Reducing Harm of Discrimination among Diverse Adolescents with LGBTQ Parents: How do Family, Peers, and Community Matter?

Grants and Contracts Details


Aligned with Focus Area 1 of the William T. Grant Foundation to conduct research in the United States with adolescents, “that increases our understanding of programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality in youth outcomes,” the following research proposal is focused on specific practices of support via family communication, peer relationships, and community climate that may reduce the harmful effects of discrimination faced by racially and economically diverse adolescents with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) parents. Particularly emphasizing those practices “through which youth development is enabled,” via parent communication about discrimination and marginalized identities, high-quality friendships, and supportive community climates (i.e., statewide nondiscrimination laws, demographic racial and LGBTQ diversity), I am seeking to examine how adolescent behavioral adjustment, coping strategies, and positive self-identity may be hindered or promoted in the face of inequalities based on race, parents’ sexual orientation, income, education, and discrimination experiences. The goal is to generate findings that will advance knowledge about how particular parenting practices, peer relationships, and community climate variables may serve to reduce inequalities or buffer their negative consequences among this unique sample of adolescents. Understanding individual adjustment and family dynamics among racially and economically diverse, as well as adopted, adolescents in the United States is particularly important as family demographic trends are shifting. Specifically, there are increasing numbers of lesbian and gay (LG)1 adoptive parents in the US, as well as transracial adoptees in multiracial families (Gates, 2011, 2015; Jacobson, 2012; Marr, 2017). Given estimates of 2-3.7 million children under age 18 with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents in the US, and that LG parents are more likely to adopt children, specifically children of color, than are heterosexual parents (Brodzinsky & Goldberg, 2016), it is imperative that we better understand the outcomes and experiences of children who are adopted, often across race, by LG parents. Relatedly, the demographic characteristics of LGBT parent families are distinct from the broader population of LGBT individuals, and thus deserve pointed research attention. Population-based data reveal that LGBT people with children are most likely to come from the South, Midwest, and Mountain West (Gates, 2013), even though a greater proportion of LGBT-identified people live in the Northeast and West than in the South or Midwest (Gates, 2014). In fact, Mississippi has the greatest proportion of same-sex couples raising adopted, biological, and stepchildren (26%; Gates, 2013). Moreover, LGBT parents and their children are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, and at an economic disadvantage, as compared to their heterosexual counterparts (Badgett, Durso, & Schneebaum, 2013; Gates, 2013). Coupled with generally more conservative sociopolitical climates and a lack of statewide nondiscrimination policies particularly in the Southern and Midwestern U.S, it is imperative to attend to the intersectional experiences of these youth and their families, who may be more vulnerable than those in other parts of the country to pervasive inequalities based on SES, racial disparities, and family discrimination.
Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/25


  • William T Grant Foundation: $285,768.00


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