One of the important questions when raising a child and even earlier in a person’s life is summed up in the phrase “what is a parent?”. “You become a parent” assert Jorge and Demian Bucay in their book “Of Parents and Children” (2019). To paraphrase a paragraph from this book, parenthood is not about having a biological relationship with the child but about thinking, behaving, and feeling like a parent towards that child. Parenthood is a significant change and transition in the individual and family life, requiring a change of roles and priorities to assume the role of parent (Goldberg, 2013). However, heteronormative beliefs about caring for and raising children are a vital factor to discuss, explore and change, as it perpetuates distorted ideas about the ‘suitability’ of people in the LGBTQI+ community to become foster and/or adoptive parents (Hicks, 2005), a finding that makes it difficult for them to claim and equally enjoy this role. This article attempts to approach the issue of fostering children by couples from the LGBTQI+ community, focusing on socially circulated myths and on research evidence that the sexual orientation of potential adoptive parents does not affect the care and upbringing of children but also on the current legal developments.

The widespread homophobic attitude that still exists more or less throughout the planet (Albuquerque et al., 2016) is a reality, and the consequences are experienced by homosexual couples, in the form of discrimination, physical and mental violence, even from the non-recognition of the ability of marriage. The result of all the above is the lack of fundamental rights in these couples, such as the right to foster/adopt, the recognition of parental rights to both parents, and the existence of financial, inheritance, and insurance benefits (Hicks, 2005; Webb & Chonody, 2014). At the same time, myths are circulated regarding the suitability or not of homosexual couples to become foster parents, the basis of which is, on the one hand, the discrimination that is maintained; on the other hand, the ignorance regarding the explanation and understanding of the terms of gender identity and sexual orientation (Webb & Chonody, 2014). Greece, particularly, is one of the most homophobic countries, and in fact, the stigmatization of these individuals in 2008 reached 73%, when in the rest of Europe, it is at 51% (Pavlou, 2009; Montero, 2014). It is, therefore, kind of “expected” that the adoption or fostering of children from families that belong to the LGBTQI+ community is a subject that raises resistance, mainly in terms of the effects on the child and, as a result, various myths have been created. Some arguments concern the fact that the relationships of homosexual couples are not considered stable compared to heterosexual couples, they do not offer role models for both sexes, they affect and threaten children’s sexual identity and health, and set in danger the children’s rights (Donovan et al., 2001).

Despite these arguments, heterosexual and homosexual couples can fulfill their parental role equally satisfactorily, which leads to the conclusion that the view about the influence of the sexual orientation of individuals and couples is wrong.  Regarding the topic of foster care and adoption by homosexual couples, there was a jointly written intervention by 55 academic psychologists, who, among other things, stated that children of heterosexual and homosexual parents develop equally well, according to the most recent research and academic data (see Appendix 1). In addition, it seems that the quality of relationships in homosexual couples is just as good as in heterosexual couples. In particular, the relationship can be as stable, flexible, intimate, and equal as that of heterosexual couples (Pachankis & Goldfried, 2013). At the same time, a positive element, observed by studies of Kostopoulou (2016) and Moschonas (2016), is that there is a change in the attitudes of Greeks towards adoption by LGBTQI+ couples. More specifically, young adults are more ambivalent towards older adults, with a negative attitude rate of 59%-79% for people aged 28-39 and 80%-89% for people over 55 (Moschonas, 2016; Kostopoulou, 2016). A similar trend is reported in a later study of attitudes towards homosexual individuals, as men appear to still have less moderate attitudes compared to women, with rates of racist attitudes of around 60% from men aged 25-40 and approximately 30% for women aged 35 – 50 years (Katra & Kokkinou, 2017). Even though the difference is remarkable, the percentage of negative attitudes among the youngest people remains high, so there is still a long way to go to achieve the change in the social thinking of the individuals.

On a political and legal level, in 2015, the cohabitation agreement was legalized for LGBTQI+ couples as well, enabling households of these couples to have legal protection almost equal to married heterosexual couples (Law 4356/2015, Government Gazette A 181/24.12.2015). An exception was the ability to have children as a couple, which changed in May 2018 with a new law. In particular, in article 8 of this new law, it is stated that “suitable to become foster parents by the provisions in question are families consisting of spouses or having entered into a cohabitation agreement, with or without children, or single persons, non-married or divorced, or widowed with or without children…” (Law 4538/2018, Government Gazette Α’ 85/16-05-2018). There is still no provision for adoption yet. However, a corresponding intervention is also crucial in adopting children by LGBTQI+ couples, which will enable all citizens to be and feel socially equal and to create their own families.

Ultimately, fostering a child is a significant form of parenting, while the critical element for fostering is that each couple can fulfill a child’s practical, social, emotional and developmental needs. The belief of the heteronormative family and the representation of every person belonging to the LGBTQI+ community as “other,” “different,” or even worse, “abnormal” deprives them of the opportunity to enjoy equally as every citizen the rights instituted by the State. For this reason, constant vigilance and activation are needed so that the fostering or not of a child concerns real reasons, the same as in the cases of heterosexual couples, and not objections related to moral and social fixations.



Alencar Albuquerque, G., de Lima Garcia, C., da Silva Quirino, G. et al. (2016). Access to health services by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons: systematic literature review. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 16, 2. doi:

Bucay, J. & Bucay, D. (2019). Of Parents and Children: Tools for Nurturing a Lifelong Relationship. New York: Upper West Side Philosophers.

Donovan, C., Heaphy, B. & Weeks, J. (2001). Same sex intimacies. London: Routledge. doi:

Goldberg, A. E., Moyer, A. M., Weber, E. R., & Shapiro, J. (2013). What Changed When the Gay Adoption Ban was Lifted?: Perspectives of Lesbian and Gay Parents in Florida. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 10(2), 110–124. doi:10.1007/s13178-013-0120-y.

Hicks, S. (2005). Is Gay Parenting Bad for Kids? Responding to the “Very Idea of Difference” in Research on Lesbian and Gay Parents. Sexualities, 8(2), 153–168. doi:10.1177/1363460705050852.

Katra, M. & Kokkinou, T. (2017). Gender identity disorder and social treatment. [Thesis, Tei of Crete]. Apothesis, HMU Institutional Repository.

Kostopoulou, M. (2016). For of the cohabitation agreement, but also of adoption by homosexual couples. Avgi, 9 February (Greek article).

Montero, D. (2014). Attitudes toward same-gender adoption and parenting: An analysis of surveys from 16 countries. Advances in Social Work, 15(2), 444-459.

Moschonas, G. (2016). What Greeks Believe: A Research. [Online] Available at:

Law 4356/2015, Cohabitation agreement, exercise of rights, criminal and other provisions, Government Gazette (FEK A’ 181/24.12.2015).

Law 4538/2018, Measures for the promotion of the institutions of Fostering and Adoption and other provisions, Government Gazette (FEK Α’ 85/16-05-2018).

Pachnakis, J. E. & Goldfried, M. R. (2013). Clinical issues in working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1 (S), 45–58.

Pavlou, M. (2009). Homophobia in Greece: Love for equality.–6.pdf.

Webb, S. N., & Chonody, J. (2013). Heterosexual Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Marriage: The Influence of Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Parenting. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 10(4), 404–421. doi:




Appendix 1: Intervention of 55 academics on fostering and adoption by same-sex couples

As academics from Greece and abroad in the broader field of psychology, we want to contribute to the public debate taking place regarding fostering and adoption by same-sex couples with the following position, which is strictly based on the scientific literature and is in agreement with the public opinion  of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (see

The review of the relevant scientific literature concludes that the sexual orientation of parents has no measurable effects on the quality of parent-child relationships, the mental health of children, or their social adjustment. No differences have been found regarding critical factors such as self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. Consequently, claims that children of homosexual parents do not develop as well as children of heterosexual parents do not find support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, scientific findings agree that homosexual people are just as fit and capable as parents as heterosexuals. Additionally, empirical research does not support the notion that being raised by a same-sex parent affects a child’s gender identity development. There is no empirical evidence that the presence of male and female role models in the home promotes child and adolescent adjustment and well-being. Hundreds of studies conducted over the past few decades have agreed on the factors associated with healthy adjustment in children and adolescents. The three most important are: (1) the quality of the parent-child relationship, (2) the quality of the relationships of the significant adults in the child or adolescent’s life (for example, the relationship between the parents), and (3) the financial and other resources available to the child or adolescent. These factors seem to be the same regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents. (Bibliography supporting the above conclusions can be found here: ).


Note: The translation of this written intervention has been made by the author of this article and only for this article. Therefore, this is not an official translation and cannot be used as an official one.

Written by Alexandros Morochliadis, Psychologist MSc