More than three years after marriage equality became legal, many gay fathers say they still are being stigmatized. Researchers conducted an anonymous online survey of 732 fathers who are gay from 47 states, asking whether they experienced stigma related to fatherhood, defined as being “made to feel uncomfortable, excluded, shamed, hurt, or unwelcome.”
The report titled “Barriers and Stigma Experienced by Gay Fathers and their Children” discovered approximately 41% of fathers who tried to adopt a child had a hard time doing so, and 33% whose child was born via their heterosexual relationship said they had trouble getting custody.
About 63.5% of gay fathers experienced stigma in the past year, which authors said can impact their physical and mental health. Religious institutions were the most common source, affecting 35% of gay fathers. About a quarter of gay fathers have been stigmatized by family, friends, neighbors or service providers.
“Although these experiences were not commonly reported, the fact that they happened in settings that are traditionally expected to be sources of support and nurturing is particularly troubling,” authors wrote.