Drawing on in-depth interviews with 28 U.S. adults who have at least one lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ) parent, we examine how this group negotiates the courtesy stigma of a parent’s sexual identity over the life course. Respondents reported less control over revealing courtesy stigma during childhood, when they were closely linked to their parents, but increased ability to conceal parents’ sexual orientation as they aged. During childhood and adolescence, parents’ gender presentation and choice of partner(s) impacted the visibility and degree of courtesy stigma, as did their peer networks and social environments. As adults, respondents continued to face issues of visibility; those who identified as heterosexual struggled to gain acceptance within LGBQ communities, while those who identified as LGBQ negotiated fears about how their own sexual orientation reflected upon their families of origin. Recognizing that people with one or more LGBQ parents face courtesy—rather than direct—stigma sheds light on past research, while providing a sociological framework with which to analyze future work on this population.
DiBennardo, Rebecca and Saguy, Abigail
How Children of LGBQ Parents Negotiate Courtesy Stigma over the Life Course.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 19(6), 290-304.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol19/iss6/19