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Symposium Explores Impact of Lesbian and Gay Parenting

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Heather Has Two Mommies
Symposium Explores Impact of Lesbian and Gay Parenting

Posted April 28, 1999

Photo: Family

From left to right, Berkeley staffer Jane Griswold; her partner, Gigi Glynn; and their daughter, Heather Chun.

A rare symposium, "Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: A Closer Look," examines the influence of gay and lesbian parenting on children. The Thursday, May 6, conference includes new information on the adaptation of these children, the prevalence of homosexual families and a discussion on legal aspects of gay parenting.

Speakers include Charlotte Patterson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of studies on the families of gays and lesbians; Seth Sanders, associate professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and author of studies on the demography and economic status of homosexual parents; and Joan Hollinger, visiting professor in family law at Boalt, who drafted the Uniform Adoption Act. Gay and lesbian parents will also share their experiences.

Studies of gay and lesbian parents show children raised in these families compare well with children raised in heterosexual unions in terms of their social, academic and psychological well-being. Families studied have been followed over time and interviewed in-depth, revealing rich detail on how children develop a sense of self when parents share the same gender.

Other work presented gives new data on the growing phenomenon of same-sex families. According to the 1990 census, 22 to 30 percent of lesbian couples and about five percent of gay men are raising children. Legal discussions will include the issues of separation and visitation rights in same-sex families.

The symposium, which begins at 2:30 p.m. in Boalt Hall's Booth Auditorium, is presented by the Berkeley Family Forum, a cross-disciplinary group of some 40 Berkeley faculty who meet regularly to consider solutions to the problems of children and families.

For information, call 642-3475 or email


April 28 - May 4, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 32)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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