The longest-running study of lesbian families has found an extremely low rate of abuse among kids of lesbians: zero percent, to be exact.
The sample size was small — just 78 17-year-old children of lesbian parents, 39 boys and 39 girls. But strikingly, none of these kids reported sexual or physical abuse by their moms (one said she was verbally abused by a stepmother). That's compared to 26% of American teens as a whole who report physical abuse by a parent, and 8.3% who report sexual abuse. It's possible that the sample was unique in other ways (for instance, parents had to consent to allow their kids to participate), but the study authors note that their results do seem to contradict "the notion, offered in opposition to parenting by gay and lesbian people, that same-sex parents are likely to abuse their offspring sexually." They also point out that straight men are the most common perpetrators of child sexual abuse, so it's not surprising that this abuse occurs less in homes where no straight men are present. Previous studies also show that lesbian moms are less likely than straight dads to use corporal punishment, which is linked to other types of physical abuse.
The study did find that daughters of lesbian parents were more likely to report same-sex contact, and more likely to identify as bisexual, than the general population. This could just mean that daughters of lesbian moms were more open about their sexuality and less likely to keep their behavior or identification under wraps. But surely homophobes will point to the data as evidence that lesbian moms turn girls gay. Those girls might then grow up to become lesbian moms themselves, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle in which children are repeatedly not abused. Clearly it's time to panic.
Adolescents Of The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior, And Sexual Risk [NLLFS, via Huffington Post]