Longitudinal Gender Presentation and Associated Outcomes Among Adopted Children with Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Parents

Samuel T. Bruun, Rachel H. Farr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Appearing culturally “gender-normative” represents one of the ways that gender identity is salient to others. In the context of continued controversy surrounding children’s gender role development in sexual minority parent families, the current study examined gender presentation (i.e., appearing gender-conforming or nonconforming) among adopted children and their lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents across two time points over a five-year period (Wave 1: N = 106 families, child Mage = 36.07 months; Wave 2: N = 96 families, child Mage = 8.34 years). Children’s and parents’ gender presentation were observed and rated, focusing on gender-typed clothing and accessories, and then children’s gender presentation was compared with their self-reported friendship quality. Children and parents alike generally demonstrated a gender-conforming presentation; there were limited differences by parental sexual orientation (e.g., lesbian mothers displayed greater nonconforming presentation than other parents). There was also no difference by parental sexual orientation in children’s reports of friendship quality. Gender presentation was associated across time, with children’s nonconforming gender presentation in Wave 1 being positively associated with their nonconforming presentation in Wave 2. Children’s nonconforming gender presentation was negatively associated with children’s friendships with an interaction effect such that gender-nonconforming girls, but not boys, reported lower quality friendships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-250
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Children’s friendships
  • gender development
  • gender presentation
  • lesbian and gay parent families
  • longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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