Nearly two thirds of gay men with children say they face discrimination as parents while a quarter experience stigma, a new US study has revealed.

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, also collected data on how gay men became parents, and how being parents affected their relationships with family.

39 per cent of respondents said their children came from a previous heterosexual relationship, while 35 per cent became parents through foster care or adoption.

Just 13.5 per cent of the 732 respondents – who collectively have 1316 children – became a parent through surrogacy.

Over 70 per cent of respondents who became fathers before 1996 had children in the context of a heterosexual relationship, while under six per cent had where their child or children were born after 2010.

Of the men who became parents via surrogacy, around 50 per cent said their surrogate continued involvement with the family after the child’s birth.

Around 40 per cent of gay men who attempted to adopt a child said they faced barriers, and half of gay male parents said they avoided certain situations because they feared being stigmatised.

Just over a third of gay dads said that stigma came within or around religious environments, while around one in four said they experienced stigma from family members, neighbours, gay friends and service providers.

Because the survey was anonymous, the results do not indicate whether respondents were single parents or part of a couple.

The average age of children was 13.4 years old, with over 80 per cent of respondents being white and non-Hispanic.

The study’s results also looked at the relationship between stigma experienced and an ‘equality score’ applied across US states based on the degree of protections for rainbow families, including adoption law

Unsurprisingly, states with higher equality scores showed fewer barriers to becoming a parent through adoption, surrogacy and foster care, and gay fathers in states with medium or high equality scores experienced far lower rates of stigma around religion, moderately less stigma from neighbours and slightly less stigma from family about their parenthood.

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