FRR Mar 2014 | Are Gay Parents More Apt to Commit Incest?

The push for gay marriage is also a push for acceptance of homosexual parents. But what are the risks of homosexual parenting? It is well-documented that those who engage in homosexuality are — as a group — much more likely to molest children than are heterosexuals. We also know that parents are constantly around their children. So what about homosexual parents? Are they more likely to molest their own children, that is, to commit incest?

In 1983 and 1984, FRI conducted a national random survey of sexuality[1]. Our queries were blunt in asking people what they had done sexually, but explicitly refrained from implying any moral approval or disapproval in the question phrasings, unlike most child sexual abuse questionnaires. Thirty-four of the sample of 4,640 adults reported that they had had sex with parents or stepparents (i.e., one of every 136 households with children). Separately, seventeen individuals indicated they had a parent or stepparent with homosexual desires. Of this latter subset, five respondents (29%) reported having sex with one or more of their parents.

Among those who did not claim to have a homosexual parent or stepparent (n = 4,623), 28 claimed to have sex with one or more of their parents (0.06%). By comparison, the odds ratio (O.R.) for claiming sex with a parent was 68.4 [95% confidence interval (22, 207)], making incest much more likely to be reported among those who were raised in homes with a homosexual parent. Or put another way, those raised in conventional homes were about 50 times less apt to report parental incest.

Parental incest is probably one of the least frequently discovered crimes — the family does not want it known, the kids usually do not want exposure, and prosecution is rare. Those that ‘make the news’ are either highly unusual in some way or the perpetrator is terribly ‘unlucky.’ To make a very rough estimate of how many cases of parental incest occur per year, note that about 35 million U.S. households have children. Taking the estimates from our nationwide study at face value (and ignoring the uncertainty), if parental incest occurs in one of every 136 homes and spreading this across 17 years of childhood, parents or stepparents have sex with their children in about 15,000 homes per year.

More recently, over the past year FRI has been collecting consecutive U.S. news stories about child sexual abuse, as reported by Google News. These cases (except the claim of Woody Allen’s daughter, which is also included) were captured by Google due to the parent being prosecuted or sued. As we are still collecting and assembling the data, the results below are strictly preliminary and subject to change. However, even as reported by journalists generally in favor of gay rights and biased against ‘exposing the seamy side of homosexuality,’ a disproportionate footprint is evident attributable to perpetrators of homosexual incest. Only about 4% of adults claim to have homosexual desires, with less than half of these being parents. Yet, 46% of all the cases in the table below are homosexual in nature, including almost half of cases involving biological, adoptive, or stepparents.

Table 1. Google News Study — Parent-Child Incest
Type of Parent Perpetrator Homosexual Heterosexual
Biological Father 7 16
Mother 15 2
Step Father 2 16
Mother 1 0
Adoptive Father 15 10
Mother 3 1
Foster Father 14 20
Mother 0 2
All Parents 57 67

To gauge the relative risk of experiencing incest at the hands of homosexual versus heterosexual parents, note that probably no more than 25% of men and 33% of women with homosexual desires have children[1]. Thus, no more than 2% of parents practice homosexuality, yet account for 46% of all the recently reported parent-child perpetrators. These estimates lead to a relative risk (R.R.) of 41.7, meaning parental incest appears about 40 times likelier to occur in a home with a homosexual parent than it is in a heterosexual home.

To sum up, of those surveyed in our random sample, children with homosexual parent(s) were about 50 times more apt to report being victims. In reports by journalists and their editors captured by Google News, homosexual parent(s) were about 40 times more apt to be incest perpetrators. So different sides of the parental incest coin yield a remarkable similarity. In both studies, the evidence seems to support the traditional understanding of homosexuality as a detriment to children. And it counters the claims of the psychiatric and psychological professions that ‘homosexuals are no different in their parenting or risk to children than heterosexuals.’

Personal Reactions to Homosexual Molestation

Traditional concerns about homosexual molestation, particularly that children will be ‘converted’ to homosexuality on account of it, are exampled in the lives of many. Consider Beth Kelly, Ph.D., hired by Depaul University in 1992 in full knowledge of her remarks (below) made in 1979. She recently commented: “If someone had told me 30 years ago that in 2010 I would be tenured and promoted to a professor as a publicly professed lesbian [and lapsed Catholic] at the country’s largest Catholic university [DePaul], I would not have believed them.”

The first woman I ever loved sexually was my great-aunt; our feelings for each other were deep, strong, and full. The fact that she was more than fifty years older than I did not affect the bond that grew between us. And, yes, I knew what I was doing — every step of the way — even though I had not, at the time, learned many of the words with which to speak of these things.

Notice, she liked it, and even though only 8 years old, felt fully responsible for it.

Aunt Addie was a dynamic, intelligent, and creative woman — who refused, all her life, to be cowed by convention. In an extended family where women played out ’housewifely roles to the hilt, she stood out, a beacon of independence and strength. She was a nurse in France during the First World War, had travelled, read books, and lived for over twenty years in a monogamous relationship with another woman. Her lover’s death pre-dated the start of our sexual relationship by about two years. But we had always been close and seen a great deal of each other. In the summers, which my mother, brother and I always spent at her seashore home, we were together daily. In other seasons, she would drive to visit us wherever we were living, and often stayed for a month or so at a time.…

I adored her; that’s all there was to it. I had never been taught at home that heterosexual acts or other body functions were dirty or forbidden, and I’d been isolated enough from other children to manage to miss a lot of the usual sexist socialization learned in play. It never occurred to me that it might be considered ‘unnatural’ or ‘antisocial’ to kiss or touch or hold the person I loved, and I don’t think that Addie was terribly concerned by such things either. I do know that I never felt pressured or forced by any sexual aspects of the love I felt for her. I think I can safely say, some twenty years later, that I was never exploited physically, emotionally, or intellectually — in the least.…

In ancient times, Moses counseled that ‘everyone,’ including children, should be explicitly taught that sex with relatives was verboten (e.g., Leviticus 18) even though some of these relations were accepted in surrounding nations (they celebrated ‘diversity’). Most contemporary parents — via their attitudes, comments, and statements of censure — communicate this ban to their children (and, at times, the school system reinforces the message).

But there are liberal parents, of which Kelly’s mother was apparently one, who feel either as Rousseau, that children are ‘naturally inclined to do the right’ or ‘it’s not my business to avoid relatives living in a manner I find personally unacceptable. Rather, it is important for my kids to get exposed to life as it is, full of diversity.’

So even though her sister was openly living with her lesbian partner, Kelly’s mother frequently socialized with the couple, assuming that ‘family solidarity’ would override the threats tradition claimed accompanied her sister’s sexual taste. Kelly’s mother undoubtedly regarded as unfounded the traditional concern that her children might get ‘intellectually contaminated or perhaps sexually contaminated.’ This ‘open-mindedness’ shines through Kelly’s remarks:

It has always seemed to me that people know when sex is a right thing for them to be doing, when mutually consented to, regardless of who else may or may not share or understand that knowledge. It took some hard object lessons before I finally learned how unusual such logic is in this world. Despite the cultural messages to the contrary that I eventually did receive, I knew that it was possible for a person to be aware of her own physicalness in a sexual way long before the social timetable of ‘maturity’ says she should be — and to be able to act on her awareness. And I know that now, with all my ‘grown-up’ being. Although for several years I succumbed to social sanctions against lesbian and childhood sexuality, and felt ashamed for having had such experiences, I have come to realize the need to affirm them as part of the rich texture of both human experience in general and my own conscious reality in particular.[2]

The three-year relationship between Ms. Kelly and her great-aunt ended when Beth’s mother caught them doing ‘it.’

Who could doubt that Ms. Kelly’s courses enrich Catholic students? Who would consider themselves educated or prepared for a job without taking: Feminist Theories; Creating Change: Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics; Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays, and the Law; etc.? Think of all the applications, religious or otherwise, these courses contain. DePaul is located within the Chicago diocese — the one that on January 22, 2014 released the names of 30 of its 65 priests known to have molested children — a coincidence to be sure.

Harry Hay, the ‘father’ of the gay rights movement in the U.S., was molested at age 14 by a 24 year-old man. Harry vigorously pursued homosexuality thereafter. Besides being a Communist, at age 38 Harry founded the Mattachine Society (1950) [which provided supposedly ‘normal’ homosexuals for Evelyn Hooker’s 1953 game-changing study]. A member and supporter of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, Harry disrupted the 1986 Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade by wearing “NAMBLA walks with me” when the leadership decided to distance ‘main stream’ homosexuals from the obvious implications of the presence of NAMBLA.

These are two well-known gay activists. Every child does not react the same way. Some get so angry that, when old enough, they come back and sue, sometimes even kill their abuser. Some ‘forget it,’ and go on with their lives. Few escape without some deep reaction to the whole situation. But, as the above examples attest, a child who is molested often will not ‘squeal’ either due to the shame and embarrassment of coming forward or because he or she gets ‘converted’ to homosexual practice. And the molesters who do get caught often end up ‘walking’ without prison time.

This last statement is underscored by The Telegraph (1/7/14), which recently examined British incarcerations for 2012. Plea bargains, etc. resulted in only half of those arrested for Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) actually being charged with CSA. It also reported that only 54% of those convicted of CSA with a child under the age of 13 (the most prosecuted circumstance) actually got incarcerated for CSA. Our experience with the U.S. legal system is pretty-much in line with The Telegraph’s investigation. We have also found that those charged with homosexual CSA are considerably less apt to get incarcerated for CSA — indeed, to be imprisoned at all.


  • Cameron P & Cameron K (1996) Homosexual parents. Adolescence, 31 (124), pp. 757–776.
  • On woman/girl love, or lesbians do ‘do it’. Gay Community News, 3/3/1979.