Monday, January 16, 2017

Gay Grandfathers, Gay Grandsons (LGBT Research, Video 5:05)

Intergenerational family experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community are often not represented during family discussions within the larger heterosexual community. These relationships are important in order to understand better how LGBT individuals function within family systems.

This research focused on the experiences of 79 gay grandfathers with their adult children and grandchildren. Like earlier research on heterosexual grandparents, gay grandfathers reported the following:

1)  Close relationships with grandchildren who lived near them and with whom they had frequent contact

2)  Close relationships with grandchildren whom they had informed of their sexual orientation

3)  Social support associated with better mental health

Although there are factors known to affect intergenerational relationships and mental health among older people, the three variables above specific to gay grandfathers are important predictors of the quality of their relationships with their grandchildren and of their mental health.

What about relationships between gay grandsons and heterosexual grandfathers? The following video is a revealing discussion in which a gay grandson starts off interviewing his grandfather. Eventually, the grandson ends up being interviewed and explaining his sexual orientation for the first time to his conservative grandfather.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
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