Living as an LGBTQ Adolescent and a Parent’s Child: Overlapping or Separate Experiences

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It is well known that parental and community-based support are each related to healthy development in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, but little research has explored the ways these contexts interact and overlap. Through go-along interviews (a method in which participants guide the interviewer around the community) with 66 youth in British Columbia, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, adolescents (aged 14-19 years) reported varying extent of overlap between their LGBTQ experiences and their parent–youth experiences; parents and youth each contributed to the extent of overlap. Youth who reported high overlap reported little need for resources outside their families but found resources easy to access if wanted. Youth who reported little overlap found it difficult to access resources. Findings suggest that in both research and practice, considering the extent to which youth feel they can express their authentic identity in multiple contexts may be more useful than simply evaluating parental acceptance or access to resources.

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