Éric Dubreuil

Parents of the Same Sex Preface by Geneviève Delaisi de Parseval. Publication date : May 1, 1998

A growing number of gay men and women have founded families and are discovering the joys of parenting. It is estimated that there are approximately 500,000 families headed by parents of the same sex. They have brought the issue of homosexual parenting into the public arena, shattering traditional notions of the family and raising fundamental questions of filiation, adoption, and medically assisted procreation (artificial insemination, surrogate mothers) which go beyond the sphere of homosexuality and concern the future of our society—and therefore of all of us. Based on 29 interviews, including seven of children and teenagers, the book explores the little-known lives of same-sex-parent families. A fundamental question emerges from the interviews: Whom does a child ‘belong’ to? In Europe, not more than a few decades ago, the answer would have been that a child is the property of his biological mother and father. This is obviously no longer the case. The modern family has been shaken by numerous upheavals, which include the break-up of its traditional structure—followed in some cases by its recombination—and the progression of such factors as adoption, artificial insemination, and homosexual parenting. It is here that the author poses a second vital question: What are a child’s basic needs that can be provided by his or her family? In order to develop a child should be cared for by two adults who have taken on the parental role. But this is not enough. Children should be wanted for their own sakes, and not to offset their parents’ sufferings and frustrations or fill in a gap in their lives. As the author shows, homosexual parents are particularly sensitive to these issues. This book addresses a wide audience, including readers who have not previously given much thought to the subject of homosexual parenting, but who may be confronted with the question. Perhaps one of their children’s friends is the child of a homosexual couple. Perhaps the readers themselves are the parents of a lesbian or gay child who may some day wish to have a family. Such readers may feel uncomfortable with the changing structure of the family. Whatever the case, the situations set forth in this book will provide ample material for reflection. This book will also interest professionals working in family-related fields (psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, and judges) who may have to reach decisions or give their opinions on this matter without necessarily being very well informed or familiar with real situations. In addition, the book should interest lesbians and gay men: those who feel that the notion of family is totally alien and who believe that, by nature, homosexuality and the family are mutually exclusive; as well as those who have identified their desire to become parents and need additional information.