In this final annotated bibliography for queering intimacy I wanted to relate it to my personal life as close as I possibly could. I chose a couple articles that discuss more in depth the initial reactions of a parent coming out and the reactions of the children later at various ages. I found both of my academic sources via JSTOR. I have been using JStor quite a bit most recently for a paper that I am doing on Transgenderism and the Representation of the Body. I found Abigail Garner's book and website "Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is" by searching "children of gay and lesbian parents".
Child Development (Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents)
Vol. 63, No. 5 (Oct., 1992), pp. 1025-1042
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
The article "examine(s) evidence from the social sciences regarding the personal and social development of children with gay and lesbian parents" (1025).
**Estimates of the numbers of children of gay or lesbian parents (although difficult to obtain accurate numbers because of fear of safety, loss of child custody, etc.) : between 6 and 14 million
**Estimates of lesbian mothers: between 1 and 5 million
**Estimates of gay fathers: between 1 and 3 million
There has been little research on the children of gay and lesbian families. In fact there are only two major research studies that have been performed in the US. The author's go on to say that, "Although both lesbians and gay men may become parents in any of a variety of ways, the preponderance of research to date has focused on children who were born in the context of heterosexual marriages, whose parents divorced, and whose mothers have identified themselves as lesbians. Some research is available on children who have been born in the context of heterosexual relationships and whose fathers have identified themselves as gay" (1029). The article continues with these two prominent studies in mind discussing gender identity, sexual identity, gender role behavior, sex role behavior, and sexual orientation.
Family Relations (Gay's and Lesbians' Families-of-Origin: A Social-Cognitive-Behavioral Model of Adjustment)
Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 397-403
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
I chose this article because it discusses the many effects on the family when a family member comes out. This was important to me because my younger brother handled my dad's homosexuality in a much, much different way than I did. The article discusses the idea of having the "burden of knowing". This burden is created when a family member discloses their homosexuality before the rest of the family. The author"s state that the family member who is withholding information from the rest of the family , "has the responsibility to tell (behavior) other family members, sometimes it means he or she is responsible for making sure that other family members do not find out, and sometimes the role prescription (intrapersonal cognitive schema) for the knower is ambiguous, potentially creating anxiety (intrapersonal emotion) for him or her" (398). The article goes further by discussing reactions of the family as a whole and its outcome. The author's state, "...a broad model of family members' responses to disclosure by a gay or lesbian family member. This model suggests that family members' reactions are dependent on three components: (a) the
values (intrapersonal) concerning homosexuality held by the family members to whom disclosure is made; (b) the effect that these values have on the relationship (cognitions, emotions, behaviors) between the gay member and other family members; and (c) the conflict resolution mechanisms (behavioral repertoire-communication and problem solving skills) available to family members,with the most significant component being the ability to reconcile values that family members hold concerning homosexuality with the reality of having a gay or lesbian...(family member)" (399). The article concludes by saying that the coming out process effects the family unit as a whole; and the reactions of the initial coming out can perpetuate for years based upon differing variables.
This website is actually endorsing Abigail Garner's book "Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is".
Much like the book, the site delves into various thoughts, questions, and feelings of the children of GLBT parents. There is advice, question and answer section, info about the book and author, and various resources. I thought this section was particularly interesting:
* How did you come to terms with your dad being gay?
* What are the odds that children with gay or lesbian parents will grow up to identify as gay or lesbian themselves?
* Isn't it confusing and complicated for a young child to have two moms or two dads?
* Isn't it easier for you to just say "queer" instead of LGBT?
* What is an "intentional family"?
* Are you a lesbian?
* Are you advocating parenthood for all LGBT people?
* You talk a lot about your difficulties as a teenager with a gay dad. What could have made those years easier for you?
* Where can I find resources for my family?
These answers are specifiaclly geared toward the children. There also an advice section for gay parents as well which include:
* How do I come out to my kids? Should I come out? When should I come out?
You are not alone in feeling lost about this issue. See the archives on this topic. I am asked so much, I devoted an entire chapter to it in Families Like Mine.
* How will having gay parents affect my children?
Kids are individuals and since I don't personally know yours, it's not fair for me to say. Again: read the archives and read other people's comments for additional perspectives. My book will give you a broad overview of how adult kids think they were affected by having gay parents.
* What about my children's sexual orientation?
A hot-button issue for us all. The last two chapters of Families Like Mine are all about this. The short answer is some turn out queer, some turn out heterosexual. It is their process in "coming out" either way that is notably different from kids with straight parents.