“‘Not a big deal’? exploring the accounts of adult children of lesbian, gay and trans parents (LGT)”
A recent article in Psychology & Sexuality, studied the effects that having an LGT (lesbian, gay, transexual) parent has on adult children. Because most research to date has centered on younger children and their well-being at the time, the authors of the article wanted to look at how these children feel now that they are adults and have families of their own. Entitled, “‘Not a big deal’? exploring the accounts of adult children of lesbian, gay and trans parents,” authors Victoria Clarke and Eleni Demetriou surveyed 14 adults. Thirteen of the subjects were born to a heterosexual couple where one partner was later outed as gay, lesbian or trans.
In their research, the authors hoped to learn what impacts, if any, these children who were now adults, experienced during their formative years. The participants included 13 women and 1 man who ranged in age from 21 to 60 and completed on-line questionnaires in lieu of in-person interviews.
Adult Children Of LGT Parents Not Damaged By Parents’ Sexuality/Gender Identity Study Finds
Historically, research has shown that children within these families do not consider having an LGT parent to be a “big deal.” In addition, findings demonstrate that these children are more apt to accept diversity, feel pride in dealing with judgment directed toward them, and in general view their own family as being just like any other. Essentially, most studies have concluded that any impacts the children might have experienced were of a positive, not a negative nature. Clarke and Demetriou’s findings seemed to parallel this notion.
Overall, those interviewed in their study expressed how their family dynamic taught them respect, open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance. They placed importance on having a parent of each gender (regardless of sexuality), and on love and security as a family unit.
Positive Impact For Children Of LGT Parents?
While most impacts were generally detailed by the subjects as being positive, the subjects of the study also described several hardships they faced growing up. They depicted incidents including bullying, secrecy (whether between the family and the public or even the parent and the child), fear of judgment, and feelings of shame, sadness and depression. The authors noted that in recognizing these negative feelings, those interviewed seemed to downplay the role of their parent’s sexuality in the matter, and instead blamed these experiences on the homophobia of society.
Clarke and Demetriou concluded that even though the subjects of the study regarded their family dynamic and upbringing as “no big deal,” a need to feel “normal” and to fit in was also apparent. However, they emphasized that adult children of LGT parents, “clearly reject the notion that they have been ‘damaged’ by their LGT parents’ sexuality/gender identity, and by being a member of a non-normative family.” To read Clarke and Demetriou’s full study, click here.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.