The Discovery that an Offspring Is Gay: Parents', Gay Men's, and Lesbians' Perspectives

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This study explores and integrates parents', gay men's, and lesbians' perceptions of the "coming out" process. The research employed a sample of thirty-two gay and lesbian young adults and twenty-seven parents. It investigated how family dynamics prior to the discovery of homosexuality could be related to post-discovery experiences on parts of both children and parents. In-depth interviews were conducted with all participants. Two bodies of literature enriched the theoretical framework for this study: Self-disclosure literature and the literature pertaining to homosexual identity formation. Findings of this study call for educating parents about homosexuality prior to the actual act of disclosure. Ensuring that parents do not learn about homosexuality while finding out that their child is gay potentially eases parents' adjustment to the discovery and thus may also improve the emotional dynamics within the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-112
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology (all)


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