Stigmatization Associated With Growing Up in a Lesbian-parented Family: What Do Adolescents Experience and How Do They Deal With It?

By Loes van Gelderen, Nanette Gartrell, Henny M.W. Bos, Floor B. van Rooij and Jo M.A. Hermanns
March 2012

Fifty percent of 17-year-olds who grew up in lesbian-headed families in the United States indicated they had experienced stigmatization, but nearly 2/3 employed effective coping strategies. A key part of the study reveals that the overall rates of teasing experienced in lesbian-mother families do not differ from those reported in heterosexual families, which is consistent with previous research in this area.

The results further revealed that teens’ peers were most often the source of negative comments, teasing or ridicule. Thirty percent of reported incidents occurred in elementary school and 39 percent occurred in high school. The findings suggest that educational systems could play an important role in preventing stigma incidents by discouraging homophobia in their anti-bullying programs.

*Study featured in Children and Youth Services Review

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