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“Children of Homosexuals” Researcher More Apt To Ape Paul Cameron

Jim Burroway

October 17th, 2010

There’s a study out that’s causing quite a stir. It’s by Walter R. Schumm, a professor Kansas State University whose paper has appeared in latest issue of the Journal of Biosocial Science. (JBS was formerly The Eugenics Review from 1909 to 1968, at which time the Eugenics Society changed its journal’s name.) Schumm’s paper, titled “Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals: A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data,” essentially picks up where a very similar 2006 paper by Paul Cameron left off, which claimed that 33% to 47% of children of gay parents wound up being gay. Schumm’s paper claims that children of gay parents were 1.7 to 12.1 times as likely to become gay as children of straight parents, “depending on the mix of child and parent genders.” The implication behind Schumm’s paper, as it was with Cameron’s, is that gay parenting can somehow influence a child’s sexuality, with the implication that homosexuality itself is not biological but determined according to how a child is raised.

Schumm’s study is currently making a big splash on AOLNews, where, according to an article by Paul Kix, Schumm has supposedly conducted a new “robust” study examining whether Cameron was right: Do gay parents make gay children? Cameron’s paper, also published in JBS, was just another example of the shoddy “scholarship” and deliberate distortion of other publications that we’ve come to expect from him. Schumm’s paper seeks to replicate Cameron’s work while acknowledging some of the criticisms of Cameron’s 2006 paper. It’s important to emphasize however that Schumm only acknowledges someof the criticisms. The most important criticism — the completely non-random nature of the so-called “dataset” that Cameron used — Schumm not only ignores, but he repeats that same flaw and embellishes it in a grandly enlarged form.

Schumm, like Cameron, calls his study a “meta-analysis” of ten smaller samples. (Cameron used only three.)  When researchers use the term “meta-analysis,” they mean that they collected a bunch of data from a collection of other studies. And typically, these studies are drawn from what are called “convenience samples.”

To obtain a convenience sample, a researcher defines the type of population he’s looking for and recruits his sample according to eligibility requirements that he defined ahead of time from among people who are more or less conveniently available to him — hence the name. But critically, that researcher would have accepted everyone who volunteered and met the predefined criteria. While this isn’t a representative sample, it is, at least for the most part, a relatively random one, even if it is often very far from being a perfectly random one. Putting together nationally-representative samples is extremely costly and, therefore, extremely rare. Convenience samples are much more common. Good researchers, however, are very mindful of the limits of their sample and would never extrapolate their findings to the population as a whole.

Convenience samples have many weaknesses, and one of the weaknesses is that they tend to be small. A “meta-analysis” is intended to correct that problem. To perform a meta-analysis, a researcher collects a bunch of other studies and combines all of the data from their samples, re-crunches the data, and sees which trends hold up in the much larger sample. This too, is valuable, although it also has its pitfalls. It’s not important to go into them here, but for our purposes it’s fair to say that meta-analysis techniques are useful — as long as the studies gathered for the meta-analysis contain samples that were similarly constructed and were meant to examine the same set of questions. And that also means that the smaller samples were somewhat similarly random, even if they were not statistically representative. The larger meta-analysis retains the same weakness of the smaller random-but-not-representatives samples, but with the larger combined sample, it can tend to diminish some of the quirks (or “outliers”) of the smaller samples. These kinds of studies can be useful in identifying trends and correlations, but they cannot be used to extrapolate behaviors or conditions to the population as a whole.

But Schumm’s “meta-analysis” (and Cameron’s before him) doesn’t even have the benefit of being built off of random convenience samples. There were no convenience samples in any of the ten prior works that Schumm used for his meta-analysis. In fact, they weren’t even professional studies. They were popular books!

That’s right, each of the ten sources that Schumm used to construct his “meta-analysis” were from general-audience books about LGBT parenting and families, most of which are available on Amazon.com. Schumm read the books, took notes on each parent and child described in the book, examined their histories, and counted up who was gay and who was straight among the kids. The ten books were:

The first three were also used in Cameron’s 2006 paper. Schumm comments these books, saying:

The authors of these ten books have done important data collection for the entire scientific community. While their samples may not be random, they may be no worse than the convenience and snowball samples used in much of previous researcher with gay and lesbian parents; certainly their combined dataset is far larger than that of the early studies on gay and lesbian parenting.

This is utter nonsense. None of the books contained any semblance of a sample — not even a convenience sample, and the authors certainly didn’t do anything approaching an “important data collection” by any stretch of the imagination. What they did was tell stories, or, rather, helped the families themselves to tell their own stories. The people chosen in each of these volumes were were not picked according to a pre-defined criteria in the manner in which a researcher would construct a sample. They were chosen solely because the authors and editors thought their stories were compelling. In 2006, Abigail Garner, an advocate for children of LGBT parents, was particularly incensed at Cameron’s misuse of her book and implying that the people selected to appear in it were in any way random. In fact, Abigail said that her book was intentionally non-random:

In fact, I had made a point of having a roughly even number of straight kids and second generation [gay, bisexual or transgender] kids so that both views would be evenly represented in the book. In other words, because of the goals of my book, I deliberately aimed to have 50% of the kids interviewed to be queer. Not because it is statistically reflective of the population, but to give it balance of perspective.

Schumm used Abigail’s book in precisely the same illegitimate way that Cameron did. Despite the fact that Abigail expressly said that she intentionally made her balance of gay kids to straight kids at about 50/50, Schumm used that sample as part of his “meta-analysis” to conclude that gay parents are more likely to create gay kids. Schumm doesn’t say how many of his 262 “samples” he derived from Abagail’s book. Cameron said he used “over 50″ of Abigail’s interviews, so it is likely to be a considerable chunk of Schumm’s “dataset” as well.

But even if the “dataset” from Abigail’s book was minimal, the other books won’t make up for the flaw. The books that Schuum chose are best characterized as literary works, many with essays and stories of kids “speaking out” about having gay parents. (Gotlieb’s Sons Talk About Their Gay Fathers is something of an exception. But here, too, his work is descriptive and not statistical. He also only talks about twelve young men.)

These stories were chosen for their literary and illustrative qualities, and for the compelling nature of each of their situations. The method for collecting the stories for these books is anything but random. In fact, the process is best described as anti-random. Sticking to a rule for randomness would have likely rendered these books both boring and unmarketable. The goal of these authors and editors was not to examine their subjects in a statistical sense, but in a literary sense — to explore issues and perspectives and different points of view, with each story chosen because it illustrates an issue that isn’t touched on by the other stories. And no matter how great or small the so-called “samples” were (Gotlieb’s consisted of only twelve young men), it’s a given that these authors and editors ensured that the experiences of LGBT children were well-represented alongside their straight compatriots, without regard to whether their numerical presence were in any way statistically representative.

That is how good stories are gathered, but it most certainly is not how a sample is collected for statistical purposes. To run statistics on this non-statistical (or anti-statistical) sample would be like judging the ratio of giraffes to chimpanzees in Africa by comparing the populations selected by the zookeepers at your local zoo. Whenever a non-random selection process is used, any attempt at statistics on that process is completely meaningless — and an abuse.

But to add further insult to that injury of statistics, Schumm needed a control sample of children from straight families. For that, he turned to a population-based representative sample from 1994: Edward O. Laumann, et al’s, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. That’s right. He used a deliberately anti-random sample of children from LGBT parents and compared that number with a population-based nationally representative sample of children from households overall to conclude that gay parents are much, much more likely to cause their children to become gay.

Which means that he’s now comparing elephants to oranges.

Before I end this critique, I have another surprise: In his JBS paper, Schumm actually cited me by name and included a complete block-quote from my 2006 criticism of Cameron’s study — while blithely ignoring the main point of that very criticism. Of course, he had to, because the main point of my criticism of Cameron’s work can be multiplied three-and-a-thirdfold for Schumm’s.

And having become a subject of Schumm’s highly selective citation, I can’t help but notice that Cameron often did the same thing. He was famous for picking out a small paragraph of other researchers’ work while ignoring that researcher’s primary findings in the hope that nobody would notice.

But I noticed with Cameron and I’m noticing it again with Schumm. And I’m not surprised. Back in 2007 when Cameron tried to launch an online “journal,” Schumm agreed to be part of Cameron’s editorial board. Cameron’s “journal” failed to get off the ground, but Schumm continues on. More recently he served as an “expert” witness alongside George “Rentboy” Rekers in Florida’s gay adoption trial. As far as I can tell, Schumm comes off appearing more “sciencey” than Cameron, but his methodology is exactly the same. And when you use the same methodology, you end up with the same result: junk science.

Stay tuned. I’ll have more later.

Comments

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Tone
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

People who want to believe the worst about us have little concern for methodology provided the flawed research validates their prejudice. Good job debunking this latest affront to science.

EZam
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

You would think the “liberal-biased” mainstream media would abstain from publishing something not only flawed, but potentially hurtful to the LGBT community.

Edwin
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

I guess these two men haven’t got anything useful to do for society. So instead of a real job they go about slamming people they don’t like. If these two were scientists they would take the time to do real work instead of plagerising other people. Two mor idiots that need to be put in a padded room.

Ben Mathis
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Excellant analysis. Thanks for this Jim.

Scott Stebelman
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

From the AOL summary of the research, it does not appear that Schumm considered any genetic explanation for the higher number of gay children. If homosexuality is largely genetic, than the biological child of a gay parent (presumably from a heterosexual marriage)would have a stronger chance of being gay. Also, many gay men are sperm donors for lesbian friends, and lesbians sometimes serve as surrogate mothers for their gay male friends. Again, the genetics would predispose a higher number of gay children. None of this is factored in the study.

JandyaSays
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

It’s not about science, it’s about prejudice and haterd. It is just like so much else that is coming to light concerning the Straight versus Gay argument. Hatred does not need or seek any valid reasons and is not inclusive of valid reasoning. People HATE because they WANT to hate. It is hard to change that in a person.

It reminds me of the old saying: “My mind is made-up, please don’t confuse me with the facts”.

Rebecca Ashling
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Someone should introduce this Schumm character to Buffy fanfiction so he can use it in a meta-analysis. The results would be hilarious in a this-man-is-a-bloody-fool sort of way.

Rebecca Ashling
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Ignore my comment. I hadn’t properly woken up. Sorry :(

Chris Lang
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Is there any mainstream, credible research concerning the sexuality of children raised by same-sex couples?

Stephen
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for this. Very interesting read.

Christopher
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Chris Lang, while I can’t provide a link (access to the online version is restricted) a good place to start would be Charlotte Patterson’s article “Children of lesbian and gay parents: Psychology, law, and policy”, which you can find in v.64 no.8 (November 2009) of American Psychologist. The article is an overview of several studies and she concludes that,

In study after study, the offspring of lesbian and gay parents have been found to be at least as well adjusted overall as those of other parents.

Glenn
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Bad science is always bad, even if it accurately describes the world. The social sciences are full of bad science, which is a shame. It’s a bigger shame that most Americans are unable to recognize bad science, and that bad science actually gets published, anywhere…

That said, if it were true, how wonderful would that be! As a gay parent, I would be thrilled to know that it might be more likely that my children would be gay, (though from what I can see at ages 2 and 6, I think it’s unlikely in our case). Who better to nurture and cherish the next generation of gay and lesbian Americans than us?

gordo
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for your good work, Jim.

David Blakeslee
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Good work Jim.

I think if the link between Schumm and Cameron is strong, that should be more fully developed.

Convenience samples riddle this area of psychology…and it hurts a lot of interested parties with odd “scientific facts.”

Great job explaining “meta-analysis” in layman’s terms.

Pender
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

This garbage wasn’t peer-reviewed, was it?

John
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

I await the day, although I probably won’t live that long, when such as this elicits nothing more than a big yawn.

Kim van der Linde
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

So, yes, he used a non-random sample and that is valid criticism.

But suppose the research had actually a shred of truth to it. Just suppose that for a moment. Why is it so bad that gay people have more gay children? There is some evidence of a genetic component to homosexuality, so, yes, gay parents should have more gay children.

But there is more. By fighting that we MAYBE have a bit more gay offspring, we actually give in to the stereotype that homosexuality is bad and especially bad if it would be because of the parents behavioral influence.

I am not aware of a study that actually pieces out the number of gay children based on adoption versus biological.

The point in the end is very simple, we will have children anyway.

Priya Lynn
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Chis Lang asked “Is there any mainstream, credible research concerning the sexuality of children raised by same-sex couples?”.

Yes, there’s quite a bit of it and none of it shows that the children raised by same sex couples are more likely to be gay.

If you look through the research listed here at the American Psychological Association you’ll see some of those studies:

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx

Priya Lynn
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Here are a few studies that specifically show children of gay parents are no more likely to grow up
gay:

Golombok, Spencer, & Rutter, Children in Lesbian and Single-Parent Households:
Psychosexual and Psychiatric Appraisal, 24, J. Child Psychology and Psychiatry
551, 568 (1983)

Green, The Best Interests of a Child with a Lesbian Mother, 10 Bull. Am. Acad.
Psychiatry and Law, 7, 13, (1982)

Green, Mandel, Hotveldt, Gray, & Smith, Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A
Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children, 15 Archives
Sexual Behav., 167, 181 (1986)

Kirkpatrick, Smith, and Roy, Lesbian Mothers and their Children: A Comparative
Survey, 51 Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 545, 551 (1981)

Bozett, Children of Gay Fathers, in Gay and Lesbian Parents, F. Bozett ed.
(1987)

homogenius
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Excellent job, Jim. When I saw the fawning AOL story yesterday my BS meter started pinging. You exceeded my expectations! I hope the other gay blogs pick this up–I think you nailed it.

Jay
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Good job, Jim! This is why I keep coming back to BTB for news and information. I appreciate the honest, and thoughtful critique of these sort of studies. I originally found BTB when looking for information on (what I’d always heard) whether gay men were more likely to molest boys. When I realized I might be gay, I was terrified because of all the anti-gay myths I’d heard. Your site gave me the honest information I needed. Ha ha, this sounds like a cheesy testimonial, but it’s true. Best to you and everyone at BTB.

werdna
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Kim van der Linde wrote “By fighting that we MAYBE have a bit more gay offspring, we actually give in to the stereotype that homosexuality is bad and especially bad if it would be because of the parents behavioral influence.”

I think that’s worth keeping in mind, although in this particular case the problems with the study preclude much discussion beyond pointing out the fatal flaws in Schumm’s analysis. I’m fully prepared to accept any valid data that would suggest that children of non-heterosexual couples might have a greater likelihood of being non-heterosexual themselves, but this study doesn’t provide any such data.

Also, I’d like to add my thanks to Jim for this clear and informative critique. This kind of detailed analysis is indeed where BTB shines. (You should still run spell check, however!)

Jay
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

So many studies use convenience sampling, which does little more than give us some information that isn’t very reliable since sometimes we don’t know the factors that influence someone to respond to the call for a study (although often we do). But I guess the only other option is to get a lot more $$ to talk to a lot more people? I think the problem with the meta-analysis thing is that the factors that influence the convenience samples (eg someone who is more active in an urban gay community is more likely to see ads for a study than a gay farmer) will be compounded, and the meta-analysis will not be any more representative than the individual convenience sampling projects.

Amicus
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

This “research” is like a Kubler-Ross stage, or something.

Faced with ‘The Conundrum’, it appears it is not enough to rationalize.

What happens is that people organize and churn out fake research to give the patina of erasing The Conundrum.

Now THAT’s a psychological phenomenon worth studying…ha!

From a political perspective, it’s a propaganda ploy. You try to confuse people enough, so that they don’t know who is telling the truth, don’t want to figure it out, and then you are free to continuing playing (and fundraising) off their native prejudices…

This type of propaganda can be costly in time and energy to defeat, sadly.

Ben in Oakland
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

The other issue is: up to maybe 30 or 40 years aog, it was probably highly unusual to find a pair of same sex parents. It has become relatively common only in the last 20 years.

so who was makin’ all the ‘mo’s and ‘bo’s before then?

One guess.

Theo
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Outstanding post. This is why I come to BTB. Two questions for Jim B., if he would be so kind:

1. Do you know who Paul Kix is? His piece in AOL News is very strange. It has a weirdly combative, snarky tone for a news article, and Kix seems intent on setting up the story as a vindication of derided and vilified Paul Cameron. He also lets Schumm make uncontested assertions about lesbians harboring a hatred of men and how some lesbians encourage their daughters to “try” women. And I don’t think Kix mentions the fatal methodological flaw that you describe above.

2. Leaving aside its history and its name change, do you know what reputation the Journal of Biosocial Science enjoys today? This is the first time I have heard of Cameron and his associates getting published in anything other than a pay-for-publishing journal.

Tara TASW
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for the heads up, Jim. I too was blown away by the Paul Kix article, which was either absurdly credulous aggressively pushing an agenda. I’m betting on the latter, since he gives an uncritical hearing to Schumm’s use of the “recruiting” stereotype.

I wanted to spread the word, so here’s my dkos diary on the subject:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/18/909346/-The-latest-in-homophobic-junk-science

Tara TASW
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, that should be “either absurdly credulous OR aggressively pushing an agenda.”

Though, as with many “stupid vs. evil” situations, the question becomes “why not both?”

Robert
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

I’m just wondering… what would be so wrong if the children of gay parents would be more likely to have a same sex relationship? Isn’t this a good thing?

Are the children of interracial couples more likely to form relationships with people of different races?

This is all based on the premise that kid turning out gay = wrong.

Wayn Besen
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Excellent work Jim.

The question now becomes: Given the level of malevolence or incompetence in this “study”, how can Kansas State justify keep Schumm on staff? He is a blight to the reputation of their program.

Sham study = Schumm Study

Dan
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with Wayne Besen. How can Kansas State keep this impostor on staff? LGBT people are committing suicide because of haters like Schumm. Both the APA and the ASA expelled Paul Cameron, and Kansas State should do the same to Schumm.

A meta-analysis can actually reduce the effects of convenience sample characteristics by incorporating them as variables into the design. I’m sure Schumm wouldn’t do that because his whole purpose, it seems, is to mispresent and demonize the LGBT community. In any case, it wouldn’t work with this “study,” since no actual LGBT samples were used.

It’s incredible that Schumm’s “study” could get published in a journal and parroted by the media.

Chris Lang
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

Christopher and Priya Lynn, thank you for the links for research about children of gay parents!

Wayne, Schumm is a full professor and presumably has tenure–it would be tough to get rid of him. The question would be whether this study comprises academic misconduct (fabrication of results, say). But I think it would be best to err on the side of caution on this sort of thing, because the principle of academic freedom is so important. By the way, your book “Anything But Straight” was very helpful to me a few years ago.

John in the Bay Area
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

This so-called study by anyone with any training in the proper conduct of a study could only be construed as misconduct. The real question is whether his colleagues in a conservative state are willing to address his actions.

I doubt they will do anything. He will just destroy his reputation. On the plus side, this will make it impossible for him to testify in court in the future. He will spend all of his time defending his miserable conduct and conclusions from this publication.

Patrick
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

I also was immediately suspicious of the gentleman who wrote the AOL article. His use of quotation marks when talking about Cameron being dismissed for “ethical” violations was a red flag for me.

Apparently his background includes being a sports reporter with a degree from Iowa State University. I found the Iowa connection interesting, given that same-sex marriage is legal there. I wonder if there’s any type of legislation coming up in that state for a vote or something?

rk
October 18th, 2010 | LINK

So, where is the Gay population’s rebuttle to this? Where is GLAAD? You should submit your rebuttle to the mainstream media because here is it preaching to the choir. We know the truth, but the majority of straigths don’t know jack crap about being Gay. I love being informed by this site and other LGBT sites, but we need to get the facts and our point out the greater media so garbage like this and NOM get exposed. This is where we are failing badly. It is as bad as allowing the anti-gay element take religion from us in terms of the debate.

Steve
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Schumm says, “I don’t believe that homosexuality is 100% genetic.” Okay…90% genetic? 80%? 50%…25%? At what point to you say, oh, this class of people doesn’t deserve civil rights protections under the rubric of “immutable characteristics”? And then you move on to the study…nevermind the data sources…”I’m going to prove that homosexuality is not genetic by comparing the rate of gay children to gay parents and the rate of gay children to straight parents. My hypothesis is that gay parents will have higher rates and this proves that gay is not genetic.” What? Read that sentence again. And again.

Well, one might say, it is more likely that gay children were adopted. Okay, fair enough, for gay men that is more likely. For gay women, it’s probably more likely that their children are their biological children. So lesbians have gay children at the same rate as straight people but gay men have a higher proportion of gay children. Wrong! That’s the exact opposite of what Schumm found. “Daughters of lesbian mothers were most likely (33% to 57%; odds ratios from 4.5 to 12.1) to report non-heterosexual identities.”

Of course this assumes that the etiology of male and female homosexuality are the same. It assumes that the sperm donors had no family history of homosexuality. For gay men, they’re more likely to adopt or seek surrogates but they’re also more willing to adopt and foster children and teens who are already thought or known to be gay. And in the case of surrogates, again, the genes are being passed on directly rather than indirectly through siblings.

And then the data were crap anyway….sigh.

cd
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Well, afaik lesbianism is considered to be a multigenic or semi-dominant genetic trait in scientific research.

Male homosexuality is either mostly not clearly genetic in origin or obeys (to some degree, and likely more than any other mode) semidominant or recessive ‘maternal effect’ genetic inheritance. (Where the genetic makeup of the mother is the deciding fact. This would appear as linkage to the maternal X chromosome but to no particular gene in it in genetic studies. As Hamer discovered to be the case in some kindreds.)

These two things would suggest that in large populations the daughters of lesbian women would have an elevated rate of being lesbian but their sons would have the background rate of male homosexuality. The children of gay men would have the background rate of homosexuality, but the next generation (i.e. grandchildren) would have a higher rate of male homosexuality.

Jim Burroway
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

cd,

I haven’t seen a whole lot of research tying lesbianism to be “multigenic or semi-dominant genetic.” Do you have a source for that?

Almost all of the “maternal effects” that I’ve seen so far in male homosexuality has not been genetic, but hormonal. Although that doesn’t rule out an as yet unknown genetic basis, I haven’t seen anything yet in genetic research that has been identified as suspected areas in the genome.

John B.
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

What I want to know is, were these studies looking at adopted children or biological children? (Did they even differentiate?) Because if there is a genetic basis for being gay–and there does seem to be some evidence for that–then OF COURSE gay parents are going to have gay children at a higher rate than heterosexual parents. Why should this surprise anybody??? Hooray, it’s just one more piece of evidence that being gay isn’t something we “chose” or were made into, it’s something we ARE. But if they’re concerned about gay parents somehow influencing or “making” their kids gay, then they need to start looking at children who were adopted and raised by gay parents.

Kristie
October 19th, 2010 | LINK

Even if the statistics this paper quoted were in fact accurate (which is in question) perhaps the statistical disparity between being raised in a heterosexual household as oppposed to a homosexual household may just make kids more open about who they really are? Did it ever occur to him that perhaps they would have a higher probability of being gay only because they were raised by parents that would accept their orientation, where a large percentage of children raised by heterosexual parents might not find that acceptance & therefore might deny their sexual orientation? That kind of thing does tend to skew data. You aren’t going to get kids raised in very religious, hetero families saying, “Oh, yeah, I gay!” for some survey if they are hiding their orientation from their family & themselves.

I’m not saying the stats are accurate becuase we all know statistics can be made to say a lot of things, but if they were it could be more about acceptance than about influence.

Rich
October 20th, 2010 | LINK

You’re really distorting what a meta-analysis is. This kind of analysis is only as good as the underlying studies and how comparable their measures may be. Some meta-analyses purposely only include well designed, controlled clinical trials. Others look for ways to “harmonize” all comers. The field lacks good adoption studies with comparison groups of actual offspring. In an area like this , I would question the selection of studies as well as the appropriateness of meta-analysis.

werdna
October 21st, 2010 | LINK

Rich wrote: “This kind of analysis is only as good as the underlying studies and how comparable their measures may be.”

Who are you addressing in your comment? It seems you’re just repeating Jim’s point exactly: the underlying “studies” weren’t studies, thus the meta-analysis isn’t useful. Did you read this post?

TwirlyGirly
October 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Please educate me – if the Journal of Biosocial Science is peer-reviewed (and I’m not saying it is – I don’t know) then how in the world did this “study” pass muster and get published, given the sources Schumm used for his “analysis?”

Did anyone else notice that one of the books Jim listed as a source for this “study” is “Trans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones?” If one claims to have performed an analysis of current research regarding whether the sexual ORIENTATION of parents affects the sexual ORIENTATION of their children, then how would a book of stories about parents with gender IDENTITY issues be relevant? (Yes, I know – to the anti gays homosexuality and gender identity issues are one and the same. But scientifically they are not, so if one purports to have studied some aspect of homosexuality, only those transgendered individuals who are ALSO homosexual should have been included). As a matter of fact, *several* of the books include stories of children raised with a transgendered parent. Did Schumm include their data in his “analysis?” If so, did he differentiate between those who are transgendered *and* gay, and those who are trangendered and straight?

Furthermore, I looked up a few of the books used for Schumm’s “study” on Amazon, and a couple of them were written several years ago, and at the time the interviews for the stories were conducted, the “children” were in their 20’s-30’s. This is relevant because many of the subjects were actually raised by what they believed at the time were *heterosexual* parents. It wasn’t until the kids were well into their teens that they discovered one parent was gay – after their parents divorced, found a same-sex partner, and came out. So it’s ridiculous to claim they were somehow influenced to “become gay” by a gay parent they didn’t know they had until their mid-to-late teens.

Kelly
October 27th, 2010 | LINK

Hi,

what page is this quote on:

“While their samples may not be random, they may be no worse than the convenience and snowball samples used in much of previous researcher with gay and lesbian parents;”

need the reference for an open letter I’m working on and I don’t want to buy the study (but I will if need be)

feel free to email me as well. (I’m assuming my address will be visible to Jim Burroway/others at Box turtle)

Jennie
April 25th, 2011 | LINK

I appear to be the only non-LGBT person who has chosen to respond here. The criticisms given in this review seem to be well-taken, but I do not find this study to be worse or less relevant than others I have read. Patterson concluded from a study of children of gays and lesbians who were preschoolers of average age 3 years that there were no effects of gay parentage on their children’s sexual orientation–clearly a sample inadequate to the question. Bailey has published a study which is more a lament about homophobia in judges than it is a true study. Herek has addressed the American Psychological Association regarding his wish to counter stigma against gays and lesbians–a worthy goal–and focuses on homosexual attraction as some kind of inevitable force leading one to a homosexual orientation. All of these are simplistic, sometimes irrelevant, and most of all highly polemic. It makes me wonder whether social science research is of any value at all in deciding public policy.

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