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Daughters, Sons, and Homosexual Parents: A study of adolescent and young adult narratives on growing up in gay and lesbian families
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2005 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this study, 15 teenagers and 16 young adults related their experiences of having one or two homosexual parents. All of these young informants were born in a heterosexual relationship where the parents later separated and then they lived in "new" or "post-nuclear" families.

The analysis shows considerable variation in the children's and adolescents' perceptions and experiences of living with homosexual or bisexual parents. One important finding of the study is that the parent's homosexuality becomes a highly prominent theme in the interviews where the parent/child relationship is also described as inadequate. This was found in a few cases in the study where the parent's homosexuality is presented as closely associated with negatively charged experiences. In the remaining interviews, parent/child relationships are presented as good and meaningful. In those cases, homosexuality is accorded less prominence in the children's life stories. Here emerge two different ways of telling about the parent's homosexuality that show how experiences of life with a homosexual parent can vary. In the one case, homosexuality is described as something self-evident that certainly distinguishes the family, but not in a negative sense. Despite an array of differences in living conditions, homosexuality is described as a natural and accepted element of family life. Homosexuality in these cases is not a point of conflict for the informant. In the other case, homosexuality is described as a problem in relation to the informant's friends and peers. The difficulties they describe do not however encompass the parent as a person; instead, the parental relationship is  presented as significant. This attitude appears to be a consequence of the social, psychological, and cultural expectations that characterize the teenage years for some adolescents. A point of conflict emerges here concerning on the one hand loyalty to the parent and the adolescents' familiarity with homosexuality, and on the other hand the adolescents'participation in peer groups in which heterosexist views are expressed. The informants use various strategies to manage this conflict, which seems to characterize early adolescence since the endeavors to conceal are eventually transformed into a more accepting attitude as the adolescents get older. It is similar to the process that relatives of homosexuals go through when a son, daughter, brother, or sister "comes out" and the relative must manage kinship and concern on the one hand and heterosexist value judgments on the other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. , 55 p.
Working papers on childhood and the study of children, ISSN 1104-6929 ; 2005:1
Keyword [en]
Children social conditions, youth social conditions, same-sex marriage, teenagers
Keyword [sv]
Tonåringar, uppväxtmiljöer, samkönade äktenskap
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76144OAI: diva2:512736
Available from: 2012-03-29 Created: 2012-03-29 Last updated: 2014-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Zetterqvist Nelson, Karin
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Department of Child StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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