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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02414

“We Were Among the First Nontraditional Families”: Thematic Perceptions of Lesbian Parenting After 25 Years

  • 1UCLA School of Law, United States
  • 2University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 3San Diego State University, United States
  • 4School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, United States
  • 5Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Netherlands

In the sixth wave of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, when their offspring were 25 years old, the parents were asked to reflect on their most challenging and best experiences raising children in nontraditional families. The responses of 131 parents were interpreted through thematic analysis. The most challenging parenting experiences fell into five major categories: 1) distress about their children’s experiences of exclusion, heterosexism, or homophobic stigmatization; 2) family of origin nonacceptance of their lesbian-parent family; 3) the never-ending process of “educating the world about queer parents”; 4) homophobia or hostility toward their nontraditional family; and 5) lack of legal protections for sexual minority parent families. Their best parenting experiences included: 1) being role models, leading to a greater acceptance of LGBTQ people; 2) treasuring the LGBTQ parent and family community; 3) teaching their children to appreciate diversity of all types; and 4) witnessing their child’s pride in their nontraditional family. Some of these challenges were anticipated by the parents more than a quarter century ago at the time that they were inseminating or pregnant with the index offspring.

Keywords: lesbian parenting, sexual minority parent families, Parent perspectives, thematic perceptions, Same-sex parenting, Emerging adults, benefits of same-sex parenting, challenges of same-sex parenting

Received: 11 Sep 2019; Accepted: 10 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Gartrell, Rothblum, Koh, van Beusekom and Bos. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Nanette Gartrell, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, United States,