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LGBTQ+ Family: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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Social work with youth


An abundance of scholarship explores and discusses the process of queer identity development, including the experience of disclosing one’s queer identity, often referred to as coming out. Coming out to one’s parent(s) can be a challenging and complex experience for queer individuals, particularly for children from religious families. In this study, I explored the nuanced relationships between queer individuals and their Evangelical parents. I conducted qualitative interviews with nine participants. Using thematic analysis and Ahmed’s theory of affect and happy objects, I constructed four themes: (a) learning the affect queer carries, (b) feeling the affects of being queer, (c) how parental appraisals affect parent-child relationships, and (d) being the killjoy. Results suggest the belief alone that “queer is bad’’ is harmful, regardless of outward acceptance or rejection behaviors from parents. This work compels the field to look beyond and before reactions from parents toward their queer children and to also consider how conceptualizations of queer as bad or good affect queer individuals. While much is known about the challenges faced by queer individuals, this work reveals the importance of examining the systems and structures causing these challenges rather than perpetuating the idea that being queer is inherently painful.


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