I hope you don’t mind me taking the time to introduce myself. My name is Ruth Hunt. I’m the CEO of Stonewall. I’m a Catholic. I love to ride my bike. I’m a godmother to three wonderful little children. I enjoy watching Doctor Who. I’m butch and I’m a lesbian.
Nice to meet you.
Like all people, there are many different things that make me who I am. One of them is my sexual orientation, another is that I have short hair, and another is that I sometimes wear suits and ties.
Some might say, I look like a boy. Others would call me a dyke. In fact, people have been saying both of these things to me since I was 13-years-old..
Wealth inequality in the UK has been rising for the last 10 years and is set to continue growing over the next decade, with young people particularly hard hit, according to a new report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). New YouGov polling for the report shows that the public are deeply pessimistic about the future, and believe the government should do more to counter wealth inequality.
The report, commissioned by Channel 5 to mark the launch of the second series of Rich House, Poor House, finds that the wealthiest 10 per cent of households have five times the wealth of the bottom 50 per cent. Half of households in Britain now have just an average of just £3,200 in net property, pension and financial wealth, while the top 10 per cent hold an average of £1.32 million. The report shows that every generation since the post-war ‘baby boomers’ has accumulated less wealth than the generation before them had at the same age, with people born in the 1980s having just a third of the property wealth at age 28 of those born in the 1970s.
A United States district court judge has blocked a White House policy barring military service by transgender troops.
In July, President Trump announced on Twitter that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” A presidential memorandum said the military could discharge transgender service members by March 2018.
But in the case brought by a transgender service member, the judge issued an injunction Monday, saying “The effect of the Court’s Order is to revert to the status quo.”
CCS Adoption is running a drop-in adoption event to inspire potential future LGBT adopters.
The event is. organised by the Oftsed ‘outstanding’ rated CCS Adoption. It will give potential parents the chance to find out more, meet the local LGBT adoption network, and the children who need adoptive families.
In England, 1 in 10 of all adoptions are by LGBT couples. Last year, 2 in 10 of new adopters approved by CCS were LGBT couples. Working with parents across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and North Somerset, CCS Adoption provide support throughout the adoption process and lifelong support after.
Children raised in same-sex families develop as their peers in families with heterosexual parents do, a group of senior pediatricians and adolescent health experts says.
And the group has called on the medical community to debunk “damaging misrepresentations” of the evidence being used by the “no” campaign in the postal vote on same-sex marriage, saying the real public health risk comes from discrimination.
Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality Ro Allen (right), her partner Kaye Bradshaw and their daughter, Alex Bradshaw-Allen, 9, turned out in support of the same-sex marriage ”yes” vote in an Equal Love rally through Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday. Photo: Chris Hopkins
A CLEAR result is looming in the same-sex marriage postal survey, with almost 11 million forms completed and returned.
THE latest same-sex marriage poll shows the Yes campaign is comfortably ahead, with overwhelming support among those who have already voted.
A special Newspoll survey shows a massive 59 per cent of those who have returned their postal ballots are in favour of legalising gay marriage. Just 38 per cent of the millions of Australians who have voted said they were against.
The poll conducted for The Australian comes just a day after the latest estimate from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 10.8 million survey forms had been returned as of Friday, October 13.
That means around 67.5 per cent of the 16 million forms sent out have been posted back.
CANCER CHARITY GIST SUPPORT UK CELEBRATE THE NICE APPROVAL OF REGORAFENIB FOR GIST CANCER PATIENTS
Today GIST Support UK, the key charity specifically focused on combating GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumour), celebrated the NICE decision to approve regorafenib, a life extending drug, as a third line treatment for GIST cancer patients in England, ensuring that they have access to the same key drug as provided to patients in Scotland and Wales.
Nic Puntis & Jayne Bressington (on behalf of GIST Support UK) said:
“We welcome the NICE decision to recommend access to regorafenib as it offers greater long-term treatment options for patients with GIST. Importantly, GIST patients in England will now have routine access to this important treatment, joining patients currently living in Scotland and Wales.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to review and approve regorafenib.”
GIST(Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour) is a rare form of cancer which does not respond to the more usual cancer treatments of radio- or chemotherapy. Before the introduction of specialist drugs, the only recourse was surgery. With the more recent introduction of TKI drugs (ie, Tyrosine-kinase inhibitors), options improved.
The first line of treatment, which I have been on for three years now, before and after surgery last February, is imatinib (UK trade name Glivec. However, this is not effective for all varieties of GIST, and even where it is effective, there often comes a point where it is no longer so. In such cases, the second line of treatment is a drug called sunitinib (trade name Sutent). Where this too is not effective, or loses its effectiveness, the third line of treatment is regorafenib.
Until now, only the first two, imatinib and sunitinib, were approved for NHS funding in England under NICE rules. Regorafenib has been available only under the special arrangements of the cancer drugs fund (and even that was achieved only after intensive lobbying by GIST Support UK).
Today’s welcome news means that in future, this life-saving drug will be more securely available.
‘Universal basic services’ costing about £42bn could be funded through higher taxes, say Jonathan Portes and academics
Free housing, food, transport and access to the internet should be given to British citizens in a massive expansion of the welfare state, according to a report warning the rapid advance of technology will lead to job losses.
Former senior government official Jonathan Portes and Professor Henrietta Moore, director of University College London’s Institute for Global Prosperity make the call for a raft of new “universal basic services” using the same principles as the NHS. They estimate it would cost about £42bn, which could be funded by changes to the tax system.
The recommendations include doubling Britain’s existing social housing stock with funding to build 1.5m new homes, which would be offered for free to those in most need. A food service would provide one third of meals for 2.2m households deemed to experience food insecurity each year, while free bus passes would be made available to everyone, rather than just the over-60s.
Optimally, you’ve got the input from both [a mother and a father] and the children brought up in those circumstances are, as a cohort, better off than those who are not.
… whether it’s in terms of health outcomes, mental health, physical health, whether it’s in terms of employment prospects, in terms of how this is generated from one generation to another, the social science evidence is overwhelmingly in one direction in this regard. – Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, excerpts from an interview on Sky News, August 13, 2017.
Public campaigns for and against same-sex marriage have been heightened by the Turnbull government’s plan to conduct a $122 million voluntary postal survey asking the nation whether same-sex couples should be able to marry under Australian law.
Discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview on Sky News, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews said children who are brought up with a mother and a father “are, as a cohort, better off than those who are not”.
Andrews also said the “social science evidence is overwhelmingly in one direction in this regard”.
Let’s look at the research.
Checking the source
When asked for sources to support his statements, a spokesperson for Kevin Andrews told The Conversation:
Mr Andrews wrote a book called “Maybe I Do”. You might also like to look at the 2011 report, For Kids’ Sake, by Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney and studies by Douglas Allen (2015) in Canada and Paul Sullins (2015) in the US.
Kevin Andrews’ assertion that children who are brought up with a mother and father are, “as a cohort, better off than those who are not” is not supported by research evidence.
The majority of research on this topic shows that children or adolescents raised by same-sex parents fare equally as well as those raised by opposite-sex parents on a wide range of social, emotional, health and academic outcomes.
Response to Kevin Andrews’ sources
First of all, let’s look at the sources provided by Andrews’ spokesperson to support his statements. A summary of Kevin Andrews’ book on the National Library of Australia website says it:
… reviews the evidence on the benefits of marriage for society, children, and adults. It argues that healthy, stable, and happy marriages are the optimal institution for promoting individual well being and healthy societies.
But these studies didn’t involve comparisons between opposite-sex and same-sex married couples, so they do not defend the argument that heterosexual marriage leads to better outcomes for children than same-sex marriage. In fact, some research suggests same-sex marriage would provide benefits for children being raised in these families.
Patrick Parkinson’s report, For Kid’s Sake, links rising rates of divorce, family conflict and instability in parental relationships with increasing psychological distress among young people in Australia. One of Parkinson’s conclusions was that:
the most stable, safe and nurturing environment for children is when their parents are, and remain, married to one another.
There are studies that support these assertions. This research supports the importance of family stability, quality relationships between parents and children, and the need for access to socioeconomic resources – but not the need for parents to be heterosexual.
Douglas Allen’s 2015 paper is a critical, but not systematic, review of more than 60 studies relating to same-sex parenting and/or child outcomes. This paper does not present findings related to child outcomes.
Rather, Allen says that, due to sampling bias and small sample sizes in the existing body of work, there is currently no conclusive scientific evidence demonstrating that children raised by same-sex couples do better or worse than children raised by heterosexual couples.
Andrews’ spokesperson also pointed to 2015 research from Paul Sullins. Sullins’ 2015 analysis of data from the US National Health Interview Survey indicated that children raised by same-sex parents were more than twice as likely to experience emotional problems than those raised by heterosexual, married parents who were biologically related to their children. But this analysis wascriticised for not taking into account the stability of the family environment.
The author combined all children in same-sex families into one category, while placing children in opposite-sex families into separate categories – including different categories for step-parents and single parents, for example. So the comparison made was between all same-sex parented families, and a selection of stable heterosexual families.
Research on outcomes for children in same-sex parented families
Now let’s look at other studies that have been conducted around the world. Many of these studies examine the outcomes for children in same-sex parented families where both parents are women. There has been comparatively little research on families in which both parents are men. It can be difficult to achieve adequate sample sizes of children raised in two-father families, given the small number of these families. There is no research showing that children raised by gay fathers fare worse than other children.
The study found no differences in outcomes for children raised by lesbian parents compared to heterosexual parents on a range of outcomes including general health, emotional difficulties, coping behaviour and learning behaviour.
A paper published for the American Sociological Association in 2014 reviewed 10 years’ of scientific literature on child well-being in same-sex parented families in the US. The literature review covered 40 original published studies, including numerous credible and methodologically sound social science studies, many of which drew on nationally representative data.
The authors concluded there was clear consensus in scientific literature that children raised by same-sex couples fared as well as children raised by opposite-sex couples. This applied for a range of well-being measures, including:
early sexual activity, and
The authors noted that differences in child well-being were largely due to socioeconomic circumstances and family stability.
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2010 combined the results of 33 studies to assess how the gender of parents affected children. The authors found the strengths typically associated with married mother-father families appeared to the same degree in families with two mothers and potentially in those with two fathers.
The meta-analysis found no evidence that children raised by same-sex couples fared worse than children raised by opposite-sex couples on a range of outcomes including:
security of attachment to parents
self perceptions of cognitive and physical competence, and
interest, effort and success in school.
This review included studies from Europe, the UK and the US. The authors said that scholars had achieved
a rare degree of consensus that unmarried lesbian parents are raising children who develop at least as well as their counterparts with married heterosexual parents.
In Australia, a large study published in the peer-reviewed BMC Public Health Journal in 2014 (and of which I was one of five co-authors) surveyed 315 parents representing 500 children. 80% of children had a female same-sex attracted parent, while 18% had a male same-sex attracted parent.
The results did support previousresearch showing that stigma related to a parent’s sexual orientation is negatively associated with mental health and well-being.
But, overall, the study found children and adolescents raised by same-sex parents in Australia fared as well as children of opposite-sex parents, and better on measures of general behaviour, general health and family cohesion.
A follow up paper published in 2016 found there was no difference between children raised in female same-sex parent households and children raised in male same-sex parent households.
Further work from the same project reported on surveys and interviews with adolescents raised by same-sex parents. This study (of which I was one of four co-authors) did find that some adolescents with same-sex parents reported experiencing anxiety relating to fear of discrimination, which was linked to poorer well-being.
A US study published in 2011 found adolescents raised by lesbian mothers were more likely to have reported occasional substance use, but not more likely to have reported heavy use, than other adolescents.
A 2010 analysis of data from the 2000 US census found that children raised by same-sex couples had no fundamental deficits in making normal progress through school compared to children raised by opposite-sex couples.
When parents’ socio-economic status and the characteristics of the students were accounted for, the educational outcomes for children of same-sex couples couldn’t be distinguished with statistical certainty from children of heterosexual married couples.
Analysing studies that show different results
Some studies have indicated that adults raised by same-sex parents fare worse on some educational, social or emotional outcomes. But the majority of research does not support this. There are also studies that have been published and later discredited, but continue to be used as references.
The study looked at outcomes for adults aged 18-39. It compared outcomes for adults with a parent who had had a same-sex relationship, with outcomes for adults raised by still-married, heterosexual couples who were biologically related to their children. It showed the adults with a gay or lesbian parent or parents fared worse on a range of social, educational and health outcomes. But this study has been verywidelycriticised.
The Regnerus study … did not specifically examine children raised by same-sex parents, and provides no support for the conclusions that same-sex parents are inferior parents or that the children of same-sex parents experience worse outcomes.
As outlined by the American Sociological Association, the study removed all divorced, single, and step-parent families from the heterosexual group, leaving only stable, married, heterosexual families as the comparison. In addition, Regnerus categorised children as having been raised by a parent in a same-sex relationship
regardless of whether they were in fact raised by the parent … and regardless of the amount of time that they spent under the parent’s care.
A subsequent reanalysis of the data, using different criteria for categorising respondents, found the results inconclusive, or suggestive that “adult children raised by same-sex two-parent families show a comparable adult profile to their peers raised by two-biological-parent families”.
Strengths and weaknesses of evidence on outcomes for children
The “gold standard” for research on child and family outcomes are studies that involve randomly selected, population-based samples. This has been difficult to achieve in research on same-sex parenting because many population-based studies don’t ask about parents’ sexual orientation. Even where they do ask, not all studies include a sample of children or adults raised by same-sex parents that is large enough to provide for reliable statistical analysis.
This has led to criticism of the quality of evidence on outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents, because most studies have relied on convenience or volunteer samples, which are not randomly selected, and so may include bias.
However, there are methodological limitations in all studies. And, as outlined earlier, recent analyses of population-based data sets have supported the finding that children or adolescents raised by same-sex couples do not experience poorer outcomes than other children. So there is no clear basis to the argument that convenience samples lead to “incorrect” findings due to bias. – Jennifer Power
This FactCheck gives a good broad overview of the research and scientific consensus in regard to child health and well-being in same-sex parent families. The studies included, on balance, represent the current understanding of academics and child health experts on child health and well-being outcomes in same-sex parent families.
The National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study provides additional evidence to support the verdict of this FactCheck. As a well established and methodologically robust longitudinal study, the National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study provides important additional insights.
It should be noted that research has indicated that same-sex parent families experience stigma and discrimination, and when they do it can impact on child health and well-being.
Overall, however, the verdict in this FactCheck is appropriate based on current research. – Simon Crouch
The Conversation’s FactCheck unit is the first fact-checking team in Australia and one of the first worldwide to be accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, an alliance of fact-checkers hosted at the Poynter Institute in the US. Read more here.
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