Event Title

Understanding Parental Acceptance of Lesbian and Queer Individuals: A Qualitative Investigation

Presenter Information

Sarah Okafuji

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Location

Event Center A&B

Faculty Mentor

Dr. David Chavez

Start Date

5-27-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

5-27-2014 2:30 PM

Abstract

Parental acceptance can subsequently reduce the risk to individuals identifying as part of the LGBT community. Family support is predictive of increased self-esteem and mental health among LGBT adolescents. Our purpose was to gain an increased understanding of the factors that are in the way of parental acceptance of LGBT adolescents, as well as how we can help parents move toward greater acceptance. We qualitively studied this topic by facilitating focus groups of parents of LGBT adolescents. We used a semi-structured interview process with the focus group; we asked three questions to the parents and the subsequent questions arose naturally out of discussion with the parents, individually and as a focus group. Our three questions addressed to the focus group were: What was your main concern when you found out that your child was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what joys have you come to realize since your child openly identified themselves as being LGBTQIA+, and what do you wish you would have known. The other questions arose based on the content and the interviews with the focus group and each parent. We found that parents had similar concerns when their child came out to them, and found themes among the parents’ coping processes. Some limitations worthy of mention in our study were the absence of interviews with the LGBT adolescents, and the fact that knowing the study was about parental acceptance may have discouraged parents who were less accepting to participate. Subsequent studies should focus on specific family characteristics and their reaction to LGBT adolescent’s status, such as ethnicity and religious affiliation. Our study has implications for the parents of LGBT adolescents in that it may help parents with similar situations to those of our focus group, cope with their child’s sexual identity and encourage them to seek out supportive parents to speak to. Speaking to other supportive parents may help parents of LGBT adolescents to become more accepting, even proud of their LGBT child.

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May 27th, 1:00 PM May 27th, 2:30 PM

Understanding Parental Acceptance of Lesbian and Queer Individuals: A Qualitative Investigation

Event Center A&B

Parental acceptance can subsequently reduce the risk to individuals identifying as part of the LGBT community. Family support is predictive of increased self-esteem and mental health among LGBT adolescents. Our purpose was to gain an increased understanding of the factors that are in the way of parental acceptance of LGBT adolescents, as well as how we can help parents move toward greater acceptance. We qualitively studied this topic by facilitating focus groups of parents of LGBT adolescents. We used a semi-structured interview process with the focus group; we asked three questions to the parents and the subsequent questions arose naturally out of discussion with the parents, individually and as a focus group. Our three questions addressed to the focus group were: What was your main concern when you found out that your child was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what joys have you come to realize since your child openly identified themselves as being LGBTQIA+, and what do you wish you would have known. The other questions arose based on the content and the interviews with the focus group and each parent. We found that parents had similar concerns when their child came out to them, and found themes among the parents’ coping processes. Some limitations worthy of mention in our study were the absence of interviews with the LGBT adolescents, and the fact that knowing the study was about parental acceptance may have discouraged parents who were less accepting to participate. Subsequent studies should focus on specific family characteristics and their reaction to LGBT adolescent’s status, such as ethnicity and religious affiliation. Our study has implications for the parents of LGBT adolescents in that it may help parents with similar situations to those of our focus group, cope with their child’s sexual identity and encourage them to seek out supportive parents to speak to. Speaking to other supportive parents may help parents of LGBT adolescents to become more accepting, even proud of their LGBT child.