Homosexual Families Essay

2892 words - 12 pages

"The unprecedented growth of the gay community in recent history has transformed our culture and consciousness, creating radically new possibilities for people to 'come out' and live more openly as homosexuals"(Herdt 2). Before the 1969's Stonewall riot in New York, homosexuality was a taboo subject. Research concerning homosexuality emphasized the etiology, treatment, and psychological adjustment of homosexuals. Times have changed since 1969. Homosexuals have gained great attention in arts, entertainment, media, and politics. Yesterday's research on homosexuality has expanded to include trying to understand the different experiences and situations of homosexuals (Ben-Ari 89-90). Despite the transition, little consideration has been given to understanding the growing population of gay adolescents. Twenty-five percent of American families are likely to have a gay child (Hidalgo 24); In the United States, three million adolescents are estimated to be homosexual. Yet, American society still ignores gay adolescents. Majority of children are raised in heterosexual families, taught in heterosexual establishments, and put in heterosexual peer groups. Gay adolescents often feel forced by parents to pass as "heterosexually normal" (Herdt 2). As a result, homosexual teens hide their sexual orientation and feelings, especially from their parents. Limited research conducted on gay young adults on disclosure to parents generally suggests that disclosure is a time of familial crisis and emotional distress. Very few researchers argue that disclosure to parents results in happiness, bringing parents and children closer (Ben-Ari 90). The debate over homosexuality as nature or nurture dominates most topics about homosexuality. People often confuse the nature/nurture issue with the development of gay identity. In fact, the nature/nurture argument plays a small, insignificant role concerning gay youths (Walling 11). Homosexual identity is the view of the self as homosexual in association with romantic and sexual situations (Troiden 46). Many researchers have either discussed or created several models or theories concerning the development of homosexual identity. However, the most prominent is Troiden's sociological four-stage model of homosexual identity formation. Dr. Richard R. Troiden describes the development of homosexual identity in four stages: sensitization, identity confusing, identity assumption, and commitment. During the stages of homosexual identity development, many gay adolescents encounter many preconceptions and assumptions regarding homosexuality. These assumptions are presumption of heterosexuality, presumption of inversion, and recognition of stigma (Herdt 4-5). Using Troiden's model as a guide, the present paper examines the four stages of homosexual identity development as it affects both gay children and parents. Section one concentrates on the first two stages of homosexual identity formation and the ordeals gay...

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