Exploring the experiences of young people with gay or lesbian parent/s

Prof Doc Thesis

Tyler, Jane R. 2011. Exploring the experiences of young people with gay or lesbian parent/s. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsTyler, Jane R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Families with non-heterosexual parents have an increasing presence in UK society.
Research on these families has found no evidence to suggest that children with nonheterosexual
parents differ from children raised in heterosexual parent families on
various aspects of their psychological, developmental and social development.
Exploratory studies have begun to look at the lived experience of these families,
usually from the parents' viewpoint. Using an exploratory qualitative approach, this
research attempted to address this deficit by exploring young people's experiences
of having a non-heterosexual parent. Eight young people aged 16 to 22 years were
Findings were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and four
inter-linking themes were identified. 'Flexibility in family identity' represents the
movement of the young people between two positions: perceiving their family as the
same as other families and perceiving their family as different. 'Perceived gains from
being different' highlights examples of the young people building resilience and a
positive identity. An awareness of their own ability to change the negative
perceptions of others contributed to a positive identity. 'Challenges to a positive
identity' details those challenges that arise from living in a heterosexist society, such
as negative reactions from others and assumptions they make, and experiences of
teasing at school. The final theme represents strategies the young people used in
order to 'Manage the challenges'to their positive identity, such as disclosure of their
family composition, noting positive reactions, dismissing negative perceptions, and
gaining support from family and friends.
Findings are discussed in relation to wider contexts such as discourses about
influences on public perceptions, family diversity, and the developmental age of
participants. The researcher's contribution to the interpretation is also reflected upon.
Implications for practice focus at an individual, service, and community and societal
level, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2014
Additional information

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