An exploration into the experiences of lesbian and gay individuals coming out to their parents
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Coming out to parents has been cited as an important and challenging developmental milestone for individuals who identify as lesbian or gay (Ragins, 2004). However, despite the recent increase in lesbian and gay psychology, this particular topic has not received sufficient research attention (Savin-Williams, 2001). Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore and gain an understanding, of the experiences of L&G individuals CO to their parents. In order to collect the data, 4 lesbian or gay individuals were interviewed, regarding their experiences of coming out to their parents. The interviews were then transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The study provided evidence of three superordinate themes; acceptance, coming out and relationships. It was clear, that acceptance of sexuality was a crucial first step for individuals before they decided to disclose to their parents. The fear of a negative reaction was the biggest hurdle to disclosure. However, after the fear was overcome, all participants experienced a resounding feeling of relief, regardless of the reaction they received from their parents. Finally, time was seen as the most important factor with regards to the parent-child relationship. As parents become more aware and educated about homosexuality they began to understand what their children had gone through and become a supportive influence in their lives, which in turn, led to an improvement in the parent-child relationship. The findings aim to contribute and improve the general public’s understanding of homosexuality.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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