Abbie Goldberg received her BA in psychology from Wesleyan University and her MA in psychology and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently an associate professor of clinical psychology at Clark University, with visiting scholar appointments at both the Williams Institute at UCLA and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. She discusses several aspects of Bullying with Ciaran Connolly, Co-Founder of NoBullying.com.
Below is a transcript of the interview:
Abbie Goldberg: My name is Abbie Goldberg and I am an associate professor at Clark University and I am also a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law and my research is mostly focused on gay, lesbian and bisexual parent family, most of whom have adopted. I have written 3 books. Two solo -and one edited book. The two books I have authored are Gay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood (Qualitative Studies in Psychology) published by NYU Press and Gay/Lesbian Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle published by American Physiological Association and the edited book is a book about LGBT-Parent Families: Invocations in Research and Implications for Practice.
Ciaran: And thank you very much for taking time out to talk to us today and give us a few minutes of your time just to discuss what is happening with diverse families in the US. It is a very interesting time watching state laws change and internationally come to this change in perspective and laws and I did want to ask, do you think that the state and the government and other countries allowing same-sex marriage will make life easier for everyone? Will it actually decrease bullying and change people’s attitude to same-sex relationships?
Abbie: Yes, I think it is one piece of a much bigger picture. So, I think that when children who are growing up with lesbian or gay parents, when their parents’ relationships are recognized, this sends a strong message to their peers, their teachers, to school administrators, to their peers’ parents’ that in fact they are in “a real family” and they deserve the respect from all people; from the government, from the people they go to school with and the people that teach them. So, I think it sends a message of recognition and respect but I don’t think it’s sort of a singular move that will necessarily engender wide spread support. I think it will only I think it is one tiny step in the path.
Certainly, I interviewed plenty of children in my research who felt that because their parents were not married, this provided an added sort of reason for children and peers to discriminate against them. Then further, if their parents broke up, kids often said “Well, you know, they were never really married to begin with. So, no. It is not a real divorce”. So, it is incredibly undermining for a kid who just witnessed their parents break up.
Ciaran: And do you think this sea of change that is happening is it driven by people power in the state that have changed? Is that what is happening?
Abbie: Do you mean sort of, is it?… I think why things are changing in such an amazing constellation of different factors. So, I think public opinion is changing, the laws are changing and the media’s view on gay families, gay parent families and gay people is changing. So, all things complete each other. So, one of the reasons why the law’s changing is because of public opinion but one of the reasons that public opinion is changing is because of the media and one of the reason why the public opinion is changing is because of the media and the reason the media is changing is because of public opinion. So, all these things are really kind of informing each other and they are related to broader shifts in sort of American politics just to increase diversity, increase tolerance for different family forms and so on. So, I don’t think it is necessarily limited to gay parent families. There is an increased support for a lot of different type of families.
Ciaran: Excellent. Do you think the sea of change will continue? I would have thought that maybe media might have had a stronger part to play but you see all parts playing their own equal symphony and making sure this all happens throughout The States and countries of the world?
Abbie: I am not sure I totally understand. So, can you…?
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