Making space for gay and lesbian children : changing meanings of child protection and sexuality in the United States today
Marie S. von Hafften
May 12, 2013
Department or Program
Heated national debates in 2012-13 included whether the Boy Scouts of America should revoke its ban on openly homosexual members, the tolerability of gay and lesbian bullying in schools and youth groups, and the impact of gay parents on children. Homosexuality in and around children is contentious in the United States because two cultural perspectives on childhood and homosexuality are colliding: homosexuality as a deviance that can infect and harm children versus homosexuality as a lifelong sexual orientation knowable in childhood. I discuss the history and contemporary expressions of these two central paradigms and show why each resonates with social identities and anxieties today.