Gays and lesbians: what is their family’s reaction? Is the family approving and supportive or disapproving and negligent. Being born into an Indian family, family has always played a large role in my development as an individual. Especially in the Indian culture society places a lot of stress on an ideal family having the male play an ideal role of a ‘son’ in the family; being male it is expected we carry on the family business as well as the name.
Being born in Singapore, a country where gays and lesbians are condemned by society as well as by the law, for homosexual individuals in such an environment they can never be open about their true identity. However, upon my arrival in Australia I was amazed to be living in an environment where people are more accepting towards gays and lesbians, and there openness towards the ‘gay/lesbian; community. Through my study I hope to answer my main question which is, what is the family’s reactions towards their children’s rather controversial lifestyle and choice of gender roles?
Follow up questions that I hope to answer throughout my research are, at what age did their family find out that they were gay/lesbian? Has their role as an individual in the family changed because of their gender preference? What was the reaction of the immediate family (siblings) as well as the extended family (uncles, aunts, grandparents) Till today in my family we have not experienced having a gay or lesbian individual, therefore the cross-cultural aspect of my study will allow me to learn and experience contrasting views and feelings towards gays/lesbians.
This topic opens up new avenues for me, the learning experience of different cultures; I also hope it will make me, accept an individual for who they are; as in Singapore there is great discrimination towards gays/lesbian. Since being in Australia I have come to understand that the gay community is rather large and influential, they also have equal standings for job places and status, compared to Singapore. I find this topic unique and original as I fell that the gay/lesbian community is going to carry on growing and more countries are going to have to start accepting them.
From choosing this topic I will be able to explore the five fundamental concepts that influence the development of an individual. Roles of the persons, in this case gays and lesbians, and how their individuality affects the people they interact with. Through the course of my research I am hoping to find out people who are influential to them – parents, family peers. This inturn will allow me to explore how they influence the society that they are part of. The people who make up their society as well as the interaction of their micro and macro worlds?
As gays and lesbians will possibly have different roles to that of a stereotypical ‘male’ or ‘female’. Studying their society will enable me to understand and discover how society treats them as well as how they fit into their specific role. Another fundamental that I am sure largely differs to mine and I hope to learn more about is their culture. What are the values, beliefs that bind their particular society together? And how do their cultures differ from their parents or are they the same?
Their environment will also be looked at, has the place that they’ve been brought up in influence their sexuality or are they from a background where either parents or both parents are of the same sex? All these would influence how the individual develops to gain a personal sense of identity. Over time has anything changed for these individuals, as a time progresses so does society and culture; therefore maybe people are starting to have a more open mind towards gays and lesbians.
All these five fundamentals will be looked at more closely over the course of my PIP and through answering a few of my questions I hope to be able to have a much greater understanding of the parents are well as the individuals. Throughout my study I will be attaining information using various sources as well as methods. For my topic I would need to conduct various interviews as well as focus groups, to attain vital first hand information as I have no previous knowledge on this topic.
Other research methodologies that I would use are questionnaires and doing surveys in order to gain a wider perspective of views and ideas. This topic will widen my horizons as well as perspectives on the parental views of gay and lesbian individuals. Throughout my research I would come into contact with gays and lesbians. This opportunity would be a great educational experience for me as I am able to study a culture that I have never been exposed to. Methodologies: Questionnaires, personal reflection.
The growing numbers of gays and lesbians worldwide has become a topic of discussion: what right’s do they possess , under what category are they placed, male or female, what roles do they have in society. At present in Australia one in ten individuals is gay therefore there is a growing awareness towards the gay/lesbian community. Well in my case I am hoping to attain information about the parents and families of these individuals, what is their family’s reaction? Is the family approving and supportive or disapproving and negligent?
This is the question that is going to be answered over the period of my study. Having no prior knowledge or experiences with gays or lesbians, I embarked on a journey to develop a greater understanding about these individuals. Being heterosexual and growing up with heterosexual family members as well as friends I have little knowledge on the gay/lesbian culture. My arrival in Australia sparked a growing interest in the gay/lesbian culture as gays/lesbians here have many organisations as well as equal opportunities, compared to my home country, Singapore.
Still being under the jurisdiction of my parents it was of great interest to me how did parents react towards their child’s sexual preference, through this I would also develop an understanding of how much parents love their children, compared to being seen as parents who are unable to rear their children because of the fears of society therefore disowning them or forcing them to be heterosexual ( Robert, 2000) Over the course of my research two types of research was used. Firstly, primary research which is the current accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event being studied.
Therefore the material is original to the author. These original ideas are often in the form of diaries, letters, memoirs, journals and other such unpublished works. (Neuman 1999). Secondly secondary research, which consists of gathering information that has already been published from a variety of sources (Howitt, Jullian 2000) The main purpose of this research is to interpret, assign values to, conjecture upon and draw conclusions about the events reported in primary sources. Data collected from conducting primary research is gathered and analysed in a systematic way in order to obtain a certain conclusion (Neuman 1999).
In Australia society, on the whole, society as well as the government are against homosexuals and therefore this idea of having gay/lesbian children is rather difficult for parents to accept as the thought of society, which would ostracise the child and the parents too. As society still assumes that heterosexuality is the accepted norm, it is very hard for society to accept gays and lesbians. Reactions of parents vary, some are straight forward, understanding and loving. In contrast others react differently showing confusion and sadness (Broughton 2000) At the extreme, parents might also reject their children, by disowning them.
However parents need to clearly understand that homosexual orientation is not a mental disorder and that a person’s sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. In other words individuals have no more choice about being homosexual that heterosexual. At times parents also feel mislead as they weren’t informed earlier about their child’s sexual preference and how come they didn’t see it coming. Therefore many parents place the blame on themselves as they feel it was their fault. Another problem faced by families is one of religion.
Families face a dilemma between the preachings of their religion and the love of their child. Over time many parents eventually accept their children for whom and what they are. After the initial shock of finding out of their child’s sexual preference in most cases parents do not act differently towards the roles the child previously had in the family. For example parents would be supportive of who their child was dating even though he/she is of the same sex. Parents react this way in order to maintain normality in their household by not looking at their sexual preference as a disadvantage (Robert, 2000).
In today’s world as society is more educated and parents have encountered other family members being gay and are beginning to accept diversity in society (ibid. ). Through researching about straight parent having gay and lesbian children, the sources are very limited and concentrate mainly on how to overcome the shock. Therefore in order to attain first hand information a questionnaire was used. Why and how do I find a questionnaire appropriate for my research? The use of a questionnaire allows a diversity of opinion as the research is able to have a larger sample group from conducting an interview for example.
It is possible to have a larger sample group as the interviewer does not have to be present at the time when the questionnaire is being completed (Personal and social identity, 2004). Another benefit is that questionnaires are less time consuming, therefore many more are able to be completed in a short time span (Howitt, 2002). Many structured questions in the questionnaire make it simpler for the researcher to collate and analyse the data therefore allowing the researcher to produce his/her data in an illustrative method using graphs and diagrams (Lovat, 2000).
The questionnaire that was used is targeted to homosexual family members. The target audience for this questionnaire will provide the perspective of homosexuals and how their family has reacted towards their chosen sexual preference. The target audience are homosexuals, as the researcher is able to attain a greater understanding of the parents’ reactions through the perspectives of gays/lesbians; as the hypothesis emphasizes the on the family’s reactions. (Gays and lesbians: what is their family’s reaction? Is the family approving and supportive or disapproving and negligent? ).
As this questionnaire allows me to get views from both sides of the spectrum, the children and later in the P. I. P I will focus more on the family. Through this questionnaire it will allow me to see a pattern and how majority of parents react before actually interviewing individual families. The questionnaire that had been used consisted of a variety of open ended and close ended questions. Majority of the questions are closed ended questions with a selection of answers. I chose this approach as close ended questions would give me definite answers which then can be easily collated to bring about distinct patterns.
Another reason closed- ended are mainly used in my questionnaire is that it can be easily answered, therefore it won’t put off the interviewee with questions that are time consuming to answer. The questionnaire being used does consist of one open ended question, which would allow me to get more diverse opinions, allowing the interviewee to freely express themselves. Analysis of results Topic: Gays and lesbians: what is their family’s reaction? Is the family approving and supportive or disapproving and negligent? Data was collected mainly using questionnaires.