Experiences of Parent Allies of LGBTIQ People During the Australian Marriage Survey

Sharon S. Rostosky, Saan Ecker, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Elizabeth Anne Riley, Joanne M. Byrnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Public campaigns debating the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) individuals to be treated as equal under the law highlight stigma and prejudice harmful to health and well-being. Previous research documenting the negative effects of political campaigns on LGBTIQ people’s health and well-being has largely left unexplored the effects on their families and allies. The present study analyzed open-ended responses of the parent allies of LGBTIQ people (N = 232) to questions about the effects of the public debate during the 2017 Australian Marriage Law postal survey. Parents expressed some positive experiences of connection to other supporters of marriage equality. Parents also reported many negative emotions and experiences. The debates increased their awareness of prejudice and discrimination targeting their children and made them fearful for their own and their children’s safety. Parents reported negative impacts on some interpersonal relationships with friends, family members, co-workers, and other community members. They expressed feelings of alienation and anger toward the government, media, and religious institutions for fostering anti-LGBTIQ prejudice and discrimination. Some parents reported feeling discouraged about society or humanity in general because of the public debate. Findings are discussed in relation to affiliate stigma and parental minority stress, and the need to consider in research and practice the effects of LGBTIQ stigmatization on family systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association


  • Marriage equality
  • Minority stress
  • Parents
  • Sexual minority
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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