Nonmetropolitan GLBTQ Parents: When and Where Does Their Sexuality Matter?

Elizabeth G. Holman, Ramona F. Oswald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twenty-two parents, representing 15 GLBTQ-parent families living in nonmetropolitan communities in Illinois, were interviewed about their interactions with others in community settings. A total of 345 interactions were coded by sexual orientation salience (no, yes) and setting (private, public, organizational). Roughly half of the interactions (N = 156, 45%) were those in which parents said that their sexual orientation did not matter; nonsalience was more likely to occur in private or organizational settings rather than public. Regarding salience, parents described a slightly higher proportion of interactions in which their sexual orientation did matter (N = 189, 55%). Of these, salience was most likely to occur in organizational settings rather than public or private. Parents most commonly described salience that occurred in organizational settings as negative rather than positive. Regarding desired resources, parents prioritized support and socialization for their children rather than for themselves, but they desired resources that clearly identified their children as having GLBTQ parents (i.e., resources where parental sexual orientation was salient). These findings suggest a strong recommendation for improving organizational policies related to education, health care, employment, and family services so that GLBTQ parents and their children are openly acknowledged by staff without negative overtones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-456
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • GLBTQ issues
  • identity salience
  • qualitative research
  • rural families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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