This month, psychologist and MenCare partner Darío Ibarra appeared on Desayunos Informales, an Uruguayan television program, to discuss same-sex parents and raising children without reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Darío emphasized that to grow up healthy and happy, children need (1) unconditional love, (2) care, (3) a violence-free home, and (4) freedom from gender stereotypes – all of which are unrelated to their parents’ sexual orientation.
Darío explained that unconditional love is essential for any child – whether that love is provided by mom/mom, dad/dad, mom/dad, or another combination of actively involved and supportive caregivers. For Darío, this goes hand-in-hand with care. What Darío said is the hardest to achieve is promoting a household free of gender stereotypes: this means one in which there are no specific, predefined roles for men versus women.
When asked if parents pass down their sexual orientation to their children, Darío responded that this is not the case. “Sexual orientation isn’t something you chose but rather something you feel. It isn’t something you can give or pass on,” he said. “Any child can have any identity and any sexual orientation in any family – in families with same-sex parents or with opposite-sex parents.” Indeed, the majority of children who have gay fathers or lesbian mothers describe themselves as heterosexual.
The on-air conversation then turned to school, and whether children with same-sex parents experience more bullying in the classroom than their peers.
According to Darío, discrimination and bullying are still very much present in schools, but not only for children with same-sex parents. That is why it is essential, he said, for teachers to encourage students to think critically and transform beliefs related to homophobia, misogyny, sexism, and rigid gender norms.
Watch the full interview in Spanish below: