homes for kids; and reaffirms that good parenting is good parenting, no matter whether the parents are gay or straight.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project, ACLU, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Family Equality Council, and Human Rights Campaign. June 2012. “An Ally's Guide to Talking About Adoption by LGBT Parents.” MAP's Talking About LGBT Issues Series. (date of access).

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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