IntroductionMany people who identify within the LGBTQcommunity have a difficult time assimilating into society because not everyoneis accepting of those who do not fall under the gender binaries. Religion alsoplays a huge role in predicting how peoples coming out experiences.
Familyexpectations of their children can also play a huge role as well, in how theircoming out experiences will be. LGBTQ people need to prepare for allpossible scenarios before coming out. To some, the experience can go amazingly well,while with others it can be a disaster and may ruin their relationship andfamily dynamics. Youth and adolescents struggle with developing a sense of selfbecause of the familial and social pressure.
Many people within the LGBTQcommunity, have a hard time coming out and being able to confidently identifytheir sexual orientation which can be frightening. Some families will gladlyextend their arms and be supportive of their children no matter what. Otherfamilies might be in a state of shock, denial and some are embarrassed of theirchildren if they identify as LGBTQ. Peoplehave a hard time accepting who they are and that tends to be hard for them tocome in accordance with because of societal and familial views. During thestage of acceptance, many question if they are in fact LGBTQ before lettinganyone know that in fact they are. As Muzzonigro and Newman (1993) state, that stigmatizationaffects lesbian and gay youth, gay suicide and how comfort being yourself canaffect their self esteem. Being discriminated outside of the home can be verytraumatic for many who identify as LGBTQ.
It is even more terrifying to come outto their family members due to the fear of being discriminated by them. Familyis where support should be found and not being able to rely on your own familyis one of the hardest situations to be for those in the LGBTQ community. Thepurpose of this research is to find out how family members treat LGBTQ personsafter coming out. My hypothesis is that LGBTQ persons do experiencediscrimination at home once they identify themselves as LGBTQ. This research isimportant because it allows others to see experiences LGBTQ people go through.There is a lot of work needed to be done in order for society to be a lot moreopen and welcoming to those within the LGBTQ community. Literature ReviewAdolescence are the primal years whensomeone is developing a sense of who they are. They are in search ofsimilarities with others, such as likes and dislikes.
Adolescence is also oneof the hardest times of their lives due to the peer pressure. The peer pressuremay come from wanting to be perfect and fit in with everyone, in addition towanting to make their family proud of who they are becoming. Being able to disclosetheir sexual identity is one of the hardest yet bravest things to do. Those whoidentify as LGBTQ and willingly come out because they are ready to do so mightget criticized and that is one of the reasons why some decide not to do so. Itis much easier coming out to their peers but coming out to their family is a challenge.
Magrader and Waldner 1(1999) state, that adolescents decide to opt out fromcoming out to their parents because of fear of being rejected by them. Peoplewho identify as LGBTQ already deal with feeling alienated. They themselves knowthey are different from heterosexuals and deal with the differences betweentheir family. Some would much rather try and conform to their parent’s expectationsof who they think they are than being rejected for who they really are.Parental views on LGBTQPeople who do initially come out to theirfamily experience various mishaps mainly with their parents. Being rejected isone of the many mishaps they encounter within their family. Along with that ofthe LGBTQ, people may also deal with their parents being ashamed of them,feeling guilt, and even being infuriated at the idea that their sexualorientation is not what they expected it to be.
The mental health field mustbear its share of responsibility for adverse parental reactions to the news thata son or daughter is gay (LaSala 2000). In the 70’s people thought thatidentifying as gay or lesbian was due to a mental illness and that causedhysteria whenever some one would identify as gay or lesbian (LaSala 2000).Although this myth has been debunked, some parents still believe that this infact is true.
Another reason why parents are opposed to their children whoidentify as LGBTQ is because some believe it to be sinful due to theirreligious values. Barton (2010) states, that leaders in Christianity advocatethe end of homosexuality by any means. Having religious views and imposing themon those who identify as homosexual can definitely affect them mentally and physically.Due to it being immorally viewed by the bible and family members’ some LGBTQpeople second guess themselves. They begin to inquire who they are and someeven begin to conform to make their parents happy.
This can also lead to a lowsense of self esteem because of how non-supportive their family members are.When LGBTQ people do obtain the expectedsupport for their family, they begin to question who they are. Even if theyexperience the slightest form of discrimination, that can emotionally andpsychologically distress them. Micro-aggressions are one form of verbal andnon-verbal insults someone can make towards those who identify as LGBTQ.
Evenif those who say a micro-aggression without realizing that it targets LGBTQpeople, it can cause a lot of harm to them. As Saewyc,Konishi, Rose and Homma (2014) explain, projective comments pertaining to thosewho identify as homosexuals, is an example of micro-aggressions which leads topoor mental health and physical health. Some people become unconscious whensaying a micro-aggression because of how commonly it is being used. Familymembers also become used to utilizing certain phrases that are heterosexist or homophobicto describe something and not realize the harm it is causing those who identifyas LGBTQ. Family members may be aware ofwhat they are saying, but might not have any idea of how negatively it isimpacting on those who are LGBTQ. When many people use this type of terminologyon a day to day basis, it may somehow give others permission to use those termsdaily. Methods Inthis exploratory research, the population I sampled were people who havealready identified themselves as LGBTQ and are out to their family.
Thepopulation that was accessible to my study were very few and are those who areopenly out with their family from the ages of 18 and over. I was able to studyfour participants who were 50% percent female and 50% male. Two identifiedbeing lesbian and the other two identified as gay. In this purposive study theparticipants I observed and interviewed were selected based on thecharacteristics of my research question. I observed two other participantsfor my field notes because I wanted to see if my observations would bedifferent from the findings I would gather when conducting my interview. Myobservations were done on a rainy day which made it much harder for me to fullyexplore my topic.
However, from my observations I was able to find that theparticipants I observed did not seem to have any sign of distress due todiscrimination from their family members. Although their parents were notaround in one of my observations the family dynamics between the participant I observedand his siblings seemed to be great. His siblings would come to him for anylittle problem they had and needed help sorting it out. They seemed to heavilyrely on his support and I saw no signs of discrimination from his siblings towardshim.Inorder to gather my data collection, I utilized a series of about 20 samplequestions that consisted of a semi- structured interview. Before I handed outmy sample questions I first needed to obtain each participants consent. I readto them what my research was about and also asked for their consent to beinterviewed. I also asked for their consent if I can audio record them while I beginthe interview in regards to my sample questions.
I stated that if they wouldnot want any of their information disclosed then I would give them a pseudonym sothat they can remain anonymous. I also let them know that the only people whowould be utilizing this data would be my colleagues, my professor and I. I alsostated that as soon as my findings are collected I would delete the audiorecordings shortly after.
All of this information is stated on the 20 samplequestions that I handed out along with my email in case the participants haveany questions. As I interviewed eachparticipant I notice some difference between participant C and D. Leo (participantC) was a lot more comfortable and open with who he was. He did not hesitate ingiving me in depth responses.
There was a time where I myself found itdifficult to ask him the following question. However, I really appreciated hishonesty and openness with me. When I interviewed the Saturn (participant D) thingswere going smoothly, but the responses were much shorter and concise.
There wasa point during the interview where she had to take a moment to gather herself becauseshe began to get teary eyed. She took long pauses before answering the questionand once she was able to get herself together she was able to proceed with theinterview. Analysis Some interesting observations that Imade while conducting my field notes was that, for both participants A and B, neitherof their parents were home.
For participant A, she was home alone for about anhour and a half. I noticed that a young man walked into the house and greetedparticipant A and me. He then immediately just walked inside the room and nevercame back out. Throughout the time I was there I did not notice any signs ofdiscrimination. There was no human interaction between participant A and othersbecause the house was basically empty.
For participant B, I noticed that hewas very family oriented. There were no signs of him being discriminated by anyof his family members. His mom and his dad briefly stepped out into the livingroom and exchanged a couple of words with him. I noticed that both of hisparents rely on him a lot more than any of their children.
It probably has todo with the fact the he’s the oldest of all his siblings. He and his dad seemto have a good relationship as well as with his mom. The communication betweenthem was great and they treated each other with respect. Another finding was that all of his siblingsalso relied on him for anything that needed assistance with. In both of my field notes I concludedthat neither participant A or B were experiencing any kind of discrimination fromtheir family members. Although, participantA was alone at home for the time I was there, everything seemed to be good athome.
I had two other participants for the second part of my research. Iconducted a 20 sample question interview in which I asked very personalquestions about their life after identifying as LGBTQ to their family. I can definitely see the differences betweenparticipants A and B versus C and D. Participants C and D dealt with a lot aftercoming out and they both are still fighting each day to prove to their familiesthat they are still the same people they have always been. They experienced alot of discrimination they really were not so much prepared for. Discriminationfrom their whole family, and because of their coming out their family dynamicschanged.Trust After interviewing participant C, Inoticed one theme that stood out for me the most and that was trust.
She grewup in a religious household that also believed in the hegemonic ideals. Hermother was a stay at home mom while her dad was the breadwinner. Her dad wasthe one who set the rules. Her and her dad were extremely close but after shecame out, things changed.
Her dad taught her to keep things to herself and notspeak about her sexual orientation. She kept who she was away from her family.She said, “Well, okay well as a child I’m aroundpeople that are pretty much built to care for me and I’m talking about familymembers. I’m a kid, you’re my family, you’re supposed to look out for me. Andfor my own family to hurt me … on top of me having these secrets of me beinggay and stuffs. It’s like okay, well you guys fucked me over. Now who else do Ihave? You know, you guys are my family. You guys are the ones that aftereveryone, after the world is attacking me, I have home.
But in this case it was the opposite becausehome was the war zone.”Thisalmost brought me to tears because it was so heart felt. To know that she couldnot turn to the people she needed the most support from is heart breaking. Ifind it fascinating how prideful some family members are. Rather than to lookpassed certain situations they would rather not because of their reputation.
Self love Althoughparticipant C has had a difficult time being able to express herself to herfamily and others, she also spoke about self love. She touched based on being comfortablewith who she was and being unapologetically her because it is who she is. She mentionedthat her family may not be up to par with her identifying as a lesbian,however, it is a big part of who she is. “I loved myself.
Well I love myself!for who I am what I like. It makes me different. Never not once did I wish that I was different.”Thatis also powerful because she is a mother and to go through all the changeswithin her family after coming she had to remain strong. Strong not only forherself but for her son as well. Having self love is the first step of acceptance.Hidden Manypeople who identify as LGBTQ do not make it obvious to their family that theyare homosexual.
For many, they have to keep that part of who they are hidden.This was what participant D had to do for about seven years of his life. While Iinterviewed him, he mentioned that he was afraid of letting his parents knowabout his sexual orientation. He also grew up in a household where his mom wasa stay at home mom and his father was the bread winner. He mentioned that oncehe willingly came out to his parents he felt a lot better with who he was as aperson.”I felt like a huge relief off myshoulder.
I didn’t have to you know keep faking “oh I have a girlfriend; oh I havea girlfriend” because when I would bring my ex at the time sometimes I’ll bringmy friends over.”Havingto pretend to like someone else just to conform into the ideals his parents hadof him must have been difficult. Discrimination LGBTQ people experience multitudesof discrimination from people as well as family members. Discrimination cancause trauma on people both physically and emotionally. People begin to believewhat people say about them. However, the experience was different forparticipant D. He did get discriminated a lot by both his family members as wellas random strangers. “With my second boyfriend I gotdiscriminated all the time because he was a little bit more open.
So we wouldbe holding hands all the time. We would kiss on the streets and we got calledfags a lot of times. We got punked by some cholos because we were gay. Therewas this lady who was going to stab me at a bus stop because I was gay.
Therewas an older lady that also called me a “fucking faggot” because I was gay.”ParticipantD mentioned that although he has been discriminated many times it does notbother him. ConclusionIn this study, LGBTQ persons who wereopenly out to their family members are treated differently and received higherlevels of discrimination. This suggests that my hypothesis was correct. Thestudies I was able to conduct from the interviews, suggested that when bothparticipants came out to their families, their family dynamics changed. Forboth interviewee’s their relationship with their father’s changed drastically.As previously mentioned, one of my interviewee’s father disowned him and wantedto know anything or ever hear anything about his sexual orientation whileliving under his roof.
These results affirm the results from the scholarlyarticles I found to help support my findings. My results were different within myfield notes, in that there was little to no conflict between the intervieweesand their family members. It is possible that if I had much more time makingobservations, then perhaps my findings would have been different or much morein depth. At the same time, having twodifferent studies allowed me to compare the two and examine the differences.
Many societal changes had led LGBTQto be more free with themselves. Ultimately, these changes could possibly have improvedtheir lives physically and emotionally. I have witnessed a positive changewithin our society in how they perceive and treat LGBTQ people however, noteveryone is on board. In order for LGBTQ people to strive they need support,support from their friends and especially their family members. Everyone can bean advocate for LGBTQ people who get treated differently by their family, theyjust need to be knowledgeable in the subject.
There are many strategies we cantake as a society to provide a safer community and a greater support system forLGBTQ people. Public schools can begin by implementing programs about what isLGBTQ and allowing families to join could be beneficial. We can also providepamphlets with LGBTQ hotline numbers for parents who are seeking further helpin order to understand child. Non profit organizations that focus on the LGBTQcommunity could also implement free family therapy so that it allows family membersto process feelings regarding their child’s sexual orientation.