Coming out to parents: Transformation of the families with LGBTQ children

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2017




The challenges faced by the families of choice of LGBTQs when confronted with the heteronormative structure of family in society have already been covered at length, both in Turkish and foreign literature. In contrast, there have to date been few academic studies of the experiences of families that were established according to the settled heteronormative norm in society, but then come to include a self-identifying LGBTQ child as a family member. In this regard, this thesis departs from the question: How does the family transform after self-identified LGBTQ children come out to their families of origin? In a search for answers, this study focuses on families with self-identifying LGBTQ children, and investigates coming out as an interactive familial process. Furthermore, in highlighting the important role of such family groups as LISTAG, LADEG+ and Ankara Rainbow Families in Turkey, it claims that the presence of different sexualities in the family can bring about change in society. These arguments are investigated through data collected during semi-structured, open-ended and in-depth interviews with 11 mothers who came to be activists after the disclosure of their children, and their 11 self-identifying LGBTQ young adult/adult children, meaning that 11 family systems are examined. Benefiting from the conceptualizations of Family Systems Theory, such as ‘system’, ‘subsystem’, ‘boundary’, ‘change’, and ‘adaptability’, this study explores how the coming out experiences of LGBTQ children to their families of origin affect intra-familial dynamics.